Can you believe it's almost been an entire year since ChatGPT launched it's consumer-facing tool? It appears that the initial frenzy has subsided and while some freelancers have warmly welcomed Chat GPT into their routines, others have discovered its boundaries. Job applications, a promising frontier for AI assistance, is a topic we are particularly interested in at Freelancer Club HQ but has it helped or hindered freelancer's applying for jobs? Let's delve into the results and find out.

Empowering freelancers to craft sophisticated job proposals, ChatGPT enables them to present their skills and expertise with remarkable clarity and professionalism. However, this newfound efficiency presents a challenge to hiring companies, as they face the task of detecting unsuitable candidates amidst an influx of seemingly competent applicants.

There's no doubt that ChatGPT's language model levels the playing field for certain sections of the freelance community. Skilled individuals, whose first language may not be English, can now polish their proposals. Similarly, neurodivergent freelancers, who may face challenges with spelling and grammar, have a valuable tool to refine their writing. 

However, how you choose to use the tool may make all the difference. We've seen freelancers use it effectively by pasting the brief of a project into ChatGPT and asking it to generate a response in a certain tone of voice. The prompt makes all the difference! Undoubtedly, they refine the answer and add their personal touch. We've received feedback from freelancers that the latest version of ChatGPT is producing superior results. Others referenced alternative tools including Jasper and as their go-to AI assistant. 

We've also seen some shocking uses of the tool whereby freelancers have pasted in a generic response that has all the signs of an AI reply (bullet points, anyone!) and, in some cases, they've forgotten to delete the quotation marks or the sentence that ChatGPT wrote to prefix the answer. Awkward! 

It's clear that the tool reduces the time and effort required to craft compelling proposals but does it get results? Based on our data, the answer is no, with a caveat. Freelancers using the tool to polish up their proposals are clearly going to present a more professional version of themselves to prospective clients, but those relying on ChatGPT to do all the work are largely ignored. Remember, a large part of the job application process involves trust. How can you, as the freelancer, instill enough trust in the client for them to choose you for the job? 

The members landing the majority of the jobs on Freelancer Club are still writing highly personalised proposals based on the requirements outlined in the brief. We've also noticed that the odd minor error in their proposal, for jobs that do not require the freelancer to provide written copy (writing or marketing, for example), can express authenticity and actually improve their chances of success.

Humans are pretty good at spotting a fake and now that we're all well versed in the classic ChatGPT response, we're getting even better at picking out the bot from the lot. 


Challenges Faced by Hiring Companies:

While ChatGPT can help freelancers send detailed proposals, it presents a new set of challenges for hiring companies. The proliferation of AI-generated proposals has resulted in a surge of applications that may appear highly competent at first glance. However, detecting unsuitable candidates becomes paramount for hiring companies, as the need to ensure quality and compatibility within their projects remains unchanged. The last thing a company or client wants is to receive an incredible proposal that the freelancer can't back up. 

Larger companies have already started implementing rigorous screening mechanisms, including thorough reviews of portfolios, interviews, and skill-based assessments, to separate truly qualified candidates from those whose proposals may be polished but lack substance. Companies are also developing effective methods for detecting plagiarism or the misuse of AI tools during the proposal writing process. Before you ask your AI assistant to write your proposal, remember, the quickest way to destroy your reputation as a freelancer is to overpromise and under-deliver.  

Ultimately, the coexistence of ChatGPT and hiring companies' evaluation efforts can lead to a thriving freelance ecosystem where efficient proposal creation and rigorous candidate assessment go hand in hand. So, by all means, embrace the technology but try not to rely on it. People do business with people and, for the time being, that's not going to change.