interviewreduce no shows

Stop Interview Cancellations: Reduce Them With These 9 Great Tips

Stop Interview CancellationsThe hiring process involves many steps.  

A hiring manager needs to first draft a job post that will attract the most qualified and desirable applicants.  From there, a manager must go through dozens (or in some cases, hundreds) of cover letters and resumes.  From there, a manager can sort through Yes, No and Maybe applicants and the beat goes on…

Eventually a manager lands with a number of scheduled interviews.  

Sometimes the interviews are scheduled in blocks, where one candidate will follow another.  Interviews are sometimes scheduled sporadically due to schedule conflicts of hiring manager and other supervisors.  

No matter how the interviews are scheduled, an interview cancellation or no show is an incredibly frustrating experience for any hiring manager.

When you consider all the time spent leading up to an interview, a no show means more than just a missed opportunity to meet.  It is a waste of time, money and effort.  

Here at Proven, we find that arguably the #1 complaint of hiring managers is no shows.  

Going into your next hiring adventure, we want to arm you with the tools to ensure that you get minimal no shows. We compiled this list of advice in order to do so.  

 1.  Build a personal relationship.  A good practice for hiring managers is to first make a personal phone call to the applicant.  If you are impressed by a candidate, give them a call and ask them some preliminary questions.  Ask them about points on their resume or about their undergraduate experience.  This approach allows two important things to happen.  Firstly, this can be considered a kind of “preliminary interview” for you to get a feel for the candidate.  If the phone call goes terribly you don’t necessarily need to invite the candidate in for a face-to-face interview.  Secondly, this gives the candidate a personal touch from you, the hiring manager.  This may make a candidate feel a little more comfortable before coming into an actual interview.  

2.  Describe the interview process to them.  Let your applicant know what to expect.  Inform them as to how long the interview is expected to take.  Tell them who they will be meeting and interviewing with throughout the process.  This gives the candidate a clearer picture of what is going to happen and it offers her a chance to prepare. 

3.  Communicate details thoroughly.  This is somewhat an extension of the last point.  Tell the candidate the address, where to find parking and maybe even the dress code!  Interviewing can be a terribly nerve-wracking process for many applicants.  This can ease some of the more detail-oriented worries associated with interviewing.  

4.  Interview sooner rather than later.  When you are ready to interview a candidate (or several candidates) choose an interview date this is close!  Don’t allow two weeks to pass by.  The candidate may find another job in that time.  If you feel drawn to an applicant, make your best effort to get an interview going ASAP.  

5.  Send a calendar invite.  When the interview is scheduled and agreed upon by both yourself and the candidate, send along a calendar invitation.  Applicants are constantly on-the-go.  If they have an interview scheduled in their calendars (on their smartphones), they will be reminded of the interview.  The calendar invitation is just another reminder.  This also will greatly reduce the excuse of “I forgot” or “I thought it was next Thursday”.   

6.  Stick to the scheduled time.  We know that stuff happens.  However, once you have your interview date and time scheduled, we recommend trying your best to stick to it.  An applicant may get the impression that you are being flakey and/or not taking the interview process seriously.  In return, they may also decided not to take it seriously either!

7.  Have a policy!  Before the next time you hire, take some time to consider (really consider) what is important to you in a candidate.  Is a no show a complete dealbreaker for you? Do you have a 24 hour cancellation policy? Communicate this policy to an applicant.  This extra step makes  your expectations clear.  If an applicant really wants the job, she will make sure to adhere to your policies

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8.  Be flexible.  Be flexible in scheduling the interview in the first place.  Allow a candidate to cancel or reschedule rather than to no show.  If you are clear about how inconvenient a no show is, a candidate is more likely to be open and forthright about actually canceling should another opportunity arise. 

 9.  Be upfront.  This is possibly the most important point of all.  As a hiring manager, you are no stranger to this process.  Be upfront with a candidate.  Get an idea of whether they are applying elsewhere, if they have a promising prospect or if they are just starting out on their application process.  This gives you both an opportunity to be honest about your wants, needs and expectations going forward.  


We believe that, in following these guidelines, you will greatly reduce your chances of interview cancellations and no shows.  However, remember that it still could (and will!) happen.  Sometimes a no show is a blessing in disguise.  You do not want to find out that a candidate is flakey once they are already working at your company.  Consider this next time you experience a no show.  

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Caileen Kehayas

Caileen is the Director of Marketing at Proven. When she is not blogging or tweeting, she likes to hit the nearest trail for a run, take her camera on a trip or curl up with a good book.

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