when candidates no-call, no-show for an interview — and then reapply

A reader writes:

I’m wondering how you would handle this situation. For some reason, we have frequent no-call, no-shows for interviews. Probably 1 in 15 is a no-call, no-show. I’ve tried to lower this by following up on phone scheduling with email confirmations, but that hasn’t improved anything. I know you have written on your blog in the past that you follow up with no-call, no-shows with an email. I haven’t been doing that since I know the hiring managers have no interest in the candidate once they have no-call, no-showed. I just make a note in our database.

Half of the time we never hear from these candidates again. However, the other half of them end up reapplying in the future with no mention of the prior interview. We don’t own an ATS, so they are applying directly to me, knowing that I was the one that scheduled their interview in the past. I haven’t been responding to their new applications but I want to … It irks me that they think they can be unprofessional and then think in 6 months we’ll forget and it will be washed away. Should I let it go and continue to ignore their reapplying or is there a nice way to say “don’t bother after what you already did”?

I bet they don’t even realize that you’re the same company who they bailed on in the past. We already know they’re disorganized (or something else unflattering), so I think it’s a safe bet that they’re simply applying to jobs without tracking them or recalling what they’ve applied to in the past, and as a result don’t even realize that they’re returning to the scene of the crime.

In any case, though, you can either continue to just ignore their re-applications or you could absolutely point it out to them. Personally, I would say something, because I have a compulsion to point out things like this. I’d probably email back with something like, “We had an interview scheduled several months ago, but you never showed up and never contacted us.” You could add, “and as a result, I’m not able to consider further applications from you,” but that probably goes unsaid after the first sentence.

As a side note … This reminds me of a guy who I made a job offer to years ago. He asked for a couple of days to get back to me with an answer but never did. I reached out by phone and email, explaining that I had another candidate to get back to, but never heard from him again. Then, four years later, he applied for a job with me again. I asked him what happened to him four years earlier, and he said that it had been “too hard” for him to turn down an offer that he really wanted but couldn’t accept for financial reasons. $#@%&^*!!

Anyway, back to your situation. It’s completely reasonable to cancel an interview if you realize the job isn’t right for you, or you accept another offer, or you have a conflict, or whatever. But there’s just no reason not to call or email to cancel, and it would be entirely reasonable of you to nudge those candidates into realizing that.

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