Interview “no shows” can damage the reputation of the recruiting team, causing hiring managers to lose faith and disengage with the hiring process. No shows can be costly in terms of lost interviewer work time and transit time if they have traveled to the interview location. But, is there anything that firms can do to minimize the number of no shows? Yes, although you can’t eliminate this altogether, you can reduce the chance of them occurring with the following steps.
1. Gauge the candidate’s true interest in the job. Employers/recruiters can get excited when they see a perfect candidate but these perfect candidates are likely to have other options and so you should carefully gauge his/her interest and make sure to sell the virtues of the company. You should also take time to assess whether the candidate is genuinely interested in the company—a sign could be a highly tailored resume and cover letter—before inviting the person for an interview. A lack of an individualized approach to candidates’ applications could indicate they are ‘scatter gunning’ employers which means they have less individual commitment to one employer, making them a real ‘no show’ risk.
You can do this kind of probing before first round shortlisting or during first interview.
2. Make sure your hiring process has momentum, clarity and certainty. If the hiring process experiences delays, is drawn out and the candidate is uncertain about how long it will take for them to progress through the process, the hiring process will be susceptible to ‘no shows’. Why? Because candidates may become distracted by other opportunities or may lose interest and decide to stay put. Make sure your hiring process has momentum and that key milestones are mapped out early on. This keeps candidates engaged and motivated.
3. Make the candidate feel special by only interviewing a select few. If you get a reputation for interviewing large numbers of candidates at first interview stage, candidates may feel their chances of being selected for 2nd round are slim, increasing the chance of a no show. Focus on small select shortlists of around four candidates and let the candidates know this. This will make them feel more accountable, more likely to progress and therefore much less likely to be a no show.
4. Avoid last minute scheduling conflicts. Busy professionals can often be affected by last minute commitments from their current job which can prevent them from attending a scheduled interview, putting them at high risk of no show. Where possible, give employed professionals the option to interview flexibly at evenings, mornings or weekends. This could also minimize no shows.
5. Sell the business and role to the candidate. In today’s marketplace employer branding is key. Top candidates have other options and will favour companies with strong employer brand offerings. So, prior to the interview, during 1st interview and between interview, make sure that you are constantly delivering the message about the positive aspects of the company brand and offering and the engaging aspects of the role. This will minimize no shows for first or second interview
6. Make it easy for the candidates. You can make it easier for potential workers to cancel, postpone or reschedule the interview in advance of the interview time by emailing them multiple contacts points. And also, send automated email reminders a few days before interview and the day before interview. This minimizes unscheduled no shows and give you time to make alternative arrangements.
Interestingly, many of the suggestions to minimize no shows represent good hiring best practices in general, but if you are experiencing a lot of interview no shows, focusing on these areas specifically will help to address this particular problem.