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September 25, 2013 / Brad Squibb

Interview insight: Should you ever give a no-show a second chance?

It’s one of the most perplexing aspects of any hiring manager’s job: You have a great phone interview, really click with a candidate, and are excited to meet him or her for an in-person interview. Then when the meeting time comes, that candidate is a no-show.

You’re left wondering what happened. Change of heart? Family emergency? Your hiring team might be left questioning your judgment, because a candidate you initially thought was great didn’t even bother to show up.

The question then becomes, how do you proceed? Is it ever appropriate for a candidate to be a no-show to an interview?

Every company has different rules and philosophies on no-shows for interviews. For some, the candidate is automatically eliminated for the position. For others, it’s addressed on a case-by-case basis.

If the candidate hasn’t called offering a valid excuse, many hiring managers will follow up and see what happened. Based on the person’s response, it is then determined if the candidate should still be considered. A family emergency might be considered a valid excuse, while mixing up the times or getting lost may not be.

Even with an acceptable excuse, it can often be difficult for a candidate to recover. Showing up for an interview on-time, well-prepared and enthusiastic is part of making that vital positive first impression. Plus, it demonstrates a strong work ethic and respect.

Keep in mind, the same holds true for hiring managers. There are times when a member of your team calls in sick, the department manager is stuck in client meetings, and you’ll have to improvise when the candidate shows up for an interview.

If you can reach the candidate before the interview, you can try to reschedule. Turning a candidate away who has already arrived in person should not be an option – you may have to pull in another manager to ask basic questions and give company background, and then request a second interview with others at a later date.

Remember, a good candidate is likely actively seeking a position, so making a good impression is important to ensure you stick out in their mind as the place he or she wants to work, rather than at your competitors.

Whether it’s a job candidate or the people doing the hiring, in both cases, people need to be accountable. Avoid being a no-show to an interview as much as possible. Period.

One Comment

  1. Kurt Allan / Oct 6 2013 3:45 pm

    I agree – it can be almost impossible to recover from missing an interview. This actually happened at my company just last Friday. I had a meeting with the hiring manager later in the afternoon and asked how the interview went and she said they didn’t show up (or contact her to tell her they couldn’t make it). She liked his resume and phone interview but he was done – she had already moved on and had several other qualified candidates in her pool.

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