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Client Advice

Interview roadblock

By Ashleigh Fitzgerald

There has been an interesting shift in the recruitment process over the last few months, one which all clients need to be made aware of.  

Previously, it was acceptable and seen as being thorough, for a company to ask a prospective candidate to prepare well for the interview process.  For some roles, such as a Marketing Manager or Account Manager, it was not unusual to ask the candidate to prepare a case study / presentation to deliver as part of the interview process.   

This process allowed companies to see how qualified and committed the candidate was to the process and joining their company, whilst also sampling their presentation and sales skills and it’s quite a good advice in a market/ for clients with high levels of candidate applications (mostly on junior positions).  


Interview barriers


What we have noticed in the recent months, however, is that some candidates are simply not prepared to jump through these hoops and go through this process.    

Candidates have turned down such interviews as they would rather accept another job where this type of screening and preparation was not necessary!    

So, the complete reverse has happened, now, asking for a presentation or case study is seen as an interview barrier, and a complete roadblock in some cases.    

On the flipside, it could be argued the over preparation can leave candidates tense, so they appear stiff and rigid and inflexible in their answers.  If they are given too much time to prepare, their overall delivery may seem unnatural and rehearsed.  Answers to interview questions or the flow of a presentation may also seem too perfect.    


How to attract and retain talent?


One suggestion would be to lessen the preparation time involved and rather test the candidate's ability to prepare at short notice.  During the interview it could be possible to build in some "role play" scenario questions. Clients may then see more of the true character of someone from their spontaneous responses.    

We share a practical example where a short window for preparation worked reasonably well, a client requested the candidate to prepare a case study.  The candidate did not hesitate and was ready within 24 hours.  

Feedback from the candidate post presentation was interesting.  The candidate presented to a panel, acting as future clients.  They asked some difficult questions with regards to the specific products and how it differs to other clients products.  These were difficult questions as the candidate had not received any training on the specific product range. The candidate had to think on their feet and rely on their general knowledge on the product and industry.  Had the candidates known this level of product knowledge was needed , they would have researched this in advance.   

It is important therefore, for clients to be mindful of what they want to achieve from the presentation and to be reasonable in their expectations, as the candidates knowledge may be limited to the information available in the public domain, on their website or from the recruiter. 

It is clear, times are changing and so must we, adjustments in the interview process could help you, attract and retain the key staff needed in your business. 

Reach out to our recruitment teams, they would be happy to assist you with your recruitment plans for 2022 and beyond.   

For more information on this topic: 


Written by:   

Ashleigh Fitzgerald, Operations Director, Antal International Network in collaboration from: 

Klaus Lohsen, Managing Partner, Antal Hamburg, Germany 

Jade Pretorius, Executive Recruitment Consultant, Antal South Africa office 




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