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AI, ghosting and race bias: Surprising stats from Greenhouse hiring survey

13 May 2024

How do job applicants in the UK, US, Ireland and the DACH region view the current jobs market?

The recent 2024 Candidate Experience Report, conducted by hiring platform Greenhouse, highlighted the challenges jobseekers are facing in the current climate.

Taking a closer look at the UK, US, Ireland and the DACH area (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), people have serious concerns about the future of work and their place within a turbulent applicant system. 

Here, we look at some of the surprising and even concerning statistics that have the potential to dictate trends as we move further into 2024. 

Race bias

The prevalence of a race bias in the job applicant process is perhaps not as surprising as it is disappointing, considering it is 2024 and globally there have been efforts to incorporate diversity and inclusion policies into the working environment. 

There are a number of statistics within the report that address the importance of equality as well as applicant expectations around the issue. For example, data shows that in the US, 28pc of candidates were asked discriminatory questions based on their race, with 21pc queried on their country of origin. Consider then that 23pc of US-based job applicants place a “strong emphasis” on a prospective company’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion policies (DE&I). 

The report also found that over one-third (38pc) of candidates will judge a company’s DE&I endeavours on the diversity of leadership and board members. 

Across the entire survey group, it was discovered that 12pc of black job applicants were more likely to experience negative bait-and-switch tactics during the interview and onboarding process. 

AI usage

Employers and recruiters have been using AI to streamline the application process since the innovation of AI technology, but it might surprise some that we are seeing candidates leverage this tech to optimise job hunting. 

In the UK, 40pc of people utilise AI to generate resumes and cover letters, with 37pc using the technology to prepare for interviews. 

This is similar to how it is deployed in Ireland, where almost one-third of applicants (30pc) use AI to specifically tailor their CV to a job posting. 

The survey indicates that the US is potentially the most creative when it comes to AI adoption, as job candidates use it to generate headshots (18pc), complete assignments (24pc) and for social media outreach related to job hunting (26pc). 

Controversially, whilst AI tools are frequently used by US-based job applicants to boost their chances and bypass mundane or difficult tasks, more than one-quarter of jobseekers fear “AI might screen them out of the hiring process”. Nearly 30pc of respondents have concerns about the inherent bias of AI programming, and about one-third believe the tech has eliminated jobs. 

The DACH region views the involvement of AI in the hiring process less favourably than the other areas involved in the survey. Mainly, there is a genuine concern that AI has actually made the job application process more difficult, as one-quarter of respondents think AI has made it harder to get noticed by recruiters. 

Weak offerings

The jobs market has become highly competitive and we are in an era where companies are having to overhaul their hiring processes in recognition of changing attitudes and expectations around employment. 

In the UK and Ireland, almost half of the candidates (48pc) rejected a valid job offer due to a low salary. 

After receiving an offer from a company following the hiring process, 32pc of UK candidates, 29pc of Irish candidates, 21pc of DACH candidates and 29pc of US candidates accepted a more attractive offer from a different company. 

Across the board, candidates in all of the surveyed regions found that the interview process could at times be inefficient, requiring multiple interviews and forms of assessment, thereby reducing candidates’ interest. 

Love bombing and ghosting 

Love bombing and ghosting are essentially two sides of the same coin. The first is an excessive level of praise and flattery used as a lure to pull you in. The latter involves cutting off all communication once you have been effectively hooked or are no longer being considered for a position. Employers and recruiters often use these tactics as a way of keeping a potential employee ‘on ice’ until they have confirmed who they intend to hire.

More than half of US job applicants reported being ghosted after an interview, beaten only by the DACH region at 65pc. In the UK, 42pc of people say they were ghosted after the interview process, with “historically underrepresented groups being 67pc more likely to be ghosted than white candidates”. 

Overall, candidates’ confidence in the current jobs market doesn’t rise above 30pc in any of the regions covered. If employers want to attract and retain top talent, they need to take a closer look at their own practices and acknowledge that there is significant room for improvement.  

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Laura Varley
By Laura Varley

Laura Varley is a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic. She has a background in technology PR and journalism and is borderline obsessed with film and television, the theatre, Marvel and Mayo GAA. She is currently trying to learn how to knit.

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