What the study is about

What impact does Artificial Intelligence have on the candidate experience? Deeper insights into the perceptions of potential candidates.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used in many different areas of our lives today. Among other things, companies are using it to support application processes.

But what do potential applicants think about artificial intelligence in recruiting? This representative study provides the answer: most respondents have negative associations with AI in recruiting and are critical of it. 43% even believe that artificial intelligence makes the application process worse for them.

The reason for this is that the human factor is an essential component of a positive candidate experience for those surveyed. However, more than half fear that the use of AI will push interpersonal aspects into the background - and the vast majority expect an impersonal application process. For a third of those surveyed, however, artificial intelligence also brings more equal opportunities, e.g. in terms of origin, age and gender. And almost as many assume that AI will speed up application processes.

The study also shows how often artificial intelligence is even perceived in recruiting: “Applicants are often not even aware of the use of AI in the application process”, says Prof. Dr. Katharina-Maria Rehfeld, Professor of Human Resource Management at IU International University of Applied Sciences. Fittingly, 9 out of 10 of those surveyed have not yet had any conscious experience with AI during a job application process.

Looking into the future, almost two thirds believe that AI will be used more frequently in recruiting in the future. But only a good third sees this development as positive. So how can companies eliminate the doubts of potential applicants about artificial intelligence? - First and foremost, through human contacts during the application process and through more information about the use of AI.

“Artificial intelligence is the future, and this development can no longer be stopped in the human resources sector. The goal must be to consciously use the opportunities offered by the technology and to reduce risks.” Prof. Dr. Michaela Moser, Professor of Human Resource Management at IU International University of Applied Sciences.

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  • Bad image: Artificial intelligence arouses negative emotions. People appreciate human values - also and especially in application processes. For the respondents, honesty and respectful interactions are particularly important. So how do they rate the use of artificial intelligence in recruiting? - With quite a bit of scepticism. The most frequent unsupported associations with AI are "impersonal", followed by "not good" and "weird".
  • Against AI: Less human. Pro AI: Fairer?  Scepticism about artificial intelligence in application processes is high: 64.7% are opposed to it and rate the technological development as negative. Above all, the loss of interpersonal aspects such as sympathy as well as the perceived uncontrolled data processing cause concern. However, every third respondent also sees the opportunity to use AI to prevent discrimination based on origin, age or gender, for example.
  • Hardly any trust in the decisions of AI.  Almost two-thirds of respondents do not trust the decisions made by artificial intelligence. And more than 70% would like a human to oversee every step of the process and make the final decision - especially at the interview level. Overall, the deeper in the application process, the more likely people are to reject the use of artificial intelligence.
  • Biggest concern: AI is impersonal. Its impersonality is cited as the biggest weakness of AI. Respondents also admit that human errors in programming could also become a disadvantage. It is interesting that only a few of the participants in the study had consciously come into contact with AI in previous job applications.
  • Employers can alleviate doubts about AI. For almost two-thirds of the respondents, it is clear that the use of artificial intelligence in recruiting will increase in the future. Although many are negative about the potential development, there are some measures that employers can take to alleviate doubts. These include having a personal contact person throughout the application process, more transparency and clearly communicating the benefits and advantages of AI.

About this study:

  • Published on 14.04.2022
  • 1,005 respondents aged 16 to 65 years
  • Survey period: 29.10.2021 – 03.11.2021

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Staatlich Anerkannte Hochschule ZFU