"I see it as taking back some of the power that’s been ceded to the companies over the years."

Form and Void

Applying for a job has always been a frustrating task, and employers getting deluged with a huge number of online applications is making the process more painful than ever.

Enter software engineer Julian Joseph, who as Wired reports attempted to brute force his way to gainful employment by making very cynical use of AI.

Specifically, he used a tool called LazyApply to blast out 5,000 job applications "in a single click" — and managed to land around 20 job interviews. While that may sound a lot, that's a meager success rate of roughly half a percent.

At the same time, though, he only got 20 or so interviews after applying to several hundred jobs the old-fashioned way.

"The fact that this tool exists suggests that something is broken in the process," Joseph told Wired, referring to LazyApply. "I see it as taking back some of the power that’s been ceded to the companies over the years."

Years of Experience

Of course, you could also view LazyApply as a horrifying sign of things to come: of AI tools that flood would-be employers with overwhelming quantities of low-quality applications, drowning out the suckers who do them carefully by hand.

At the same, the tool highlights how tedious the process of applying for jobs has become, often requiring non-standardized forms that force applications to fill out the same information over and over.

Worse yet, employers are increasingly relying on automated tools themselves to wade through a huge number of applicants, making the process even more opaque.

In other words, recruiters are using AI tools to screen applications that were submitted by applicants using other AI tools.

At the end of the day, recruiters agree that an AI-assisted shotgun approach is far from ideal, especially compared to the number one way to find a job: through referrals.

As for Joseph, though? He eventually received a contract job offer through LazyApply. But he did score some big-deal interviews at Apple and the White House — through existing connections, not the AI.

More on AI job applications: In a Fresh Horror, ChatGPT Can Apply to Jobs Now

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