Why You Get Interview ‘No-Shows’ and Ways to Stop it

Coburg Banks
5 min readNov 12, 2018

If you’re wondering why more candidates are failing to turn up for interviews, then you’re in the right place.

On the whole, ‘no-shows’ have become more prominent in recent years as the recruitment industry puts a greater emphasis on carrying out job searches online.

While utilising digital technology is generally a very positive thing, it’s easy to mistake a passive candidate with an active one.

What’s a passive candidate?

When I say ‘passive’, I’m referring to the type of candidates who aren’t exactly in a rush to find a new job, but are always open to new prospects if something better pops along.

To put this into context, Google receives an average of more than 15 million unique job-related searches in the UK every month.

That’s around half of the UK’s working population searching for new opportunities at least once a month.

Yet, despite these startling facts, does this really mean that half of the UK’s working population wants to change jobs every four weeks?

I’m not so sure.

So what’s the reason?

The real reason is that most humans are curious and inquisitive.

It’s why technology itself has continued to evolve.

We all want to know more about the great unknown and delve in a little deeper.

So just because you’ve got the attention of a passive candidate and have them intrigued, it doesn’t mean that they are completely sold on joining you.

In fact, they are far from it.

Candidates like to feel valued and wanted, so it’s sometimes easy for them to get carried away and accept an interview without really considering it.

Then once they have a chance to collect their thoughts, they start to realise that they are more in love with the idea, rather than your business itself.

The issue with this is that it completely undermines the art of headhunting.

As a business, you want to find the very best talent in the UK, so it’s not surprising why many HR and recruitment professionals reach out to people via LinkedIn and email.

But with it being a core reason why ‘no-shows’ happen in the first place, it begs the question; what’s the solution?

Do you simply stop headhunting and settle for active candidates only?

Or do you carry on and hope that they don’t pull out of an interview without telling you?

Well, the answer doesn’t have to be as black and white.

Instead, you can simply tweak the way you carry out your recruitment process.

By doing this, you’ll not only reduce the number of interview ‘no-shows’, but you’ll save a shed load of money and resource in the meantime too.

Here are some ideas to help solve this growing issue.

Make it personal

In a recent LinkedIn article thread discussing the no-show issue, Katie Keller said:

“I try and ‘humanise’ the process a bit, as I am more of a networker, not a recruiter.

Grab a beer or a coffee with a candidate if they seem like a rock star, or if you really are interested in their skill set.”

The problem is with the recruitment process, a lot of candidates feel like they’re chatting to a robot.

In fact, if you treat them this way, you may as well adopt artificial intelligence and cut out the labour work.

Offering a different approach to the interview process will indicate that you actually care about the individual and show that it’s not just a uniformed thing that you’ll be doing with dozens of others.

It’s also a top way of finding the right personality type to build a brilliant work culture.

Speed up and be flexible

One of the major reasons candidates don’t show up to an interview is that they aren’t allowed the time off to attend it.

To help combat this issue, be flexible and fast to respond to their communications.

Not only will the quick approach show that you value their time and truly care, but it’ll give the candidate a maximum amount of time to find a date which works around them.

Asking a candidate to adhere to a set date/time isn’t practical and can often make the candidate have second thoughts about the whole thing.

In other cases, some more active job seekers may have already found a different position by the time you respond.

So it’s another reason why you need to demonstrate that you’re eager and willing to move fast.

Another professional on LinkedIn, Kim Palomarez, said:

If you are talking about entry-level positions, in a market like we have right now, then you have to move very quickly.

This is the biggest challenge I hear the most about when talking to my clients.

This is a job seekers market and they have many choices.

If you call someone Monday to set up an interview for Wednesday, they are already working somewhere else by Tuesday”.

Sell the interview

If you had to name ten things you love to do, I’d probably hazard a guess and say that interviews don’t feature in the list.

So why do a majority of businesses make them sound glum?

Spice them up, make it clear, tweak the format and have some fun.

In theory, unless that you’re a large corporate brand like Apple, you need to sell the interview to the candidate.

Throw in a company tour or have the interview over lunch.

A forward-thinking business shouldn’t carry out stuffy interviews as they often don’t give a true reflection of a business or a candidate.

You should also provide more information about the interview itself.

If you don’t, this can make candidates anxious and result in them boycotting the whole thing.

According to research, only 38.2% of candidates receive any sufficient information prior to their interview, other than the date and location.

Give them all the details and it will enable them to prepare for it mentally.

Final thoughts

So there you have it.

The main lesson here is to be flexible and remember that you are the salesperson in this process — not the candidate.

Sell the interview, the company and the position.

Otherwise, you could experience a lot more no-shows and added stress you don’t need.

For more HR and recruitment tips, head over to our recruitment blog — here.

- Mark Wilkinson

Originally published at www.coburgbanks.co.uk on November 12, 2018.



Coburg Banks

We’re a UK based, multi-sector recruiter that‘s on a mission to prove that recruitment doesn’t necessarily have to be predictable and boring.