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Career Coach Bots Offer Advantages and Disadvantages

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
May 29, 2024

Workers may worry that they could be replaced by generative artificial intelligence (AI), but some are turning to chatbots for career coaching, The Washington Post reported as it tested six bots to see how they compare to real career coaches.

Asking about matters such as how to best handle sexual harassment or when to move on to a new job, the Post found that, while the AI tools give decent boilerplate advice, they can also complicate issues or offer biased responses. As a tool, the key is to use the AI as an idea generator or to get additional perspectives, but ultimately to rely on one’s own judgment, the Post advised.

“Say, ‘This is my plan. What else should I think about?’” said Hatim Rahman, an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management who studies AI’s impact on work, in an interview with the Post. “That’s where I see the most promise.”

Google SGE, unsurprisingly, automatically showed up on the top of many Google searches. It typically provided a bulleted list of advice followed by links to job sites, career service providers, and company and university blogs.

Copilot, Microsoft’s AI bot, was similar, though it allowed for more of a conversation. It also provided more steps in answers to questions, including possible wording.

ChatGPT, the free version of OpenAI’s app, often loaded everything into one response, giving a list of tips, a sample script of how to have a difficult conversation and wrapping up with final thoughts. It allowed for follow up with additional questions or tweaks.

AIMY, which is powered by tech from OpenAI, Anthropic and the company’s own models is owned by CoachHub, a company that connects people with human career coaches. “If you need to manage a complex situation today, you don’t need to wait for your coach,” said Pedro Cabrera, senior vice president of data and insights at CoachHub, in an interview with the Post.

Wisq allows the user to choose from a selection of topics such as “developing leadership skills” or chat freely with the bot. It uses a combination of proprietary algorithms along with large language models from OpenAI, Meta and Anthropic.

“A very small percentage of employees have access to a human coach,” said Wisq CEO Jim Barnett. “We’re focused on giving the other 98 percent coaching.” stayed focused on specific goals, possibly because the system, powered by its own models, only pulls from curated content, rather thanthe entire internet, or from data that a company uploads for corporate accounts, according to Harry Novic, founder and CEO of

The Post warned that AI is not a replacement for human career coaches, in part because it sometimes makes things up. The newspaper also noted that AI may have issues with gender and racial bias in its answers. And it found that the bots were sometimes too general to be helpful, or too strange to make sense.

“AI lives on the internet, and you and I live in the real world—a distinction we shouldn’t forget,” said Vinay Menon, who leads the global artificial intelligence practice for recruiting firm Korn Ferry, in an interview with the Post. “AI is meant to support decision-making, not take it over completely.”

Experts and software makers interviewed by the Post also noted that AI won’t be able to offer what a human coach can, since they lack empathy, can't react to human emotional cues and have no knowledge of someone's personal experiences.

“A mentor has awareness of your career trajectory and experience that [AI] wouldn’t,” said Rahman.

“The human needs to come first and the AI second,” said Menon.