Why aren’t HR pros relying on AI to assess hiring decisions yet?

Artificial intelligence has influenced HR tech from all angles, including through its ability to screen and make predictions about candidates. However, when assessment platform SHL surveyed 1,600 HR professionals about whether they’d used AI-based assessments in the hiring process, the majority responded no.

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Only 12% indicated that they had used artificial intelligence to help evaluate candidates during the talent-related decision-making phase.

It turns out that AI seems to be most trusted by HR when it automates repetitive tasks and provides insights, but human involvement remains crucial for thorough candidate evaluation and decision-making in hiring.

AI in hiring sparks familiar fears

SHL’s research on AI-driven hiring assessments highlighted familiar concerns within the HR industry, including fears of hidden bias, lack of explainability, uncertainty about candidate reactions, legal considerations and inaccurate performance prediction.

Specifically, HR professionals voiced concerns about the potential for AI systems to perpetuate human biases or focus excessively on irrelevant details of candidates’ responses or competencies.

They also expressed a need for a better understanding of AI processes to effectively explain decision outcomes and mitigate legal risks associated with questionable employment outcomes.

While these concerns are focused specifically on AI in hiring, they are not unique—addressing bias pitfalls is a routine challenge for HR professionals, even without the involvement of artificial intelligence.

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Many of SHL’s respondents also expressed apprehension about candidates’ perceptions of organizations utilizing AI in hiring processes. This concern is supported by a 2023 Pew Research Center survey indicating a strong preference among U.S. adults for human involvement in final hiring decisions rather than relying on AI.

The value of AI in other aspects of HR

However, the reluctance to embrace AI in hiring does not automatically extend to other areas of HR operations. According to i4cp’s 2024 Priorities & Predictions report, HR leaders are leveraging gen AI for various tasks, including email communication, presentation creation, policy development, case study compilation, scenario planning, sentiment analysis of employee surveys and industry trend monitoring.

Despite utilizing AI for performance review analysis, the findings from i4cp suggest a lack of widespread adoption of AI functionality in employment decision-making, confirming SHL’s findings of a cautious approach among HR leaders toward exploring AI’s potential in hiring processes.

According to Gartner, 81% of HR leaders have explored or implemented AI to drive efficiency, and many HR departments have been utilizing AI to automate recruitment steps for years. These can include candidate sourcing, interviewing, job description analysis, resume screening and appointment scheduling.

Stephanie Smith, senior vice president of people and culture at Tagboard, spoke to an audience of HR pros during a recent 15Five summit. She put it this way: “If you’re drowning in administrative tasks, you don’t have power over your environment.” She advises HR leaders to let AI handle those chores and get back to what’s most important—like deep decision-making about hiring.

Jill Barthhttps://hrexecutive.com/
Jill Barth is HR Tech Editor of Human Resource Executive. She is an award-winning journalist with bylines in Forbes, USA Today and other international publications. With a background in communications, media, B2B ecommerce and the workplace, she also served as a consultant with Gallagher Benefit Services for nearly a decade. Reach out at [email protected].