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‘No-show’ trend amongst today’s candidates

21/03/17 Graham Cross Manager - R&D / Engineering

Graham Cross, Manager, Contract Manufacturing & Operations at Redline Group reports.

As the ‘War for Talent’ shows no abatement, the best candidates and contractors are busy people. If currently employed, their time for job hunting and interviewing is limited, and they may be being courted by multiple companies vying for their skills. So, does a “no-show” really matter?

Whether experienced professionals or university graduates, today’s candidates are focused on one thing: finding the role, job and company that gives them the best career opportunity, offers an easy hiring process and the salary and pay rates are competitive.

Company owners, Directors and hiring managers will have experienced that issue. Many candidates are simultaneously interviewing at multiple employers. If they receive an acceptable job offer, they simply cancel others interviews, or some simply do not show up at all. This is frustrating and costly as Managers/Directors often travel to conduct selection interviews and re-organise company and customer meetings to accommodate the interviewee.

Recruiters frequently hear the phrase “You are just one of many opportunities.” Candidates and contractors are focused on their own schedules and assume that their attendance doesn’t really matter, why would you care if they don’t show up? You’ll just move on to the next person on your list, right?

This is why the recent survey from CV-Library interested me and more importantly what actions should companies undertake to mitigate this issue. The study by CV-Library of 1,200 professional candidates from across the UK found that one in ten workers admitted to failing to turn up to an interview, with this figure rising to 18% per cent amongst the millennial generation (25-34-year-olds). 

While 34% of those surveyed claimed to have abandoned interviews because they decided they didn’t want the job or assignment anymore, many candidates and professional contractors blamed their lack of attendance on the hiring company: 8% said that they hadn’t heard from the interviewer and 7% said the company hadn’t done enough to keep them engaged throughout the interview process.

45% of candidates and contractors said that companies should provide constructive feedback and 22% that their minimal expectation was an email confirmation of meeting, the day before the interview to keep candidates engaged.
Redline Group monitors interview attendance on a weekly and monthly basis to ensure the quality of our work in preparing and selecting candidates suited for the roles. Our knowledge-led approach ensures the client and candidate expectations are well matched, maximising the chance for a successful attendance. This year we have achieved a record 85.9% attendance ratio of candidates who were requested for interview (some fallout is expected: other job offers, roles withdrawn, client fills the role elsewhere etc).

Redline Group surveys every candidate and client about their interview experience so we can provide constructive feedback to both parties, and suggest process improvements. Many companies would find this costly or burdensome, but we believe it’s vital to always strive for improvement and quality. Click on the following link to download an example of our Candidate Survey 

Graham Cross, Manager - Contract Manufacturing & Operations comments: “ There are numerous factors contributing to a candidate’s decision to abandon an interview. Organisations can be to blame, even when the interviews have been carefully co-ordinated by a recruitment partner such as Redline. Candidates and Contractors are considerably more demanding due to the skills-scarce market in the high-technology sector. There are a many reasons why a candidate may not show up for a job interview and unfortunately, individuals tend to make excuses often not disclosing the real reason. I’m sure we’ve all heard the:

  • The ‘Mysterious Job Offer’excuse
  • The ‘Unexpected Death of a Relative/Friend’ excuse
  • The ‘Car won’t start or broke down’ excuse.
  • The mystery illness, ‘I’ve had food poisoning’ excuse
  • The ‘I’ve gone to the wrong address and my interview is in 5 minutes’ excuse

and some even more bizarre ones.”

These excuses are used for a number of reasons:-

  • Under-prepared – not getting enough info from the company or the recruiter to really feel connected to the opportunity
  • Anxiety – they may only have a few interviews in their lifetime, it can be stressful if you’re not walked and talked through the process.
  • Currently employed - Working candidates and contractors often struggle to fit in time to go to job interviews. In many cases, they may sneak out of work, “go to the dentist” or take a long lunch because they do not want to take time off or upset their current employer. If something comes up at the last minute and they cannot leave their jobs, they then may simply have to skip the interview.

So what can companies do to mitigate these problems?

1.    ‘Sell’ the role and Company – it’s a two way process and every manager should have a ‘Company Elevator Pitch’ and understand the role, duties and the USP’s. If you want to hire the best people, you need to be able to convince those individuals to join you rather than your competitors.

2.    Reduce Interview time lag – Schedule interviews as soon as possible. Don’t let someone else be faster than you.

3.    Provide flexibility into the interviewing process – The best candidates receive many interview offers and often have tight schedules to work around. Can you interview over Skype? Phone? Offer after-hours or weekends?

4.    Set Expectations - Find out if they are interviewing elsewhere. Open a dialogue to gauge their true interest level in your company and what factors they weigh as priorities.

5.    Avoid rescheduling interviews – Rescheduling gives candidates the impression that their time is not valued. They will interview where they feel wanted.

6.    Confirm interviews more than once – Email and phone candidates to confirm their intention to attend the interview. But don’t just confirm. Welcome them as you would a guest or friend and be transparent and respectful.

7.    Text candidates – Millennials especially communicate by text message.

8.    Dodge the bullet – Ultimately, candidates who fail to show or call may not be the most considerate or dependable employees.

If you’re struggling to find the right specialist talent, embrace the new recruitment landscape, consider hiring contract and temporary professionals to fill the gap whilst you hunt for a permanent member or staff and seek advice and support from recruitment professional such as Redline.

Graham manages the Contract Manufacturing & Operations team for Redline and has worked within the recruitment industry for 20 years having spent the last 17 working within the Technical, Engineering and Manufacturing & Operations sector, specialising in contract jobs, temporary and interim recruitment.