Talent acquisition leaders at some of the world’s biggest employers have spelled out how the evolution of AI technology will impact hiring.

The findings have emerged as part of a new study by Glasgow-based video interviewing platform Willo, which included interviews with senior talent acquisition, human resources, and hiring experts at major international organisations, from start-ups all the way to Fortune 500 companies.

The Hiring Humans research paper explores how organisations can ethically and effectively implement AI technology to improve their hiring processes. It arrives as the implementation of AI in hiring becomes a top priority for major organisations, with a recent Deloitte study recently finding the evolution of the tech is the second biggest trend boards expect to impact their future workforces.

Willo’s Trends Report 2024, published earlier this year, found that close to 80% of talent acquisition leaders expect to implement AI in hiring processes in some way – although a significant percentage (45.2%) believe it should be done cautiously.

The new 24-page Hiring Humans research explores several key issues around the implementation of AI in hiring, including bias, efficiency, and candidate experience. It also outlines a six-step process companies can use to ensure AI implementation is effective.

Amongst the key findings, experts interviewed suggest candidates will also drive the uptake of AI in hiring, with employers that haven’t adopted the technology at risk of being considered ‘irrelevant and obsolete’ in future. Others suggested developments in the tech have already made some forms of early-stage assessment – such as verbal reasoning tests – ineffective, with a study by candidate assessment platform Arctic Shores finding that Chat GPT outperforms 98.8% of candidates.

Contributors to the study suggested recruiters are seeing ‘a real drop in the quality of candidates at the interview stage versus what their assessment scores were earlier on in the application process’, indicating some may be using the tech to beat assessments.

Euan Cameron, co-founder and CEO at Willo, said the findings of the study show the decision on whether to use AI in hiring is being taken out of the hands of organisations, but stressed how the tech is used remains very much in their control.

Experts interviewed in the study suggested talent acquisition teams will need to ‘deprioritise’ skill sets tested by traditional methods, and instead focus more on attributes such as critical thinking, independent time management, and collaboration.

Cameron, who founded the business with Andrew Wood in 2018, added that the research found the place for AI in hiring comes in the insights it can provide on interview performance, efficiencies it can deliver, and the capability to deliver these changes at a scale not previously thought possible.

He said: “The choice is rapidly being taken away from organisations on whether they can implement AI in their processes. Initially there was a resistance to AI in the hiring process, but now we are seeing a change. Conversations with our clients are now about how we can ethically bring AI into the talent acquisition workflow to improve hiring outcomes, process efficiency, and candidate experience.

“As the research gathered in this study suggests, the attributes talent acquisition teams have typically looked for can too easily be replicated by AI in the early stages of the process, so there is a need to look for alternatives and new applications.

“Naturally, one of the core objectives for any organisation will be to improve efficiency and productivity in the process – and AI can achieve that – but there are more far-reaching uses and outcomes. As the study suggests, AI enables actions to be conducted at a scale not possible through human input alone, and that’s one of the most attractive applications.

“What’s more, candidates expect the best organisations to be using AI. As was suggested in the study, it’s a sign that an organisation is future facing and will not become obsolete. The largest companies are already looking at this, and where the biggest organisations go, the rest follow.

“We have brought together insights from people working at that sharp end of talent acquisition to help shape and guide how organisations and their teams can bring AI into their operation ethically, efficiently, and effectively, and Willo is proud to play a part in sharing that guidance with everybody.”