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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 🙂

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.

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 ?

Teaching Vs Learning

October 27, 2010 1 comment

In last 2 days I had two instances when I remembered the now-famous movie 3 idiots ( a Hindi movie talking about/ questioning the current methods of education & teaching).

The first one was when i was interviewing a candidate for the position of research analyst-trainee. The candidate , an MBA in finance with statistics & economics as electives, from a reputed college, talked about economy & showcased his vocabulary full of Jargon. It was quite impressive.

Midway through, I asked him what he knew about inflation ?  He gave me a long explanation and finally concluded that higher inflation meant higher prices while lower inflation meant lower prices. He was absolutely sure that a lower inflation meant prices were going down. After a discussion that was going nowhere, i gave up. I tried again and asked him what was meant by real interest rate. I just wanted to understand if he was able to relate our earlier discussion with this. He took me on a tangent & talked about how compounding worked and how the real interest rate was nothing buy the effective yield. The candidate was extremely confident & probably was under the impression that confidence & common sense were interchangeable.

The second instance was an interview with a Economics graduate (pursuing Master’s in Economics). Excellent communication, great confidence  but almost nil practical knowledge. One of the panel members asked her why prices go up in general. she was shocked and mumbled that she had not brushed up her concepts before coming to the interview. My friend was gentle & tried to help her by suggesting if there was any relationship between demand, supply & prices. ” Of course there was. Prices went up when demand increases. err… i think it is the other way. oh i can’t remember. we studied this in our first year ” . I asked her to give up the remembering part & to just try to think logically. She said her macro-economics was weak . I finally had to ask her as to why she chose Economics as a stream. She said she could not get admitted in science stream and she was told that economics was next best.

These are not two isolated instances where such situations present themselves. This is not even related to career counselling or choice of subjects., it is more to do with ability to enquire and about logical thinking processes.

I wonder if we are growing a crop of graduates & post-graduates who study to pass exams only? They are not encouraged to ask or to think while studying. By the time they want to choose a career, their thinking capacity is dead.

Many of them end up in routine jobs where they are encouraged NOT to think & to just follow instructions.  Their colleges are happy that their placement season was successful. What will these people grow up to be ? what sort of children will they bring up ?

Am I trying to exaggerate and hype up the issue ? You just need to look around & see that the issue is much deep-rooted than what we imagine it to be.  We are becoming slaves to degrees.

Of course there are brilliant minds & there are excellent institutions but then, they are very few compared to the numerous others who churn out degree holders.

The big question then is,  Are our institutions & teachers focusing so much on teaching that they become a barrier to learning ?

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