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AI: Why do trust issues persist?

Nearly half of HR managers see AI as the future of hiring decisions, but many worry it could introduce more bias, finds new study.

A new study* reveals HR managers have embraced AI to boost hiring efficiency, but remain concerned about its trustworthiness and potential to perpetuate biases. The “EMEA HR Manager AI & Bias Pulse Report” polled 1,700 HR professionals across the UK, Germany and Ireland on their use of artificial intelligence in recruitment and hiring.

The survey found that 9 out of 10 respondents currently use AI tools in their HR departments. With hiring freezes and layoffs impacting HR teams, 65% cited efficiency as AI’s main benefit. Other top advantages included finding suitable candidates (47%), improving matches (44%), reducing bias (43%) and automating repetitive tasks (42%).

However, under half (47%) said they cannot fully trust AI hiring tools. 40% worry AI introduces bias against minority groups, while 34% believe it will bring more bias into all recruitment activities.

“There’s just no good business or moral reason to hand the wheel to AI when we are aware of its existing flaws and risks,” said Henry Tsai, Chief Product Officer at Greenhouse. “AI in hiring is an assistant, not a replacement.”

Though concerned about AI bias, many HR managers overlooked their own. 68% said a candidate’s educational background sways their decisions, with 17% only hiring from top regional universities. Just 12% said schooling is irrelevant to skills and capabilities. Over half (56%) were also more likely to hire someone similar to themselves.

“HR managers have failed to recognize their own biases that are plaguing the hiring process,” said Colm O’Cuinneain, Greenhouse GM for EMEA. “Candidates should be judged on skills, not the privilege of prestigious degrees unrelated to the role.”

Additional findings show:

  • 47% believe AI will make hiring choices in the future, though 35% said it has already made poor ones.
  • When comparing two candidates, 53% favour those with higher degrees.
  • 63% noticed increased internal mobility, seen as a positive retention tool by 60%. 56% said AI improved internal movement.
  • But 28% don’t think their mobility processes are fair or transparent.
  • 52% said remote work created cost savings, with 29% using AI to support it.

The report highlights how AI holds promise to remove bias and create efficiencies but also risks perpetuating systemic inequities if deployed carelessly. As adoption spreads, HR must remain vigilant about balancing productivity with principles of fairness, transparency and accountability.

*Survey and report from by Greenhouse

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