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How to avoid “no shows” at interviews

“Our 2pm interview hasn’t shown up”. This is a phrase that drives recruitment consultants and recruitment managers nuts and generally involves us calling the candidate like a crazy person trying to figure out if they are ok or if they have been involved in a car accident. I personally get really frustrated when people “no show” because of the time it takes to review resumes, complete phone interviews and then finally arrange an interview with clients. In speaking with other recruiters, it seems that no shows are becoming more common and frequent across many industries.

As a recruiter, I am often left asking myself “why don’t people show up to interviews?” One possible reason is when there a delay in the recruitment process. Sometimes in the recruitment process, things take longer than we think they will or should and the longer the recruitment process takes the higher the rate of no shows for interviews. We need to remember that job seekers are looking for a job – so they usually don’t just apply for one position and are likely to accept the first and best offer made to them. Another reason for “no shows” that pops into my mind is the mandatory job applications for Centrelink, I don’t know about you but when we post advertisements for positions requiring qualifications at least half of all applicants are not qualified and in my opinion, apart from overly ambitious candidates this leads back to Centrelink requiring people to apply for a set number of jobs (about 20 per month) to continue to receive unemployment benefits. It just wastes time for the recruitment consultants and managers, and also can damage the candidate’s confidence because they cannot seem to find a job or get an interview which doesn’t help their chances of gaining employment.

So, what can we do to try to avoid having no shows? Firstly, ensure you have a robust and effective screening process. We like to use behavioural questions in our screening process to help understand if the candidate actually has experience in the key requirements of the role. Secondly, a reality check also helps, have a frank discussion about what they are looking for like culture fit and salary expectations.  And finally, on the day, I always make sure I touch base with candidates and wishing them luck for their interviews. This has a two-fold effect, firstly it helps build the relationship with the candidate but secondly it helps keep you informed if they do have a change of heart and are not planning on showing up to the interview. Another strategy is to ensure you communicate with your candidates if the recruitment process is taking longer than initially planned.

Sometimes we get the excuse that something has come up like a “last minute emergency” so candidates want to reschedule. I understand that sometimes life happens and appreciate the notice that they won’t be attending however, my opinion is that if someone wants a job badly enough, they will do everything make it happen. The question also needs to be asked, if they can’t show up to their interview, how will they go showing up to work every day?

As frustrating as “no shows” can be, I still go by the philosophy of treat others as you would like to be treated and think that for the most part, if I respect my candidates and keep the communication lines open, they will give respect back and communicate if they do have a change of heart or better offer.

 

Written by WCR Consultant Sarah Hutchinson.

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