The Smart Way to Reduce Interview No-shows


There is no one simple answer to reduce interview no-shows, it’s more a case of putting processes in position and working to a solid framework. This problem can be one of the most frustrating things in recruiting. You know the scenario, you have set aside time, cleared space in your meeting room and are all set to meet this exciting new candidate. The time comes and passes and nobody comes. A waste of your time and money. 
Here we look at some of the ways to ensure that the candidate will be just as excited as you are, and will therefore be keen not to miss out on an exciting proposition. 

The Causes of Interview No-Shows

Here are some of the main reasons that candidates fail to show up. It is these very reasons that if addressed can reduce interview no-shows.

You missed the Deadline for the Interview

Having to rearrange an interview because your deadlines were not adhered to, sends out the completely wrong message to the interviewee. If you cannot get your act together for the interview, what are they likely to think about your company’s business systems? 

You have questions of them, it is therefore only fair that you are prepared to answer questions about your company on the day of the interview. It is imperative that you have all this information to hand in advance. Set deadlines for assessing their written application and stick to them. Always keep the candidate up to speed with what they can expect at the interview, who they will be meeting and the date upon which they will be notified as to you decision. Have this process well in place will reduce interview no-shows.

You Have an Excessively Slow Hiring Process

Time is money for everyone, but more importantly it demonstrates how keen two sides in any discussion are to working towards progressing. If you make contact with a good candidate and then invite them to an interview in a months time, you are all but guaranteeing that they will not show up. For many companies, the average time that companies spend on recruiting people is around four weeks. This is far too long for almost all serious candidates. There is no real excuse for this, two weeks is plenty of time to select your candidates, run background checks and arrange interviews. 
Any company should have the right software at their fingertips to ensure that this time is kept to an absolute minimum. This is one of the main strengths of recruitment companies like RGF. Using RGF makes sure that you reduce interview no-shows as they do all the important work for you.


One way to reduce interview no-shows is to check out the travel time at the earliest possible opportunity. People more often than not apply for more than job at a time to increase their chances of success. Bear in mind their commute whilst screening the candidates. If they are too far away then maybe you can offer the chance of some of their work being done remotely. They may say that the journey isn’t a problem, but if a job offer comes in closer to home, you may find a sudden gap appears in your schedule.

Your company has a reputation for ghosting

Treat people with respect, keep them fully informed of all your decisions and you will reduce interview no-shows. Some employees leave their employment by simply not turning up for work, this is known as ghosting. Alternative the term can be used to describe employees who simply do not inform candidates that they have been unsuccessful. In the worst cases, HR departments don’t even reply to job applications. If your company gains a reputation as being like this, then you can be sure that candidates will not feel too compelled to inform you of their change of heart. In the modern world with social media, a bad reputation can travel rapidly throughout the business community. 

Why it is important to Reduce Interview No-Shows

The first and obvious answer is cost. It is a huge waste of human resources to spend time evaluating application forms, arranging interviews and attending them only for the person not to show up. If your application vetting had been more thorough, you may have just spotted some of the reasons above, and alarms bells should have been ringing. 

It is also bad for your company moral in general to have an atmosphere of sloppiness that could have been avoided. For the person actually doing the interview it can be immensely demoralizing. This is especially the case if the interviewer has had to travel to a neutral location for the interview.

Manage Problems to Reduce Interview No-Shows

Always stay in touch
It is so important to stay in touch with the candidate and keep them fully informed as to your processes with applicants.

Cut Down on Interview Lag Times
Nobody in this fast moving age wants to wait four weeks for an interview. If you think they fit the bill, arrange an interview quickly; ideally within a week. 

Explain Your Expectations, Fully
Candidates really need to know exactly what will be expected of them, in advance. Nothing is worse for causing cold feet than a candidate suddenly feeling unsure as to whether he or she can do the job. 

Teach Your Interviewers to Avoid Rescheduling
People never like feeling unimportant. If you set a date and time, stick to it. No-shows are more common in interviews that have been rescheduled. 

Be Flexible when Arranging Interviews
The chances are that if the candidate is exactly what you are looking for, then others will be looking as well. People have tight schedules, so be flexible. Skype or phone interviews can be a quick and easy precursor to a proper sit down. Ask if it is better for them to interview after working hours or at the weekend. Give them choices, then set the interview options to make sure you get on their calendar.

Text, Text, Text
Texting is by far the most popular way for millennials to stay in touch. You have already confirmed the interview, but a brief “looking forward to meeting you” text on the morning of the interview will be appreciated. 

Make Them Feel Wanted
After the initial professional approach, it is good to adopt a friendly and non pressured tone when communicating with candidates. 

How to Follow Up on a No Show

There is a tendency to simply drop a candidate that fails to turn up for an interview, but this is not necessarily the best approach. It is always worth a follow up call to ask the candidate why they dropped out. You may gain valuable insights which will help prevent making the same mistakes in the future. You never know they might have had a personal tragedy or an accident, anything is possible. A polite email saying something like, “So sorry that you couldn’t make our meeting today. I assume you had another offer, but if there was another reason please let me know.” If they reply they will probably be contrite and courteous and you can move forward. If however they are flippant in their reply or don’t reply at all then you can drop them. 


There is no one quick fix to reduce interview No-Shows. It is a process that needs to be managed and practiced in order to get it right. However the examples given here will help you build a strong strategy for dealing with interviews and increasing the numbers that do show up and hopefully the quality of the candidates.