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Minimizing Interview No Shows

July 17, 2011

“Interview No Shows” by candidates is a frustrating experience recruiters go through and often leaves them red faced. Not only the time and effort put in goes for a toss but what is more painful for the recruiter is his competency/credibility gets under the scanner. In case of agency recruiters this could mean even losing the client if this happens more than once.

Although it is not possible to totally eliminate no shows, taking a look at the process and messaging might help in reducing this by a fair bit. Its better to be safe than sorry 🙂

1. Assess candidate interest in the job
It is easy to get excited when you see candidate with right qualifications but if the candidate does not show enough enthusiasm about the opportunity then it is better to move to the next candidate than trying to persuade him. They are potential no shows.

Solution: Have a detailed phone discussion and do not hesitate to deep probe the candidate until you are fairly convinced he understands the role well and is interested in it.

Tip 1: Try to understand the candidates career aspirations, reason for change, salary expectations and any other such pertinent points first and check for the interest quotient.

Tip 2: Explain about the role in detail and ask if the role sounds like a good fit and if there are any gaps. Give a chance to decline to participate in the interview process at the beginning itself.

Tip 3 : Once you share the job details ask either to reply back to your email or call you back with a confirmation (or updated profile). If there is no prompt/sufficient response drop the candidate.

Tip 4 : “Wow” the candidate and see if candidate “wows” you back- Share things that might excite such as career prospects, work culture, projects that they would work on, people they would work with, pay potential, onsite opportunities, working with top clients etc. And see if they try to sell themselves too as a perfect match to your job.

Tip 5: Make a follow up call with in 48hrs to check that the interest levels are intact. At times candidates show interest during initial call but subsequently might have change of heart due to various reasons ( additional research about the company, discussion with friends etc) and decide not to proceed further.

2. Communication is the Key
Often recruiters think that with one phone call and one follow up email/call (with details of interview) their job is done and the candidate will turn up for the interview. Chances are they might not. Candidates might feel lack of interest, lack of knowledge, lack of process clarity and this means they are less engaged in the process.

Solution: All this can be avoided by having a continuous and meaningful communication post the initial call. The goal is to remove as much uncertainty as possible in the interview process.

Tip 1: Provide all necessary details ( job description, company details, growth prospects, interview process etc) in the initial call and again immediately through a follow up email.

Tip 2: Follow up communication is necessary especially if interview is scheduled too soon or too long after the initial interaction.

Tip 3: Interview confirmation should be emailed to the candidate so they have the venue address and time stamp and there are no confusions.

Tip 4: Call or send text messages as reminder a day before and the day of the interview.

Tip 5 : Make it easy for them to call and cancel (or reschedule) in advance of the interview time.

3. Avoid hasty processing
Often either due to eagerness to submit the candidates in a shorter turn around time or anxiety of submitting enough candidates as expected by client, recruiters tend to submit candidates with only surface screening. But when the profiles get shortlisted and interview slots are given they scramble to fetch the availability of the candidates. Such hasty processing will get the recruiters into trouble.

Solution: Start early , screen thoroughly and stay in touch.

Tip 1: Start the sourcing process early so that the candidate has enough time to prepare for the interview and also adjust his calendar or apply leave to make himself available for the interview.
Tip 2: Sourcing the candidates well in time also helps the recruiter to spend more time on screening them thoroughly and drop candidates who do not show enough enthusiasm.

Tip 2: Do not push the candidates for interview: If you know that the candidate prefers a non work day/ work hours interview slot then schedule him during that time only. If the client/hiring manager cannot accommodate such slots then communicate the same to the candidate and drop him. Instead of requesting him to be flexible, let him volunteer to change his schedule and accommodate himself if he is really serious about the job.

Tip 3: Do not commit to interview slots with the client before getting confirmation from the candidate.

4. Interview Prepping
Fear of getting rejected is one of the reasons of no show. Candidates develop got cold feet especially when attending interviews with big companies or interviewing after a long time.

Solution: Let them know why they stand a good chance of getting hired and what you liked about their profile. Give them that confidence. Provide them with tips and suggestions on what to and how to prepare for the interview.

Tip 1: Share with them the market/competitor knowledge, previous interview questions and any information that helps them prepare well for the interview.

Tip 2: Share with them the interviewer details ( role, designation, expectations)

Tip 3: Suggest them the tweaking they need to do in their answers and resume to sound more effective and efficient.

5. Logistics Issues
Often both the candidate and recruiter overlook the logistics issues involved. In such cases although the candidate intended to attend the interview originally he ends up as a no show.

Common logistic issues
• Interview location too far off and the realization dawns on the date of interview
• Unable to locate the interview venue
• Not getting leave since the interview was scheduled at a short notice
• Interview scheduled during work hours and their inability to get off work

Solution: Discuss the logistics issues in detail so that proper planning can be done.

Tip 1: Give as much as possible advance notice about the interview schedule. Do not push for interviews with short notice.

Tip 2: Provide venue address, landmarks, route map and contact persons details. Inform them of possible traffic and parking issues.

Tip 3: Offer them help in terms of locating the venue or information on appropriate commuting means.

Tip 4: Caution them of the danger of getting lost in work and getting delayed for interview in case of attending during work hours.

6. Whats the Big deal about no show?
Candidates do not know the probability of their hiring. So for them it is missing the interview and not missing the job. Hence they see no immediate consequences for being a no show especially when the job market is active.

Solution: Tell them up front about how a “no show” impacts the firm and tell them also the consequences. In many cases talking it out openly helps.

Tip 1: Tell them clearly that if they are a ‘no-show’ interview will not get rescheduled.

Tip2 : Tell them that the interview slots are limited some one else equally deserving looses the opportunity.

Tip 3: Tell them that you would not process them for any other opportunity ever again ( and stick to it)

7. Establish a bond
The recruiter should try to establish a ‘bond’ with the candidate to create a sense of trust and commitment. If the candidate experience is managed well, chances are that the candidate is more likely to attend the interview as scheduled. Stop formal interviewing. Have an informal conversation about them and their ideas. Add them to your LinkedIn profile.

Make them feel that it is not a transaction based interaction but you are more like a career consultant for them and this would be a mutually beneficial long term relation. Move from being a stranger to a friend.

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