13.03.2018

Will AI become a substitute for a job interview?

AI has been billed as the technology that will eliminate the need for recruiters and potentially even replace a job interviewer! Well there’s no doubting its value in profiling candidates and sifting through CVs, but can it really efficiently act as a substitute for a job interview? We argue not, as this blog outlines.

AI can be very useful when profiling a large pool of candidates. Apart from identifying potential talent, it can also be used to remove bias automatically. That’s all fine when there’s a glut of talent, but it won’t solve the problem of finding new candidates in the first place when they’re in short supply. This is the problem we as tech recruitment specialists are faced with on a daily basis. And it also does nothing to widen the existing available talent pool.

The big issue when it comes to improving organisational diversity by eliminating bias, is to identify a way to successfully recruit from beyond the same, obvious talent pool of candidates. Recruiters can do this more effectively than AI, by using their personal relationships and encouraging candidates from outside the normal candidate pool to go for jobs where they don’t necessarily tick all the person specification boxes, but are otherwise very highly qualified and could do the role very well. There really is no substitute for the human touch.

Recruiters not AI will play an essential role in improving diversity

The following example highlights why recruiters will continue to play an essential role and demonstrates the importance of the human touch in encouraging more diverse candidates to apply.


Our candidate, let’s call her Jane, qualified with a degree in law. She was working in central London as a legal and commercial manager and wanted to move away from law and relocate to Bristol. She expressed an interest in a position within the procurement team at one of the universities in the city, hoping to use this as a springboard into a project role within the organisation. The advertised role required procurement experience and CIPS qualifications. Although highly professionally qualified in law and project management, Jane did not obviously fulfil all the selection criteria. However, we recognised she would be a great fit with the recruiting organisation and convinced the organisation to meet with her. She was shortlisted for interview and subsequently offered an alternative role as a commercial project manager within their new project task force, where she has since delivered a highly successful, systems based project and changed the way the university transacts with its entire supply chain.

AI would not have spotted that Jane was a good fit with the organisation, despite her not ticking all of the boxes in the original specification. AI would also have had no knowledge of either the university or candidate’s strategic plans to suggest a meeting. It would have picked up on the candidate’s organisational skills and other qualifications, but not her transferable skills, relationship management capabilities, ambitions, and also, the extent to which she would be good fit for the existing team.

Can AI replace recruiters in job interviews? Ultimately, clients need to work with a skilled recruiter who knows the organisation’s goals and objectives; experts who can help form a role and its requirements. Although AI can match a person with a fully formed specification, it cannot help and advise on how to plan and recruit for specific challenges. It’s better to identify a candidate with the right attitude and skills than use a machine to perfectly match a CV. The ‘person factor’ is everything, particularly in a changing industry. AI can speed up the initial search process, but it cannot match the value created by good personal relationships.

To discuss your recruitment requirements please contact Rob Johnson by emailing robj@global-resourcing.com.

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