AI in Recruitment: a Guide for Management Consultancy Employers


The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the recruitment landscape is revolutionising how candidates approach job applications, particularly the well informed applicants within the UK’s management consultancy sector.

This transformation presents a double-edged sword. While AI can empower job seekers to present their credentials more compellingly, it also raises ethical concerns and the potential for misleading employers. This requires an employer to assess the implications of AI’s use by applicants, the ethical dilemmas it poses, and the need to safeguard the integrity of their hiring process.

Only a minority of employers have yet considered fully how to approach this issue and must take urgent action to avoid hiring the wrong staff.

There is already evidence of disagreement and confusion in the ranks of major employers and recently Monzo, KPMG, Deloitte and Pinsent Masons have said they are banning it. They indicate they will use technology to identify “cheats” even though this has been shown to be unreliable and up to 20% of applicants may be unfairly disqualified as a result.

Shoosmiths on the other hand, is encouraging aspiring lawyers to use AI, suggesting they use chatbots to check spelling, reduce word counts and for research. David Jackson, chief executive of Shoosmiths, told the Telegraph: “I think gen AI is to lawyers what the calculator is to accountants. It’s a tool that will make us perform better for our clients.”

Furthermore other surveys have suggested that candidates would consider employers that banned AI as less attractive and “progressive” organisations to work for.

The legend of King Canute comes to mind….

AI in the Consultancy Job Applicant’s Arsenal

Job applicants are increasingly turning to AI for an edge.

The technology’s application in recruitment for the job hunter is considerable and can include:

  • generating polished CVs that highlight a candidate’s achievements in the best light
  • producing a compelling cover letter or email
  • preparing for interviews with AI-driven simulations
  • real time assistance during interviews.

However it can also help candidates with application forms, personality assessments/questionnaires, verbal and other reasoning tests, presentations, etc which many employers will feel “crosses a line”.

AI tools can analyse job descriptions to tailor applications that resonate closely with the employer’s requirements, enhancing the applicant’s chances of securing an interview. However, the sophistication of these tools also poses the risk of creating a facade that might not accurately reflect the applicant’s true capabilities.

Ethical Quandaries and Employer Dilemmas

The ethical considerations of using AI in job applications are significant. The core issue revolves around authenticity and transparency. When AI tools enhance or even fabricate aspects of an applicant’s profile, it undermines the recruitment process’s integrity. Employers are at risk of being misled by candidates (or more specifically the AI they use) who may not possess the proficiencies their applications suggest. Moreover, the unequal access to sophisticated and potentially costly AI tools can exacerbate disparities. This can favour applicants with the time and the means to utilise these technologies over potentially more suitable candidates without such access.

Recent research suggests that some social groups favour the use of AI while some avoid it. This is across age, gender, race, social class and neurodiverse applicants. Is your process inadvertently discriminating?

From a candidate’s perspective: “If I don’t use AI will I lose out?” versus “If I do use AI will I be penalised?”.

Mitigating the Risks of AI in Recruitment

Management consulting employers must adopt proactive strategies to navigate the complexities introduced by AI in recruitment.

This will include the obvious decisions such as:

  • What personal qualities do we want?
  • What skills do we need?
  • What experience do we require?

More importantly they will require assessment of how to evaluate these accurately in a landscape with widespread access to AI.

So when an employer has a clear and agreed approach the next decision is how to evaluate these requirements in a structured manner. This will influence the recruiting process and determine to what extent screening is designed to determine the use of AI by applicants.

The answers will be different at different grades and in different parts of the business. Clearly they could of course include proficiency in the use of AI!

This includes developing a keen eye for spotting inconsistencies in applications that may indicate AI augmentation. Additionally, employing more nuanced and interactive assessment methods, such as case studies, in-person interviews and presentations, or group discussions, can provide deeper insights into a candidate’s actual abilities and interpersonal dynamics.

Some traditional text based assessments eg application forms, CVs, personality and reasoning tests are rapidly being rendered at best unreliable and at worst, useless by AI. Ref above Pinsent Masons has revamped its hiring process to include more verbal reasoning tests!

Transparency is key

Consultancy employers should be transparent and have a clear policy about their own stance on AI-enhanced applications. This might include setting guidelines that encourage honesty from applicants regarding their use of AI in preparing their application materials.

If there is a feeling that some aspects of AI risk “crossing the line” then the employer needs to discuss, agree and state what that line is. This policy may need frequent review as technology evolves.

As a quid pro quo employers should themselves consider whether they use AI and be fully transparent with applicants. This could enable employers to retain a competitive edge with candidates.

There is widespread cynicism and indeed anger (possibly misplaced) about the use of Applicant Tracking System (ATS) tools by employers. This is often inaccurately described as AI but involving automated CV and application screening typically for keywords but enhances the frustrations candidates can feel about lack of “real humans” in the process.

Ironically many of the “problems” in recruitment and candidate experience are actually the result of humans, not technology.

There is a real opportunity for forward thinking management consultancy employers to give themselves a competitive edge. Indeed should consultancy firms not be leading edge?

Other Employer Strategies for Ensuring Reliable Recruitment

To further safeguard the recruitment process, employers should also enhance their vetting procedures. This could involve more rigorous background checks, detailed reference calls, and a stronger emphasis on soft skills and cultural fit during interviews.

Incorporating AI on the employer’s side, with tools designed to detect AI-generated content, can also level the playing field.

That said it is NOT 100% reliable so there is a risk of an employer banning job seekers unfairly.

Furthermore, fostering a recruitment culture that values genuine talent and potential over polished presentations can encourage applicants to present themselves more authentically.


The rise of AI in the job application process is inevitable. It offers both opportunities and challenges in the recruitment of management consultancy roles. While AI can enhance the efficiency and reach of recruitment, it necessitates a thoughtful discussion and response from employers to maintain consistency, fairness, and crucially, integrity.

By adapting their recruitment strategies, employers can embrace the benefits of AI while mitigating its risks, ensuring that the hiring process remains a true reflection of a candidate’s suitability for the role.

For more information on the job market, or to discuss your hiring plans please contact Chris Sale, Managing Director, Prism Executive Recruitment via [email protected]


Candidates should use AI tools in the same way as current technologies, spell check for example but need to take care not to misrepresent their skills and experience which could be disastrous for employer and employee alike.
There is a clear boundary between presenting yourself, your skills and experience in a positive light and misleading or indeed lying. The AI knows no better and may indeed make things up but is clearly cheating.

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