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How to Prevent Interview No-Shows

You have your interview questions prepared. Your hiring team is gathered. The only problem? The candidate is a no-show. If you’ve hired for any position, you’ve likely dealt with at least one interview no-show. According to USA Today, various businesses report anywhere from 20 to 50% of their candidates are no-shows for interviews. Hourly positions and lower-paying jobs tend to have a higher rate of candidate ghosting, but it can happen to any company for any position. Find out more about why interview no-shows are a problem and what you can do to reduce it.

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Why interview no-shows are a problem

Applicants skip interviews for a variety of reasons. They might get another job offer and forget to let you know. Others feel awkward about canceling if they decide the job isn’t a good fit. Some candidates get cold feet and simply don’t show. What those candidates don’t realize is that it affects you in a big way.

An interview no-show wastes your time since you’ve set aside that time to spend with the candidate. It hurts your productivity because you could use that time for other work activities. Any time spent waiting for the candidate is lost. If you have other staff members sitting in on the interview, it wastes their time too.

It also cuts down on your options for hiring. Say you schedule five interviews, but only two candidates show. If neither of those candidates seems like a good fit, you’re stuck scheduling more interviews or having fewer options.

Best practices for preventing an interview no-show

Changing the way you handle job interviews can reduce the chances of job ghosting from your top candidates. Getting to candidates quickly and making your company as appealing as possible can help. Good communication is another crucial piece.

Set up interviews quickly

When you find an impressive applicant, go ahead and schedule the interview. Job seekers are more likely to go through with an interview if they hear back within 48 hours of applying. Their enthusiasm may decrease as more time drags on.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job seekers who are currently unemployed submit an average of 13.67 job applications. You’re potentially competing with many other companies for those employees. Striking quickly with fast interview scheduling and a streamlined hiring process can help you attract preferred candidates.

Offer flexible interview scheduling

Candidates with strong qualifications often have multiple interviews. If they’re currently employed somewhere else, they also have to fit the interview in around their work schedule. Offering flexible interview scheduling makes it easier for those candidates to attend.

After-hours or weekend interviews can reduce the chances of a scheduling conflict. Handling interviews via video chat is another flexible option that can reduce candidate ghosting by making it easier to attend. Using Zoom is another popular option for job interviewing these days.

Offer virtual interviewing

Virtual interviews are a great way to reduce interview no-shows. Using video conference software such as Indeed Interview help to reduce the constraints of traveling to an in-person interview and allow for a wider reach to candidates who may not be local. Interviews on Indeed report 38% fewer candidate “no-shows” on average compared to in-person interviews.¹ 

You can easily set up virtual interviews through the Employer Dashboard on Indeed which syncs with many popular calendar applications. Once the interview is accepted, reminders are sent to the candidate leading up to the interview to remind them of the appointment.

Be selective about who you choose for interviews

Evaluating candidates before offering interviews can help you choose people who are more likely to follow through. It’s not always about a perfectly crafted resume with impressive accomplishments.

Asking some interview questions over the phone before setting up an interview can help you screen the candidates. It gives you an idea of their job goals and whether or not they’re a good fit for your team. You can get a gut reaction about the candidate to see how interested they are in the position and your company. This screening process can help weed out candidates who seem indifferent, want a higher salary than you can offer or otherwise don’t seem like strong candidates.

Schedule extra interviews

If interview no-shows are a consistent problem, start scheduling more interviews than normal. This accounts for at least one of the candidates not showing up, so you still have plenty of options. Look at your no-show statistics compared to the number of people you typically interview to decide how to increase the number of interviews you hold.

Set interview expectations

Be open with job seekers about your expectations for them to show up or notify you if they can’t attend the interview on time. Let them know it’s a competitive hiring process and that you don’t offer rescheduling at this time . This encourages candidates to stick to their interview slot or to proactively call and reschedule if a conflict arises.

Make interviews more appealing

Job interviews are stressful for some candidates, which could lead them to skip. This is unprofessional behavior, but you can try to add fun elements to get candidates excited. Coffee shop interviews, company tours or special demonstrations are examples. Then, hype up the interview process to hook the candidates. Putting them at ease by making it a low-pressure interview process can encourage people to show up if nerves are an issue.

Communicate and confirm interviews

Strong communication on your part encourages job seekers to reciprocate. If they don’t hear from you for a long time or don’t get the information they need, they might feel like they don’t need to communicate well either. After scheduling the interview, send a follow-up email with important information about the interview process.

Contact your interviewees before the scheduled interview to confirm the appointment. Text and email confirmations are both strong options. You can also send calendar appointments. Setting these notifications up with an automated system makes it efficient. If a candidate needs to back out, you can quickly schedule an interview with an alternate.

Stick to the scheduled interviews

Sometimes work conflicts come up during a scheduled interview time. However, sticking to your scheduled interview time makes candidates feel valued. When you reschedule, it shows them that something else is a priority. Schedule interviews carefully to ensure you can stick to them.

Make yourself known as an attractive employer

When job seekers have lots of options for interviews, they start comparing the employers. Staying competitive means positioning your company as a desirable place to work.

That starts with your company culture. Supporting your current employees can help reduce turnover, which cuts down on the number of interviews you have to do. Your employees also become walking billboards when they’re satisfied. They make other people want to work for your company.

Having a good employee value proposition helps you retain current employees and attract new candidates. Your EVP includes all of the benefits and perks you offer your employees. It’s your total benefits package and includes things such as career development opportunities, flexible schedules, gym memberships and other monetary and nonmonetary perks of the job.

Ask candidates to update you on changes

Candidate availability can change quickly. Let your candidates know that you understand their availability can change. Ask them to let you know if they accept another offer or change their mind about interviewing. Give them contact information to make it easy.

Even though you miss out on the interview, getting a notification from the candidate gives you more time to schedule with another candidate.

Get feedback from no-shows

If you’re dealing with the interview no-show issue consistently, reach out to candidates who ghost you. Ask them what changed their mind about the interview and why they didn’t attend. The issue could be with the candidate, such as getting another job offer first or not feeling prepared for the interview.

You could also gain insight about your company that helps you improve the hiring process. Perhaps they had a negative interaction with someone at the company while scheduling the interview or felt the overall culture wasn’t a good fit. Use that feedback to make your company more attractive to future candidates.

¹Indeed data (US)

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