The AI hype seems to be ever enduring, which leaves people from all professions both concerned and excited about how AI may be anticipated to change their industry. While some areas of this conversation remain speculative (for now), leaders in Artificial Intelligence will often be the first to document positive progress or potential benefits of AI. To balance this, we’ve compiled some of the main issues that have arose with the use of AI in recruitment. While this doesn’t mean AI should never be used in hiring processes, the below points shed light on areas that should be monitored and flag what still needs work. 

Briefly, what is AI? 

AI, which stands for Artificial Intelligence is when machines are used to stimulate human intelligence, through specialised software and hardware. Examples of AI include speech recognition and machine learning. Generally, AI is trained by feeding it large amount of data, which it then analyses for patterns and rules, so that it can then generate new answers based on this data. 

AI learns human bias 

Problems exist with natural language processing algorithms which can produce biased results within applicant tracking systems, that many organisations use as tools in their recruitment process. During Amazon’s hiring process, AI systems saw that in the organisation’s historic workforce data that women were significantly underrepresented in technical roles, and so the AI favoured applications from candidates who were men. The organisation tried to make changes, but eventually did away with the initiative. While biased data being utilised by AI negatively impacts your DE&I efforts, it also increases your chances on missing out on highly talented or unique individuals as the nature of AI means it will look for patterns and similarities – aka. What you already have. Therefore, it poses a risk to nurturing a culture of innovation or keeping up with new trends around education, skills, and other key points. 

Committing to initiatives such as flexibility (in both time and place of work) and work-family benefits are often vital to candidates from underrepresented groups. Set yourself up for success by adopting structured interviews. In this format, each candidate is evaluated according to the same criteria and quantitative rubric. This helps reduce bias by minimising the interviewer’s susceptibility to impression management, which some candidates may use to find common ground with interviewers and obscure deficits in their education or training. Structured interviews put all candidates on a level playing field, so everyone has a fair chance to demonstrate their skills. 

AI is less likely to notice soft skills 

AI lacks the ability to recognise the implied skills behind a candidate’s experiences and education. For example, if they worked for a very multi-cultural, international organisation, they may have great people skills that allow them to work well with all different kinds of people and understand different perspectives. Or, if they chose apprenticeships and internships over university, perhaps their extra hands-on experience will allow them to ramp up quickly and have a better practical understanding of the workplace that the traditional graduate may not.  

You may be interested to read: Hiring for Soft Skills – The Secret to Success 

Data privacy issues 

AI-driven recruitment tools heavily rely on copious amounts of candidate data, and while this data can prove fruitful in pin-pointing patterns and informing recruitment strategy, there are also justified data privacy concerns. The mishandling or misuse of candidate data can have very real consequences for employers and candidates alike. With AI, there remains a potential for data breaches and unauthorised access to sensitive information.  

There is also the issue that AI cannot be held accountable for data privacy breaches in the way human beings can, which feeds into many critic’s concerns – you can’t put AI on a Performance Improvement Plan. Research has also found the use of AI may diminish human employee’s sense of responsibility, which could lead to other issues with regard to data being treated with the care it needs to be. 

Read about Hireserve’s data protection functionality. 


Job seeker anxiety can play a big role in many candidates’ job search. From financial pressure to fear of rejection, many find the process stressful. Because of this, human empathy and understanding can be crucial in maintaining a positive candidate experience and ensuring the process runs smoothly while allowing applicants to have the chance to put their best foot forward.  

While tech can play an important and brilliantly helpful role in automating and simplifying many stages of the hiring process, technology is best used as a tool. It should be something to empower, support, and ease tasks for your recruitment team and candidate – but the human touch still has an indisputable place in helping people feel at ease by answering questions or customising the process. People also are the greatest pioneers of your culture and values. They know the reality of working at your organisation, and they are the best people to offer insight and share experiences.  

Looking to create a candidate survey to learn where you could improve your process? You may want to read our article: What to Ask In a Candidate Experience Survey 

About the author

Hannah Elliott