Does AI remove the human factor? What tools can be leveraged in the decision-making process? How many interviews should we conduct at risk of burnout and interview fatigue? Do robots replace humans in the entire process? Are AI tools more or less biased when it comes to assessing candidate qualifications? What are we actually interviewing for?

Let’s park the change management components momentarily, suspend all assumptions about the what-ifs, and dive in.

Why interview at all?

For all parties, this is mission-critical. The individual carries the weight of the world on their shoulders, trying to decide and evaluate the company, its purpose, and how all of the individuals within it interact. The questions are endless, and there isn’t enough data to guarantee anyone 100% satisfaction when it comes to assessing culture and its people before having spent significant time ‘on the job.’ There are simply way too many X-factors and intangibles at play. Ultimately, there has to be some level of exchange to allow everyone to make an informed decision.

Equally for the hiring manager, stress from a vacancy, a culture or team under pressure to deliver results with not enough resources, or the occurrence of the unexpected that causes a business to endure stress—positive or negative—is critical to the hiring process and requires the decision maker to be ultra-pragmatic, thorough, and curious.

Transforming the Experience
Working interviews are not a new concept. I’ve seen it work well in some organizations and structures, especially those modeled for the gig, seasonal, and/or contractor positions, to give real-time context to what a day in life would be like. This is a bit trickier with full-time employees with varying labour laws, onboarding, internal costs, etc. Also, taking into consideration that for this part of the workforce, individuals are often leaving a full-time opportunity for a new one, which brings with it a level of risk.

The concept of an extended interview experience over many days is on the rise to showcase the team, company values, mission, and purpose. These discussions include multiple stakeholders from the business with a blend of onsite visits, assessments, panel discussions, side-by-side working time with team members and future leadership, and social time in the community. This is exceptionally effective for those considering a relocation. While this seems almost contradictory to the adoption of AI and virtual interactions, there is a growing trend and demand for people to spend increasingly more time in person and together as a collective group.

Data and tools to support and add context to the decision-making process are essential. Enter AI. The growing access to sophisticated predictive tools is astonishing, almost overwhelming. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some early beta testing of predictive tools that build personas for job descriptions, team member engagement, communication, and behavioral mechanisms that provide an unbiased lens on individual work preferences for the positive perspective of gaining a deeper understanding of someone in a shorter amount of time. Of course, this comes with risk, and it behooves one to consider when things go sideways is when these tools replace the human elements during the final decision process.

I have seen data and tools misused in the process to the point where they became detrimental to an organization’s entire culture. Informed decisions with usable data that tells an accurate story are critical. While AI most certainly has a role, humans should drive the decision. Augment the interview process with the tools only when the power of those capabilities is understood and aligned with the vision.

‘Time kills all deals’ more than ever before. Coordinated, thoughtfully planned, and executed delivery of the interview experience is critical. Avoid lengthy gaps in the process and decision-making fatigue for everyone involved.

AI vs. Human
Will AI replace the human elements of the recruiting process? No. The highly complex process required to make a sound decision on your next hire involves a myriad of steps, checkpoints, and milestones. The tools that we all have access to are excessive. Arguably, the human elements of the heart and mind, which allow for creative and critical thinking, social influence, and curiosity, are lost without the very thing that makes up the heart of any business—its people.