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AI Interview Questions: Why They Matter and How to Use Them

If you’re fortunate enough to be hiring right now, you should be looking for employees who not only embrace AI, but use it as competitive advantage. Let me explain why this is important and how you can incorporate an AI component into your hiring process.


Why it’s important


Customer Value

There are lots of excellent off the shelf solutions readily available to integrate into your business that will enhance the experience you deliver your customers. I’ll share a recent personal example.


I recently used WIX to set up a website. Using WIX’s AI features, I described what type of website I was building, and WIX used AI to produce the layouts of all the pages I’d need. Then within the WIX interface, I used prompts to write the content for the site that kept in mind WIX-recommended keywords that would enhance the site's SEO.


Was any of this revolutionary, developed ground up by WIX? Probably not. But they identified a user need, deployed plug and play tools, and instantly delivered customer value.


The takeaway here is that companies need employees who stay informed as to what tools are available for quick integrations that unlock customer value.


Productivity

Candidates well-versed in AI outproduce their peers, handling tasks with efficiency that would typically require multiple people. They streamline processes and get more done in less time, essentially boosting the team's overall productivity. Karim Lakhani, a Harvard Business School Professor focused on Management and Technology said it best in a recent interview:

"AI is not going to replace humans, but humans with AI are going to replace humans without AI."


Ripple Effect

When companies onboard someone who understands and actively uses AI, their knowledge ripples across the organization. This is especially true when those individuals are placed in cross functional roles like operations, product management, and customer success. Their expertise spreads across teams and departments, fostering an environment of learning and innovation. This not only elevates the skills of those around them, but also cultivates a forward-thinking company culture.


AI Interview Questions to start using

Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you why it’s important to assess AI abilities in an interview. Now, all you need to do is add a few questions into your interview toolkit (which every interviewer should have) that give the candidate an opportunity to share their experience with AI. Here are a number of suggested questions you can choose from, some of which put an AI-spin on questions you might already be asking:


Familiarity

  1. How do you determine when a task or process is a good candidate for AI integration? What types of tasks are not good candidates?

  2. The interviewer can give the candidate a real situation they might encounter in the role, and ask how they might implement an AI to add value.

  3. How have you used AI outside of work?


Personally, I’d avoid asking candidates what tools they use. You might get someone who can rattle off a plethora of names they read in an article. Or you might get someone who is deeply familiar with one tool. In my opinion, neither answer provides much insight, especially since new tools are becoming available on a weekly basis.


Continuous Learning

  1. Tell me about a time you taught yourself how to use a new AI tool or feature. How did you go about it?

  2. Think of an achievement from your past work. How could that project or task have been improved with the use of AI today?

  3. What is one area of AI you want to learn more about?


Responsibility

  1. How would you ensure that an AI system remains under control and doesn’t lead to unintended consequences?

  2. How do you ensure that while leveraging AI, the human touch of your function isn't lost?

  3. How do you handle skepticism or resistance to AI from other team members or departments?


What to listen for

Remember, interviewing is fundamentally about attentive listening. Pay close attention to the nuances in a candidate's response. If you're open to it, consider using an AI-supported interview recorder to free you of the note-taking burden while still being able to reference the conversation later on.


An ideal candidate is not just someone who is adept at using AI; they're excited about it. Their enthusiasm will show when you bring up the subject, and it's this eagerness that can be a strong indicator of their interest in leveraging AI for business growth.


At the same time, be wary of those who oversell AI's capabilities. Generative AI is magical, but it's not magic. An individual's reasoning should be well-anchored in what's practically achievable and what delivers tangible value to your organization.


Above all, prioritize a candidate's intellectual curiosity and critical thinking when it comes to using new AI tools. There are new advancements in AI every week. Organizations will benefit from having employees who stay informed about new advancements and can jump on the opportunity to harness their power. After all, if your organization doesn’t seize the opportunity, another one will.


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