What you can do to ENSURE candidates ATTEND their INTERVIEW

If you’ve taken notice of the topics we have covered since the inception of Nobody Likes Recruiters, you’ll know that we have flogged the notion that we’re living in a ‘candidate lead market’ to death.

It’s a subject we have covered here and here.

The truth is, however, this issue spills into many areas of the recruitment process; including the task of getting a candidate to interview.

Halloween has just gone, and thus candidates ‘ghosting’ you is a poignant theme for this blog (and our latest episode).

No show candidates

As frustrating as it is, you’ll no doubt experience a ‘no show’ no matter how well you recruit.

But, like anything, there are steps you can take to mitigate the likelihood of a candidate not coming to the interview.

Your time is finite. The last thing you want to do is waste it by planning an interview that a candidate has no indentation of attending.

But have no fear, dear reader. Steve and I are going to count the ways that you can ensure your candidate attends their interview.

Now, this problem has always existed no matter how lopsided the market is. But in these days of surplus opportunities and picky job hunters, interview ‘no shows’ plague the lives of recruiters up and down this green and pleasant land.

You might be targeted on your interview conversion rate. This is something that I had to wrestle with in a previous role, I was told I need to get an arbitrary number of people to an interview in order to hit my target.

From the recruitment agency side, it is not uncommon for businesses to come to us and bemoan how they fail to get enough candidates to interview.

The ‘one click apply’ situation is also surely contributing to this issue. It is not common for a candidate to apply for 30 or 40 positions in one sitting. The process is now so easy that most candidates are not aware of the intricacies of every job they apply for.

A candidate applies, you look at their CV and then you pick up the phone and the candidate desperately tries to remember the job you’re calling them about.

You go into some detail and the candidate, being highly agreeable, doesn’t have the confidence to tell you that they are no longer interested in the job. So you invite them to an interview and they don’t show.

Or, of course, between the time you invite them to interview and the time the interview is scheduled,  they simply take another job and don’t have the courtesy to let you know.

There are things you can do about this, but you need to abandon the idea that the candidate you are speaking with will automatically remember your job because your job is so special.

As I have written before, however much you think your opportunity is a golden one, not every candidate is going to share your enthusiasm. Please humble yourself that the person you’re speaking with might need ‘warming up’ again. You may need to iterate the benefits of the vacancy.


How do you do that?

Well, in the same way that your job advert should lead on culture and your point of difference. After that, you can then drill down into the specifics of the job and what you will need from them.

Remember, first impressions count. This is your opportunity to make a dent in tier mind. Don’t send a generic email. Get on the phone.

Side-note: Adam made a point in our our latest episode that he has only ever been invited to interview during the standard working hours. Of course, we know why this is. As a hiring manager you probably don’t want to be working early or late, but, if that is something you’re willing to do, you can gain a nice advantage over your competitors in the job market.

Some candidates who are already in work may have to book time off to go to an interview. Being mindful of this and offering interviews outside of the 9 to 5 paradigm removes stress for your candidate. This may not be a problem for some candidates, and that’s fine, but offering some flexibility won’t hurt.

I want to stress again that this isn’t the market for a drawn out recruitment process. While the nature of some jobs dictate candidates need to jump through hoops, many don’t.


It should be a two-stage interview process. Maximum.

First stage: flexibility. Maybe a video call or a telephone interview, potentially outside standard work hours if needed.

Second stage: meet in person. Ask him or her to come to your place of work. Get to know and understand them more.

Don’t let this process drag on. Keep it simple. Aim for a conclusion within a matter of weeks or face the risk of losing people.


Treat candidates like customers

When I worked for the now extinct Phones 4u, we would be reminded to treat every candidate like a customer.

That’s something to ponder.

Regardless of if you go on to employ someone, giving them a pleasant experience of your business can only bode well for the future.

You have no idea where a candidate may go. One day you very well may want to employ them, or they could be deciding whether to give your business cash or not.

None of this is rocket science. Don’t overcomplicate it. Be clear, be confident, and move candidates through your process efficiently.

As always, there is more insight in our latest episode of Nobody Likes Recruiters, a podcast dedicated to ensuring that your hiring process isn’t cringe and shit.

Check it out.