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Is Automation the Future of Job Applications?

Summary

In July, software engineer Julian Joseph became the latest victim of mass layoffs in the technology industry. Faced with another job loss in just two years, he dreaded spending the next few months hunched over his laptop, filling out tedious […]

Is Automation the Future of Job Applications?

In July, software engineer Julian Joseph became the latest victim of mass layoffs in the technology industry. Faced with another job loss in just two years, he dreaded spending the next few months hunched over his laptop, filling out tedious job applications and sending them into the void. Joseph specialized in user interface automation and wondered if someone had automated the unpleasant task of job hunting. After some internet research, he came across a company called LazyApply. They offered a service called Job GPT, which used artificial intelligence and promised to automatically apply to thousands of jobs with “just one click”. All he had to do was enter a few basic details about his skills, experience, and desired position. After paying $250 for a lifetime unlimited plan and installing LazyApply’s Chrome extension, he watched as the bot submitted applications on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, targeting jobs that matched his criteria. In a bid for efficiency, he even installed the application on his boyfriend’s laptop, going to sleep with two computers diligently scouring through piles of applications. By morning, the bot had submitted applications for nearly 1,000 jobs on his behalf.

This tool wasn’t perfect. It seemed to make assumptions about answers to questions, yielding occasionally confusing results. But somehow, it worked. After LazyApply submitted applications for about 5,000 jobs, Joseph claims that he received around 20 job interviews, resulting in a success rate of about half a percent. Compared to the 20 interviews he received from manually applying to 200 to 300 jobs, the success rate was low. However, considering the time Job GPT saved him, Joseph believed it was worth the investment. LazyApply did not respond to inquiries about how exactly their service works.

Many job seekers will understand the appeal of automated job applications. Digging through various applicant tracking systems to re-enter the same information, knowing that you’re likely to be ignored or automatically rejected by algorithms, is tedious, and technology hasn’t sped up the process. The average time to hire reached an all-time high of 44 days this year, according to a study conducted by talent solutions company AMS and HR consultancy firm Josh Bersin Company. “The fact that this tool exists suggests that something is not right in the process,” says Joseph. “For me, it means taking back some of the power that has been relinquished to companies over the years.”

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