AI, DEIB and the future of hiring: Cautious curiosity from candidates and hiring managers

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4 mins, 27 secs read time

Tune into any news source and it’s easy to find coverage of AI. But summing up how people feel about this technology, especially when it comes to hiring? That’s a little more complicated. While AI shows a lot of promise when it comes to saving time on routine tasks, candidates and HR leaders alike have some hesitation about its ability to limit bias and promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB).

In advance of the panel discussion Greenhouse is hosting in Cannes this year, “AI and DEIB: How these two acronyms work together to shape the future of hiring,” we conducted a survey of over 2,700 candidates and over 100 HR leaders. Let’s dig into the findings.

Candidates express skepticism about AI for screening

There’s a significant percentage of candidates who are skeptical about companies using AI in the hiring process – especially when it comes to screening their applications. More than one-fourth (27%) of candidates believe that AI leads to more bias in the hiring process and makes it less inclusive. It makes sense, then, that 35% of candidates disagree with companies using AI in job application screening.

Candidates are hesitant – but curious – to use AI in the job search

The skepticism candidates are feeling about companies using AI is somewhat reflected in their own experimentation with this technology. Almost one-third (31%) of candidates are worried that a company might reject their application if they used AI.

At the same time, candidates see the potential in this technology and are curious to experiment with it. Close to half of candidates (48%) are currently or considering using generative AI for job searches and 47% say they’d use AI to save themselves time in finding relevant jobs. More than one-third (35%) of candidates say it feels fair to use this technology since companies are probably using AI to sort through resumes in their process. The most common ways candidates say they’re using AI in the job search include:

  • Writing my resume: 45%
  • Writing my cover letter: 41%
  • Answering job application questions: 36%
  • Helping me prepare for an interview: 38%
  • Helping with skills testing as part of the interview process: 34%
  • Writing or helping with a job interview assessment: 25%

HR leaders share both concern and curiosity when it comes to AI

Similar to what we’re seeing with candidates, HR leaders express a mixture of curiosity and concern when it comes to AI. Almost one-third (32%) of HR leaders say they’re already using generative AI during the hiring process while a further 48% are considering using it. A significant percentage – 62% – believe that AI can help them hire the best candidate.

At the same time, 33% of HR leaders disagree with using AI in job application screenings. The fact that almost 50% of respondents’ companies are not monitoring or evaluating the performance of AI tools is a cause for concern, especially since some governments (like New York City) are beginning to require regular reporting on AI that’s used in the hiring process. Find a few simple tips for monitoring AI software from Greenhouse’s Senior Data Scientist Mona Khalil in this post.

Educating employees not only on the scope of how AI can be used, but on the ethical considerations of it, like privacy, transparency, and bias, will be critical as we go forward with the intention of responsible and ethical AI.
–Lani Phillips, Vice President of Channel Sales at Microsoft

The jury’s still out when it comes to AI and DEIB

When it comes to AI’s ability to help an organization meet its DEIB goals, HR leaders are nearly evenly split. While 33% strongly or somewhat believe that AI will help organizations reach their DEIB goals, 31% strongly or somewhat disagree.

HR leaders express slightly more pessimism about AI’s ability to reduce bias in the hiring process – 37% don’t think AI reduces bias while 28% believe it does. One area where there’s more consensus is on the regulation of this technology – almost 62% of respondents strongly or somewhat agree that there should be laws specifically governing AI tools to prevent bias in the recruitment process.

Moving forward – how should norms change?

It’s clear that we’re at the beginning of a major transformation, but working norms haven’t quite caught up yet. One of the biggest areas of confusion around AI is how and when to disclose its use and how this should impact decisions. Over 38% of HR leader respondents believe that if a candidate has used AI in the application and hiring process, they should disclose that to the company they are applying to. Nearly the same number – 37% – have or are considering implementing AI screening or plagiarism detection tools.

HR leaders generally believe they should apply the same standards to themselves. Nearly half of HR leader respondents say that companies should disclose their use of AI to candidates. There’s one point that nearly everyone agrees on, and that’s the fact that there should be more education and training in the workplace regarding AI tools. Almost 84% of HR leaders agree with this statement.

Want to learn more about how to mitigate bias in the hiring process and evaluate all candidates consistently and fairly? Explore Greenhouse’s diversity, equity and inclusion features here.

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Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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