How to hire in a candidate-led market and prevent no-shows

How do you think most UK job seekers are feeling over the last few months? From a report published by ManpowerGroup in June, we think they are feeling optimistic…and busy! The National Employment Outlook is reported +8%, a six-year high and a 13-point increase quarter on quarter. Candidates are finding themselves in the driving seat and cherry picking roles. ‘Ghosting interviews’ and ‘no-shows’ point to a frustrating trend for employers and recruiters. The good news is that by taking proactive steps, you can ensure the best candidates don’t turn down your interview and arrive well-prepared and eager to hear more.

Candidates not turning up for interviews means lost productivity and additional costs to your hiring and recruitment process. This is the last thing you need as vacancies grow and hiring budgets are no doubt under the spotlight. In a 2019 CV Library survey, one in 10 UK professionals have admitted to not turning up to a planned interview without an explanation, with this figure rising to around 18% for the millennial generation.

Added to this, we need to recognise the considerable impact of COVID-19 on all applicants. According to the Mercer 2021 Global Talent Trends Study, two in three employees already felt at risk of burnout before the pandemic began. Candidates are demanding more of employers and seeking purpose and new experiences. A poll of 4,000 workers by Aviva this year found 60% planned to make changes such as switching careers, learning a new skill or finding a new role within their existing organisation. This is a 7% point increase compared to July 2020. To really bring the point home, 9.8 million employed people in the UK are actively job hunting each day. That’s a lot of applications and a lot of screening and reviewing for recruiters and talent teams.

10 top tips to prevent no-shows:

1. Work fast: Time is of the essence and be aware that a candidate might be juggling multiple applications and offers. Make contact and arrange an interview as soon as possible.

2. Watch out for passive candidates: Find out if the applicant really wants the role.Thanks to digital tools, automation and AI, it’s easier for candidates to send off a huge volume of applications. Ask direct questions and treat initial contact as a chance to sell the role and gauge genuine interest.

3. Provide context: Give detailed information about the interview process. What are your expectations of the interviewee? What can they prepare in advance? Will there be a phone-interview, a group interview, presentations or aptitude tests in advance? Remove ambiguity on both sides.

4. Check-in. And check-in again: Job hunting can be an overwhelming experience for applicants who are managing multiple applications or offers. Call, text, use Linkedin or email to remind candidates about upcoming interviews. This shows interest and commitment from your side.

5. Add a personal touch: Following COVID-19 guidelines, create or nurture a rapport with candidates. Suggest a meeting face-to-face or a quick virtual coffee to build a level of trust and openness.

6. Be flexible: Where possible negotiate interview dates and times. Candidates in full-time employment might find it difficult to speak or interview during working hours. Ask for a preferred time. The right candidate is worth waiting for.

7. Shout about incentives: Communicate company benefits clearly like lunch subsidies, salary progression, bonus, travel bursaries, complimentary tea and coffee, flexi-time, holiday allocation, healthcare, social activities, culture or training opportunities. These add-ons can be the deciding factor where salary may be very similar to competitor offers.

8. Optimise your careers page: Share company values, awards, working environment or team testimonials that will bring your company to life. Create the content you would love people to know about your company at a glance.

9. Follow up with no-shows: Take the time to find out why a candidate didn’t turn up. Was there a breakdown in communication on either side? Helpful feedback could prevent a repeat with another applicant? A survey is another way to gather feedback on your interview process.

10. Retention: Happy, productive teams with little or no staff turnover means less recruitment costs and resources. Focus on your company culture and values, have regular communication with employees and conduct exit interviews to gain valuable insights.

To circle back to the beginning, don’t shy away from the fact that we are in the midst of a candidate-driven market. Look at the positives of this turbulent period in recruitment. Top talents are looking to take risks, are feeling restless and looking for challenges, new roles and satisfaction. Embrace the challenge and use this time as an opportunity to hone what you want to convey to potential new team members. Be clear on your mission statement, sell roles and the unique benefits of joining and make sure that candidates are left with no other option but to cherry pick your job above the others cluttering their inbox or voicemail.