Nearly one-fifth of HR professionals say qualified candidates were excluded by automated hiring software

A new SHRM study finds HR professionals see the value in AI, but want more information about how to spot potential biases.
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HR departments recently gave AI a performance review, and they’re not exactly exceeding expectations.

SHRM randomly sampled over 1,500 HR professionals in the US and found that one in four HR departments have begun to use AI or automation in their recruitment or hiring processes, and the majority said AI improves the speed of hiring. However, HR teams are underwhelmed by vendors’ transparency.

The good. Among HR professionals surveyed, 85% agree that using automation or AI saves them time or increases their efficiency by some degree, and 64% believe the tech automatically filters out unqualified applicants.

The mixed. When asked to describe how much time AI and automation save HR, 53% of survey respondents said the time to hire is only “somewhat better” than before. Two out of three recruiters surveyed reported fewer applications to manually sort through after adopting AI, but 19% reported noticing that the AI tool had inadvertently overlooked or screened out qualified applicants for the role.

The muddy. 92% of survey respondents said they source their tech in part or entirely from vendors—and the majority aren’t over the moon with the vendors’ transparency. Only two in five respondents said vendors were “very transparent” about the specific steps they took to protect against bias, and 46% of respondents wanted to see some more information on how to identify potential bias when they use the tech.

Bottom line: As California, the state with the most employees in the country, is considering regulating automated decision processes, including AI hiring tech, the use of these tools could increasingly raise compliance questions for HR departments. New York City instituted a similar law in December.

Andrew Greenberg, founder and president of ContractRecruiter, told SHRM, “We’ve seen a substantial increase in litigation surrounding HR algorithm bias, screening, hiring, and discrimination. Many states are already beginning to introduce legislation restricting the ways that you can use AI in HR. Predictive analytics has its merits, but you could potentially end up running into problems without careful monitoring.”—SV

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Email [email protected] or DM @SusannaVogel1 on Twitter. For completely confidential conversations, ask Susanna for her number on Signal.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

Our HR newsletter delivers need-to-know industry news and insights to HR pros every weekday for free.