Insights into our work: The limits of artificial intelligence in executive search - a conversation with Dr. Edgar Kirchmann

The role of artificial intelligence in executive search is becoming increasingly important. How do you see the balance between human expertise and technological innovation in this area?

Dr. Kirchmann: That is indeed a crucial question. Artificial intelligence undoubtedly has enormous potential in executive search. It enables us to analyze data efficiently and recognize patterns. But despite all these technological advances, there are limits. The human touch, empathy and the subtle ability to read between the lines are crucial. In the executive world, it's often the nuanced details that make the difference.

That sounds like a complex challenge. Where exactly do you see the specific areas where human expertise is indispensable?

Dr. Kirchmann: One of the crucial areas is the assessment of soft skills and cultural fit. AI can analyze data, but it cannot replicate empathy. Personal chemistry, emotional intelligence and cultural adaptability play a crucial role in the search for managers. Human intuition is also required for contextual understanding, a deeper understanding of the candidate's individual story and how they fit into a particular organization.


Are there also ethical concerns in connection with AI in executive search?

Dr. Kirchmann: Absolutely. The risk of prejudice and bias in the data on which AI is based is real. Algorithms can unconsciously reproduce discrimination and lead to bias. The human factor is crucial here. Experienced consultants can consciously tackle bias and advocate for diversity and inclusion to ensure objective and fair decision-making.

How does TRANSEARCH deal with this challenge?

Dr. Kirchmann: At TRANSEARCH, we rely on the synergy between human expertise and AI support. Our TRANSEARCH Orxestra® method, combined with the creative thinking and ethical responsibility of our consultants, enables us to find first-class leaders who are not only outstanding in their field, but also embody the values and goals of our clients. Furthermore, the continuous exchange of knowledge within our team is of utmost importance. We keep abreast of current issues and developments in order to meet the changing demands of the market and the environment.

And, of course, we are always trying out new technical innovations. The idea for this interview came about when I asked ChatGPT about the limits of AI in executive search - and ChatGPT was quite honest about them.

The future of executive search will be a fascinating blend of human wisdom and technological innovation. The trick is to keep these elements in perfect balance while always maintaining the values and integrity that TRANSEARCH stands for.

Dr. Edgar Kirchmann is recognized as an outstanding search professional with more than 15 years of experience in executive search. He focuses on senior level positions in sales and marketing, research and development, services, infrastructure, supply chain, human resources, and general management. Most of his searches are executed for international clients through global master agreements. Edgar started his executive search career in 1999, when he was asked to join an executive search group. In 2013, he joined TRANSEARCH as an International Partner.

Edgar’s previous management experience includes nearly 10 years at Asea Brown Boveri (ABB), where he started as an assistant to the management board. In his final position, he was the youngest CEO of a subsidiary across the group.

In parallel, he became a Master of Science in eBusiness. Edgar has written numerous internationally accredited publications on the topics of human resources management, organizational development, and innovation management. He is a member of the board of Rotary.

View profile

  • Share