How Employers Can Prevent Interview No Shows

How Employers Can Prevent Interview “No-Shows”

As an employer, when you advertise for openings in your organization, your aim is to hire new and competent hands to join your team. The last stage of many recruitment processes is an interview, either one-on-one or virtual. Once you have sent invites for an interview, you, an outsourcing company or the HR department of your company prepare questions for a personal assessment of the candidates and any other thing to make the meeting comfortable and successful. So, it can be disheartening when interviewees do not show up after all has been said and done. It alters the plan you have already laid out, and leads to a waste of time and resources. The person that failed to show up might have made a good member of your team.


Sadly, a “no show” might mean starting the recruitment process all over again in search of a new candidate. It also presents a new set of decisions to make: Does this mean the candidate is no longer interested? Should we contact this candidate to know what happened or wait for feedback? Should we disqualify them and continue with the hiring process? But we really think this candidate is qualified. Should we follow up and reschedule? Getting stood up can be embarrassing and annoying and whilst you think the interviewee that failed to show up did not exhibit professionalism, a “no show” especially when it happens more than once is a sign for the company’s recruitment team to go back to the drawing board and find out what could be wrong.

There are many reasons why an interviewee might miss an interview. For many job seekers, getting an interview invite is a big step and so they will not intentionally ghost an interview. Getting to know the reasons why a candidate did not show up for a scheduled interview will influence your next line of action and make it easier for the hiring team to prevent it from happening again. Reasons for a no-show include accidents or a last-minute change of plans that didn’t give them enough time to notify you. Missing an interview doesn’t always mean that they are unprofessional and not qualified for the role. Time and unforeseen occurrences happen to everyone, even you as an employer or recruiter. There are cases where it’s a company that does a last-minute rescheduling of interviews. When you remember that candidates are humans like you too, it will help you choose the best ways for handling a no-show. However, in the best interest of both parties, it is always best to prevent a no-show from happening.


How do you prevent interview “no-shows” from happening? We are here to help. Look at these tips we have come up with to make sure that you have an interviewee sitting right across the table from you.

  • Set Expectations: Be upfront with your candidates. Explain what the role entails, the salary expectations, and other factors that influence a job seeker’s decision. Ask them what they think about working with the company and what attracted them. Send an email or talk them through what the recruitment process requires. If they do not show enough interest that matches your expectations, then it might not really be necessary to schedule an interview.
  • Divide Your Recruitment Process Into Stages: The interview is usually the last stage of a recruitment process. It is designed that way to give you ample room to build a relationship with candidates with whom you have recognized the potential. When a candidate goes through and passes assessments and online tests before reaching the interview stage, it increases the chances of coming for an interview when invited. A detailed recruitment process ensures that you vet your candidates prior to in-person interviews, conduct background searches, and build a relationship with those you are interested in. This will help you weed out the unserious from the serious. However, do not let so much time pass between stages of your recruitment. Remember that time is of the essence. If you waste too much time, then you might lose your potential candidates to another employer. Once you are left with a good crop of candidates, you are assured that they will show up for an interview unless something out of their control happens. Even then, you can follow up and reschedule. 
  • Ensure that You Are Polite at Every Stage of the Recruitment: If your recruitment process involves a prior meeting with candidates before an interview, maybe during assessments, screening, or a boot camp, treat them courteously. First impression matters. Candidates like everyone else would like to be treated kindly. If the hiring team talks down on them at any point of the recruitment process, then they might likely lose interest in carrying on to the interview stage. This is because they have gotten the impression that the company will not treat them well even when they are hired.
  • Communication: Maintain the line of communication with candidates. Use every medium possible – email, text message, or even phone calls – to keep them informed at every stage of the recruitment process. Do not let the communication line grow cold. If you do not communicate, a candidate wouldn’t be wrong to conclude that they don’t have an opportunity. Imagine a scenario where a candidate sends in an application and gets no reply for three months. Then out of the blues, you send an email scheduling an interview. A lot can happen within the time you are incommunicado – a candidate must have moved on with their lives, probably gotten another job. If your interview email finally comes, it might be difficult for them to make out time from their schedule because they were not expecting it. This is the main reason that leads to no shows. Constant feedback with candidates assures them that you still have them in mind. Send them a message to acknowledge receipt of their application. If going through the applications received is going to take a lot of time, inform them too. Inform them on the progress of their application, the next steps, and the timeline so they can be in expectation. When you finally decide on the interview date, send them a reminder a day or two days to the day. Make your communication with them a two-way street. It shouldn’t be one-sided, coming from just your end. To make sure that the messages reach them, you can ask them to confirm receipt and affirm that they will be at the interview and to give feedback if there is any valid reason why they cannot make it.
  • Involve Candidates in the Scheduling Decision: As we have already pointed out, a majority of candidates already have a busy schedule. In as much as they want to work for you, they need to be diplomatic when trying to get permission from their current place of work. It requires smartness, time, and patience. Don’t expect them to put all their eggs in one basket by putting in a resignation where they work and coming for an interview. So involve them in the decision-making. There must be a specific day of the week and time that would be convenient for them. Try sending your candidates a questionnaire to help you determine the best time to fix an interview. You can also provide them with different time slots so they can choose what works best for them. 
  • Be Flexible: It’s the 21stcentury and with the help of technology, companies and organizations are embracing flexibility. After communicating with your candidates, find out if adopting flexible methods could make it easier for them to show up for the interview. If the commute is going to be hectic, can you conduct the interview online through Zoom or Skype? If their schedule is tight, could you move the interview to the weekend?
  • Ask For Feedback: You can easily do this through a questionnaire you attach to an email. Find out why candidates do not show up. Do not make them feel at fault for not attending the interview. The purpose of the email is not to give their conscience a flogging. You could give them options to choose from to make it easier to get specific answers and collate information easily. For example, you could ask, “Was the timing not right for you?” “Have you gotten another offer?” “Was there a medical emergency?” Also, try to get feedback from those who attended the interview to know what they felt should have been done better. Feedback will help you better the interview experience for your candidates.


Final Thoughts

A no-show can put a damper on your plans, costing you time and resources. We want you to hire the best hands and have a smooth hiring process. Going through the tips in this article, apart from helping you decide if the no-shows are your fault, will also aid you in improving the hiring experience of your company and preventing no-shows from happening.

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