By Bill McCabe

The Growing Role of AI in HR: What Do Americans Think?

The Growing Role of AI in HR: What Do Americans Think?

We all see how artificial intelligence transforms many business factors, including human resources. The use of AI in hiring and evaluating workers is on the rise. Companies are turning to algorithmic systems to screen job candidates, assess skills, and evaluate employee performance.

But what do Americans think about the growing role of AI in HR?

This article examines the key benefits and concerns, what research reveals about public attitudes, and some notable examples of companies already using AI in these processes.

The Evolving Perception of AI in Hiring

Remember the days when hiring was all about human intuition? Well, times have changed.

  • 62% of Americans believe AI will significantly impact job roles in the next decade.
  • AI can make hiring more efficient and fairer.

However, it’s not all rosy. Many still harbor concerns about AI’s role, especially in replacing human judgment.

AI Takes the Bias Out of Hiring and Evaluating

One of the biggest promises of AI is its potential to remove human biases from important decisions like hiring and performance reviews. By analyzing patterns in data, AI systems can identify the best candidates for open job roles based on skills and experience.

Unlike a human recruiter or manager, an AI algorithm won’t be influenced by race, gender, age, or educational pedigree. The goal is to create a more fair, objective, and diverse talent pipeline.

Research shows that algorithms are less likely than human reviewers to dismiss resumes from minorities, women, and foreign applicants. AI screening also expands the talent pool that companies can evaluate. Rather than just considering candidates who applied, AI systems can proactively source potential hires from across the web.

AI Handles Candidate Screening at Scale

Sorting through a flood of applications for open positions can be highly time-consuming. But AI-powered screening tools can efficiently parse through hundreds of resumes in a fraction of the time.

By instantly analyzing credentials, skills, and previous experience, automated systems can identify the most promising applicants to prioritize for interviews. This allows recruiters to focus on human hiring – the nuanced discussions and evaluations needed to find the best cultural fit.

AI is especially helpful for positions that receive high volumes of applicants, such as customer service and sales roles. The tedious task of candidate screening is ideally suited for automation.

AI Takes the Emotion Out of Performance Reviews

Human evaluations of employees can often fall victim to recency bias, the halo effect, and unconscious biases. However, AI systems can provide consistent, unbiased assessments of job performance.

Algorithmic models can deliver objective performance insights by continuously analyzing employee data – like sales numbers, customer satisfaction ratings, and quality assurance metrics.

AI helps remove any favoritism, prejudice, or emotion from the process.

The transparency of the data used for AI evaluations also makes it easier for employees to understand where they excel and where they need improvement. The subjectivity is removed.

But Many Americans Have Concerns About AI’s Growing HR Role

While AI promises many benefits in finding and evaluating talent, Americans also have some understandable concerns. Chief among them is the potential for algorithms to perpetuate existing societal biases.

Since AI learns from real-world data, any biases ‘baked into’ that data get reflected in the system’s recommendations. For example, if algorithms analyze predominately male candidates for software engineering roles historically, they may learn to overlook female applicants.

Many also worry that AI lacks human nuance and judgment. While machines can efficiently parse credentials, there are intangibles in hiring, like personality, culture fit, and soft skills, that algorithms may need to catch up.

Surveys Show the American Public is Wary of AI in HR

Recent surveys reveal Americans have mixed views on incorporating AI into human resources:

  • In one 2021 survey by visualization platform Visme, only 29% of respondents said AI would make hiring more fair and objective. 44% said it has the potential to introduce new biases.
  • In a 2019 survey by the think tank Center for the Governance of AI, 58% of Americans expressed concern about AI being used in hiring and job recruitment. Just 22% supported the technology for this use case.
  • Only 18% expressed support in the Center for the Governance of AI poll when asked about using AI to evaluate and provide employee feedback. 79% indicated they were worried about unfair or inaccurate AI evaluations.
  • Younger Americans appear more open to AI tools in HR than older generations. But, most agree transparent safeguards must be implemented to prevent discrimination or privacy violations.

Big Tech Embraces AI for Hiring and Evaluating Staff

While public opinion may be mixed, some prominent technology companies are forging ahead with AI to enhance their talent management:

Unilever Uses AI to Assess Candidate and Employee Skills

Consumer goods giant Unilever has been expanding its use of AI for hiring and evaluating employees. During video interviews, its skill assessment platform analyzes facial expressions, word choice, and tone to assess attributes like honesty, motivation, and empathy.

Unilever has employees play neuroscience-based games to derive personality and ability insights to assign mentors and training.

HireVue Automates Candidate Screening for Major Employers

HireVue is a leader in providing video interviews and assessment tools enhanced by AI analysis. The company’s platform builds candidate profiles by analyzing word choice, facial movements, and other aspects of video interviews.

Large employers like Hilton, Unilever, and Goldman Sachs use HireVue to automate high-volume candidate screening.

AI’s HR Role Will Keep Growing, Alongside Public Debate 

Companies must proactively address Americans’ concerns as AI-enhanced talent management gains more traction. Transparent policies, audits for bias, and human oversight of AI systems will be critical.

It’s also essential to educate the public on the concrete benefits of AI in finding and evaluating talent pools. Avoiding buzzwords like ‘AI’ and discussing how the tech enhances outcomes could alleviate unfounded fears.

There is little doubt HR will continue expanding its use of automation and AI screening to access more expansive talent pools and scale candidate assessments. However, earning public trust through ethics and transparency will determine if this tech can realize its full potential.

The Future Will Keep Raising Hard Questions

AI promises a more fair, unbiased approach to finding and evaluating workers. But for the technology to gain public trust, companies must make ethics and transparency top priorities in its use.

With the proper safeguards and policies, AI can circumvent many downsides of human decision-making in HR. However, more debate is needed on AI’s expanding role in the workplace. Getting the public positively excited about AI’s potential will accelerate its adoption and societal benefits.


  1. What are the main advantages of using AI in hiring?

AI-powered screening tools remove human bias from hiring and objectively evaluate candidates based on skills and experience. AI can efficiently parse through high volumes of applicants to surface the most promising ones.

  1. What concerns do critics have about using AI to evaluate employees?

Many worry that AI lacks human nuance and may perpetuate societal biases in performance data. Critics argue important context could be missing from AI evaluations. There are also concerns about the transparency of AI performance management systems.

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