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Minimizing Interview No Shows

July 17, 2011 Comments off

“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 ūüôā

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
‚ÄĘ Interview location too far off and the realization dawns on the date of interview
‚ÄĘ Unable to locate the interview venue
‚ÄĘ Not getting leave since the interview was scheduled at a short notice
‚ÄĘ 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 ‚Äúno show‚ÄĚ 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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5 point checklist for SME hiring

July 3, 2011 1 comment

This is my 5 point checklist for hiring for a small business. Essential points you should keep in mind if you own an SME/ Start-up and are looking to hire initial few employees and the next few. This list should complement your functional screening.

  • Hire people who want to work with you – Look for people who want to work with you, who feel confident about your abilities and who share your dream. ¬†Avoid people who want to work because you have a premium address, or because they feel they can learn by working with you (look for self-learners) ¬†or because you have got funded etc. These people will be there to share the pleasures but ditch at the first sign of pain.
  • Look for people whose aspirations match yours. Aspirations are like shoes. Too big a shoe is loose and uncomfortable, too small, it pinches and is unwearable.
  • People who can pull your venture & team forward rather than those who will drag you back. Avoid those, who need to be motivated to deliver. You don’t need people who will themselves become problems rather than solutions. Do they have the drive like you to make things work or will they get bogged down by the seemingly¬†insurmountable everyday¬†problems ?
  • Experience ¬†or Attitude ?- Go for attitude. You can always teach skills as long as you have the right attitude and basic capabilities. Experience is a double-edged sword. Experienced professionals can get you off the block faster. At the same time, too much experience may block new ideas. They may end up doing the same things which they did in their¬†previous¬†jobs.
  • Culture fit – what sort of organisation do you want to build ? free-flowing & fun-loving, highly disciplined professional, fast moving & flexible, process driven & strict. If you are clear on this, make sure you evaluate every prospective employee for this.¬† A culture misfit can give you more headaches than anything else and can be disruptive.
What are the things you keep in mind when hiring for a small business ?

10 career suicide tips

June 4, 2011 Comments off

What a topic to take up on a weekend. Certain instances in last week have prompted me to write this post. As usual, the trigger point has been conversations with some candidates.  It is surprising as to how a large number of people unconsciously keep committing acts which side track their careers.

Here are some pointers which every employee should be conscious about (unless you have the self-destructive tendencies)

Tip #1 – Can’t stay at one place ?- ¬†The best way to make your CV look like a travelogue is to keep hopping jobs every year or even sooner if you can manage that. Mobility after all is the way to go. and you can’t understand why that should be an issue with the next prospective employer?

Tip #2– The aimless wanderer – It takes some time for order to emerge out of chaos. I also hope to make sense of the meandering career that i have had till now. What do you mean there is no direction in what i am doing ? the dots will connect somewhere, sometime. Hello? . Hello…

Tip #3-¬†Don’t¬†research before you leap –

  • What they told me in the interview was different from the role they gave me later
  • I did not know the company was in trouble
  • I am not the start-up kind. i thought they were already established.

Tip #4– i know more than my boss, every time, all the time – it can happen once, twice may be. if it happens every time, you are really the chosen one . Your bosses don’t seem to know a thing. You just can’t agree with their decisions & thoughts. You make every effort to prove your point at every available opportunity. ¬†Way to go. which way?

Tip #5 Рi am the know-all. I finished my education when i did my professional course 10 years back. I have worked enough to know everything about my domain & my industry. My company will train me if they feel i need more skills. Where is the need to spend time reading books, attending seminars, Browsing & checking out new developments or to take that certification course ?

Tip #6Рmy knowledge is my property no sharing allowed. I have worked hard to gather this knowledge, do you think i will let you benefit from it ? Go do it yourself.  Why should someone what to know what i do & how i do it ? I will protect my domain till my last breath.

Tip #7– Complacency is my hallmark. I am comfortable with what I do. ¬†A bit too comfortable to venture out of my cubicle. Don’t expect me to take up new¬†challenges, initiatives, ¬†and responsibilities. The only stretching i know is what i do at the gym.

Tip #8– I trust you to promote me. won’t you let the senior people know how well i am doing ? i am too modest to talk about my achievements, my colleagues in the office do it for me.I am sure my boss always puts in a positive word about me. I only wonder why nobody¬†recognizes¬†me in spite of ¬†all my good work.

Tip #9 -My charisma will cover-up my incompetence. Not everyone is perfect. So what if ¬†I messed up the last deal.¬†OK, we lost that client last month. only 3 of my 4 projects are pending. But you know, i was the person chosen to take the CEO around when he visited the regional office. I make all arrangements for every office party. I have a tab on everything that happens in this office. That’s¬†my network.

Tip # 10– Too busy to take care of ¬†my Health. I slog & spend more time in office than at home, 7 days a week. have no time to take care of my body. had to take frequent medical breaks last year. Looks like i need a longer one this year.I hope my company will understand. Don’t be surprised, this is an increasingly popular road to finish.

These are just some of them. From your experiences, feel free to add more.

10 warning signals to drop a candidate

May 28, 2011 1 comment

Your most promising candidate drops out at the last moment. The short-listed candidate refuses to go for an interview. you are frustrated that your candidate just does not talk to you.

These and many other such instances are commonplace in the life of a recruiter. Every candidate gives you enough signs to tell you when he has lost interest in the opportunity that you are discussing with him. (male pronoun is being used throughout this post to represent both male as well as female candidates).  It is vital to read such signs as early as possible to avoid a heart-break at a later/final stage.

Here is  a list of 10 such signals based on my experience.

Signal #1 Р the candidate listens to you every-time you call ( and this has happened 3-4 times already) & asks you to call back after a day. Either the candidate is too slow to grasp or too indecisive or a procrastinator, all of which you may want to avoid in a candidate.

Signal #2 Р After repeated discussions, the candidate does not remember which profile you had discussed with him and wants you to go through the details again. A common explanation is that he has been talking to many consultants for a number of positions and does not remember which position he discussed with you. What ?

Signal #3 – Does not take your call & does not respond to your emails & text messages. Wake up my friend, the candidate is seriously not interested or is just sick of your calls. Of course, if the candidate had mentioned this in the first call, you would not have pestered him so much.

Signal #4 Р is busy every time you call him, does not give any specific time for you to call,  promises to call back all the time & never calls back. Do you really think this person will have time to attend the interview if shortlisted? Forget it.

Signal #5 – does not send his profile after promising to send ” within next 30 minutes” half a dozen times. He is probably not looking for a change . Most certainly he is not interested in the change that you are proposing.

Signal #6 – ¬†is interested in that sales profile but wants it to be near his house ( or gives such similar contradictory reasons for other roles). Self-explanatory. Isn’t it ?

Signal #7 – ¬†is interested in a profile but can’t travel too far ( within same city) to attend the interview, a variant of this is the candidate who keeps asking you to reschedule the interview for one reason or other and is too casual about the whole process. You can either keep such candidates or keep your client.

Signal #8 Р is unduly rude and impolite and treats you badly. If a candidate cannot reciprocate respect, he does not deserve you (unless of course money comes above self-respect on your list.

Signal #9 – claims to be the top performer, the do-all, highly decorated employee and yet is unable to justify the low remuneration level or the reason for change or the multiple gaps in the profile. Even more inexplicable cases are of such 5-star performers who leave jobs before you can say – candidate.

One of my conversation with a candidate went like this

iHR – why did you leave when you were doing so well ?

Star candidate (SC)  РI wanted 2 weeks leave. they did not allow me, so I left them

iHR – Why would a company do like to this to a star performer? You mentioned that you beat all your targets, you must be a valuable employee.

SC – They gave a better bonus to my colleague who is doing less than me. and when i asked for leave, they told me i had not done enough.

iHR – That should not be a problem, i am sure such a big organisation will have a good MIS & performance appraisal system. You can always prove what you have done.

SC – Nah, the MIS is all wrong and ¬†had a fight with my boss about this as it is showing me at the bottom…

You know where it is leading to. Thank you so much.

Signal #10 РThis is a serious one. Drop any candidate who does not seem alright in terms of integrity. There will be candidate who be willing to walk out on their existing employer, candidates who would request you not to mention certain details ( that they discussed with you about their job)  in your note to the client, candidates who cannot give convincing answers to glaring inconsistencies in their profile etc. There will be many such signs which a recruiter picks more by instinct. Recruiting is like match-making. It is not a transaction. would you ever want to suggest a candidate who would be a bad match ?

Are there any other signs that have made you decide to drop a candidate.  Feel free to share.

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