Are you eager to enhance your recruiting process with cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence?
Before you dive in, it is essential to understand that candidates might not always view AI-driven recruiting positively. If you are an HR professional looking to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of Talent Acquisition, find out about the candidate perceptions of AI use in recruiting.

Requirement of technological advancements

A successful recruiting is becoming more and more critical for organizations today. New conditions and demands are intensifying the shortage of skilled workers, making an evolution of recruiting practices necessary to better attract talents. In this context, the use of technological advancements has become indispensable.

Conclusively, AI is becoming a critical strategic and operational tool for HR, and recruiting in particular, driving significant changes in business models, workforce dynamics, and investment priorities. There is an increasing number of HR technology providers, and more and more organizations are using AI. The overall global investment in AI has expanded dramatically over the past decade, growing 18-fold since 2013 (Stanford University, 2023). Around 5% of German organizations already use AI in HR and 25% more are planning to use it (Randstad – ifo Institute, 2023). The most implemented AI applications in HR are software for application screening, tools for task automation, and chatbots. However, there are opportunities to integrate AI into various activities across all stages of the recruiting process:

Decision Support

  • Gather, synthesize, and analyze large volumes of applicant data
  • Identify and contact potential candidates
  • Evaluate assessment scores and interview answers and score open-ended responses
  • Analyze video interviews, web activity and social media to identify characteristics of candidates
  • Reduce the volume of applications by ranking candidates and streamlining selection decisions
  • Create effective and user-friendly tests and evaluate the tests

Administrative Support

  • Design job descriptions
  • Define and assign job-related skills
  • Provide technical support, e.g., answering questions about the application software
  • Organize and schedule interviews
  • Provide updates along the recruiting process
  • Answer questions of candidates, or asking the candidates questions to fill in missing information

Need for evolution of recruiting practices with a focus on candidate perceptions

Uncertainty in job search

During their job search, candidates face uncertainty regarding potential employers and work environments.

Recruiting experience

Candidates’ perceptions of an organization’s attractiveness are shaped by the signals and information they receive during the recruiting process, e.g., the recruiter, the used technology, or procedures.

Use of heuristics in job search

Such information supports candidates in using heuristics to decrease uncertainty and form an impression of how much they would like to work for the organization.

The recruiting process helps candidates to reduce uncertainty

Understanding what influences candidate perceptions of organizational attractiveness, increases the organization’s ability to attract better talent, enhances organizational performance, and thereby contributes to the organization’s competitiveness. But it also has implications beyond the recruiting process, such as better new hire engagement and decreased turnover rates.

The recruiting process is viewed as an early indicator of the work environment in the organization. Especially the aspect of fairness is relevant because how fair employees perceive their workplace significantly impacts:

  • Personal well-being: Stress levels, health, and emotional state
  • Organizational outcomes: Organizational attraction, job pursuit intentions, turnover rates, job performance, and job satisfaction

It is important to consider the candidate perceptions regarding the use of AI in recruiting

Candidates interpret the presence of AI as a signal that informs them about organizational characteristics and what it might be like to work there. The use of AI can activate positive or negative signals for the candidates, which influence their perception of the organization’s attractiveness. The following signals may be sent from organizations using AI in the recruiting process:

Positive Signals

  • Candidates perceive the organization to be innovative by using advanced technologies
  • Organizations are perceived as efficient and objective by focusing on quantitative data
  • Organizations are regarded as being reliable by valuing consistency, fairness, and unbiased decision-making
  • Candidates have a perception of equal treatment through the use of more standardized procedures

Negative Signals

  • Candidates generally seem to favor human recruiters over AI (algorithm aversion)
  • Candidates feel less valued and respected
  • Candidates have a perception of increased uncertainty and privacy concerns
  • Organizations are regarded as having a lack of empathy and being less fair/ biased

Sources: (Gonzalez et al., 2022), (Oostrom et al., 2023), (Noble et al., 2021), (Acikgoz et al., 2020)

Take-aways for organizations

Align AI use with organizational values

When working in an organization, employees seek to satisfy their personal needs. Thus, candidates are attracted to organizations that seem to align with their needs and values (person-environment fit). AI can play a significant role in this by signaling organizational characteristics during the recruiting process. Therefore, it is important for organizations to use AI strategically to highlight and reinforce core values. By doing so, candidates who are not only qualified but also a good cultural fit can be attracted, ultimately leading to higher satisfaction and retention rates.

Enhance candidate experience

A candidate’s experience during the recruiting process significantly influences their perception of how they will be treated as employees and therefore how attractive they find the organization. AI can be a powerful tool in enhancing the candidate experience, for example, by speeding up response times, providing timely feedback, and ensuring a smooth and efficient process. Therefore, organizations should focus on leveraging AI to create a positive and engaging recruiting experience.

Optimize AI use for efficiency

Candidates positively perceive the use of AI in handling administrative tasks, as it streamlines the recruiting process and reduces wait times. Organizations should capitalize on this by, for example, implementing AI for scheduling interviews, managing paperwork, and other routine administrative tasks. Next to making the process more efficient this also allows HR professionals to focus on more strategic aspects.

Be cautious with AI use in decision-making

The use of AI in decision-making, for example, for pre-ranking candidates, is perceived negatively by candidates. There is a concern that AI-supported decisions may seem unfair or biased, leading to lower levels of organizational attractiveness. To mitigate this risk, organizations should primarily use AI for administrative support and routine tasks.

Consider individual differences

Candidates’ perceptions of AI in recruiting may vary based on their individual characteristics and preferences. HR professionals need to consider these differences when implementing AI in the recruiting process. This might involve implementing AI only for certain candidate profiles. Additionally, being transparent about how AI is used and understanding and addressing individual concerns, can help to create a positive recruiting experience for candidates.

Make your Recruiting Process more efficient while increasing the Candidate Experience

Are you interested in using AI in recruiting and also want to improve the candidate experience? Contact us and let’s find the perfect approach for your organization together!