Effective Ways to Handle Interview No-Shows

Effective Ways to Handle Interview No-Shows

Recruiters often feel frustrated when a potential candidate does not show up for a scheduled interview. Interviewees bailing out at the last minute creates a lot of additional work for the human resources or HR department or for headhunters.

In some cases, the applicant may have a legitimate reason for not attending the interview. It is also possible that the hiring company could have something to do with the no-shows. Let an experienced MENA recruitment consultant tackle some of the potential causes of a no-show along with tips for reducing their numbers.

Unattractive terms

Technology allows applicants to send their resumes or CVs to hundreds of companies at the same time. Skilled applicants may receive several invitations, with yours being only one of them. Most applicants will move forward with these applications to see which company has the best offer.

It is possible that, along the way, the applicant discovers something about your company or the job that no longer fits their needs or preferences. It could be the compensation package, the workload, travel requirements, or the company culture, among others. Factors such as these could deter the candidate from pushing through with the application.


Lack of time

Some of the applications your company receives may be from candidates who are currently employed. It would be challenging for them to fit the interview into their current schedule. In some cases, they may not be able to get time off to attend the interview.

Several applicants may not want to risk losing their present job for an opportunity that has no guarantees. The result is a potential no-show.

Last-minute changes

Anything can happen between the time the schedule for the applicant’s interview was arranged and the actual meeting itself. The applicant’s vehicle may have broken down on the way to the meeting and they spent the day looking for a mechanic to get repairs done. Perhaps the person had to rush back home or go to the hospital because of an emergency.

Applicants who are genuinely interested will let you know that they regret missing their appointment and will ask to be reconsidered. Candidates who are genuinely interested in applying for a position will have the courtesy to get in touch with the HR department, hoping to reschedule.

How to get applicants to come to the scheduled interview

Thanks to technology and the current job market, applicants are faced with more career opportunities and options than ever before. The job application process is a delicate dance. Keep in mind that your company also needs to do its part to get applicants to sit down for the interview.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Build a professional relationship

Establishing a relationship may seem tedious, but it is a necessary step in ensuring that they will come to the interview. Use the recruitment process as an opportunity for you to sell the company to the applicant. Give applicants a reason to show up by letting them know what makes your company different and why people love to work there.

You can also take advantage of the recruitment process to learn more about the candidates. Building a professional rapport allows you to gauge their interest in the job and company, as well as determine if they will be a good fit with your company’s culture.

2. Offer scheduling options

People can still lead busy lives even if they are actively looking for work. To reduce the possibilities of a no-show, try to be flexible when it comes to schedules. Provide applicants with several schedule options so they can choose one that is most convenient for their situation.

You can also use available apps or programs that will let candidates choose and book an available slot on their own. Perhaps you can opt for video interviews instead, especially if you are screening for a remote or home-based position. Offering options allows you to find a middle ground between your company and the applicants, and to pinpoint a solution that benefits both parties.

3. Follow up

Going through several stages of the recruitment process demonstrates the person’s interest in becoming a part of your company. Along the way, your company may have shown interest in the individual as well. In the case of a no-show, it may be worthwhile to find out what happened to this applicant.

Perhaps the individual had a legitimate reason for missing the interview and feels embarrassed about not informing your staff beforehand. Sending them a short but polite email is one way to leave a positive impression. You can let the applicant know that you have moved on with the hiring process, but you are keeping the lines open.

The next statement or two could show that you are still interested in hiring the individual. Alternatively, you could also say that you are keeping their details on file for future openings. You want to show that your company is more than just a business and exhibits concern for people.

Interview no-shows are common occurrences. However, a spike in the numbers is an indication that there may be aspects in your processes that need to be fixed. Following these tips from seasoned HR consulting service providers can help improve your interview stats while creating a positive experience for both sides.


David Mackenzie, a recruitment professional with over 20 years’ experience in the field and a record of entrepreneurial accomplishment, is Managing Director and Head of HR at Mackenzie Jones. As the Group MD, David is responsible for the overall direction of the Mackenzie Jones Group, including Mackenzie Jones, MumsAtWork, MENA Solutions, Simply Digital and ThinkTech.

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