Why Do Candidates No-Show for Their Interviews—And How Can You Prevent It?

Why do candidates no-show for their interviews

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If you’ve ever scheduled an interview with a promising candidate only to have them no-show, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only does it throw off your schedule, but it also makes you question whether the candidate was truly interested in the position. 

While there can be any number of reasons why a candidate might no-show for an interview, there are a few key reasons why this often happens—and a few things you can do to prevent it. 

Already Received Another Job Offer

The past few years have been a rollercoaster for no-shows. When COVID first hit, scheduling Zoom interviews with candidates was relatively easy. Companies would never have to meet a candidate in-person before hiring them. However, because it was so easy to schedule virtual interviews, it was also easy for candidates never to show up for them.

Now, we have in-person and virtual interviews but are still seeing a high rate of no-shows. In 2022, 19.7% of our 1,000 scheduled interviews ended up not showing up and not calling to cancel. Even though this number is still high, this is a huge improvement from what we say in 2021, which was a 24.7% no-show percentage. However, we still wanted to know why candidates would no-show their interviews. Here is reason number one.

The most common reason candidates no-show for their interviews is that they’ve landed another job in the meantime and simply forgot to let you know. While this is admittedly not the most considerate thing for a candidate to do, it’s understandable given the fast-paced nature of today’s job market

In fact, the job market today is so fast-paced that the average length of the hiring process in 2022 is 36 days, which is the fastest it has been in the past 10 years. To compare that with previous years, the average length of the hiring process in 2015 was 41 days

If a candidate has already accepted another offer by the time their interview with you rolls around, there’s really nothing you can do to prevent them from no-showing. However, you can try to catch this issue before it becomes a problem by being upfront about your hiring timeline from the start. Letting candidates know when you plan to make a decision will help weed out those who have already accepted other offers and are just stringing you along.

Never Interested in the Position

Another common reason candidates don’t show up for their interviews is that they were never truly interested in the position to begin with. Many times when candidates are on the job search, they hopelessly apply to every position on Indeed. While this may increase their chances of getting an interview, it also hurts their chances of getting an interview at a position and company they want to work for.

While I can’t say I haven’t blindly applied to job openings on Indeed without reading the job description, I can say that when I did apply to many job openings at one time, I rarely ever read the full job description.

In this case, a quick phone interview is the best way to weed out candidates who may not be interested in your job opening. Talking to them about what they want to do for their career BEFORE scheduling an interview will help you learn more about what the candidate is looking for. Many times, you will be able to easily tell whether or not the candidate is serious about the position.

On the other hand, let’s say you had hundreds of applicants on your job post and, to make your life easier, you send out a mass email blast offering a job interview to most of the candidates who applied. While this may save you some time initially, it could cause a huge increase in no-shows. 

You can try to prevent this type of situation by being more selective in who you reach out to for interviews in the first place. Rather than blindly sending interview requests to everyone who applies, take some time to review each candidate’s resume first. This way, you can get a better sense of whether or not they’re truly qualified for the role and if they would be a good fit for your company culture. 

They Googled You

Another common reason for candidates to no-show and interview is that they’ve decided the position isn’t a good fit for them. This can happen for several reasons; perhaps they did some additional research on the company and realized it’s not aligned with their values (or saw some bad reviews), or maybe they had a conversation with someone who works at the company and got a sense that it wouldn’t be a good fit. Whatever the reason, if a candidate decides they’re not interested in the position, there’s a good chance they won’t bother showing up to the interview. 

In this case, it is good that candidates who don’t align with your company’s values decide not to interview with your company. We suggest posting your company’s values and mission on your website for all candidates to see. Even if a candidate has great experience for your job opening, it is best to hire other candidates who will fit your team’s culture.

Also, after receiving an invite for an interview, candidates immediately look online for reviews of your company. This IS something you can control.

Take the time to go on Google to see what others say about your company. While I am sure your company has a few low ratings, it is not a huge deal breaker for candidates as long as most of your reviews are positive. If your company has 4 stars or lower, take the time to ask your customers and employees to write a review.

They Forgot

Finally, sometimes candidates will no-show simply because they forgot or got their dates mixed up. While this is admittedly less common than the other reasons, it does happen from time to time.

To avoid having a candidate forget about their interview entirely, send out a reminder email or text message the day before and include all pertinent information such as the date, time, and location of the interview. Additionally, if they got in an accident on their way to your interview or there was an emergency at home, try to reschedule their interview for another time. Accidents happen, but always give candidates the benefit of the doubt.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, candidates’ no-showing for their interviews is something all hiring managers have to deal with at one point or another. However, by being upfront about your timeline and being more selective in who you reach out to, you can help reduce the chances of this happening.

The last resort is always asking them if they would like to reschedule their interview.

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