5 tips to avoid no shows

no shows at interview

‘How can I avoid no shows at interview?’–  is something clients ask me, usually before they start working with us at Cohesion. And with this, I wanted to share some simple yet effective tips that can prevent your time from being wasted.

As a HR professional your diary is full for the foreseeable future. You’re under pressure to maintain high levels of service delivery while reducing costs, and yet you still need to find time to interview for your next Support Worker intake.

Frontline recruitment is one of your biggest challenges, yet it always gets pushed down the priority list – because let’s face it; recruitment shouldn’t be a big part of your job, right?

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Recruitment is important – without the right staffing levels you can’t deliver a safe service, and you’re probably over-reliant on the use of agency staff which is eating away at your reducing budgets. So when you do find time to interview? The last thing you need is a wasted day of candidate’s failing to turn up.

1. Make the interview process simple

The assessment process needs to be purposeful and identify candidates who will thrive in your organisation. Challenging interviews are acceptable, but ensure the tools you use are relevant; pitched at the right level and appropriate for your audience.

If you’ve decided you want an assessment day format – don’t over complicate. In this setup, provide a company introduction to welcome candidates and relax them into the day, follow up with one or a maximum of two ability exercises, and round off with the interview.

If you’re keeping candidates for a longer period, be sure to offer refreshments, and a tour of your business if you can – see how they interact with others in your community and your team.

2. Engage with your candidates at every stage

Regular communication touch points from the date of application are vital. Recent CIPD research found that over 70% of candidates will decide whether to accept a job offer or not based on their recruitment journey with that company.

Get this wrong and you can wave goodbye to the star candidate who matches your company values and beamed with passion at interview.

A call to explain any unexpected delays, making full use of your ATS to update candidates via a personalised message, and sending a good luck text message before their interview are always a nice touch.

3. Explain the process and your expectations

If you’ve used the same interview format for some time, you’ll be confident that you know exactly what you want from the day ahead. Remember – candidates won’t share this knowledge.

Be sure to explain what can be expected from the interview, what they should research, and what type of questions you’ll be asking.

Don’t give too much away of course, but equally don’t leave candidates guessing or confused. Don’t forget to explain the steps that follow the interview to continue engagement and manage expectations.

no shows at interview

4. Ask candidates where else they are interviewing

This question may seem a tad brave, but it’s worth trying. If your candidate is interviewing for a competitor, you know they are serious about your sector.

By knowing what date their other interview is, you can ensure your interview date doesn’t cause you to miss out on a good candidate.

Ask them how much they want your position over another application – here you can judge their level of commitment and begin to build up a picture of a candidate’s motivations.

5. Have a contingency plan

Whilst here at Cohesion we’ve achieved great results with reducing no show rates for our clients, the reality is that there will always be candidates who don’t turn up for interview.

Don’t use a bad experience as a reason to overbook interview slots – chances are, everyone will turn up and a messy setup won’t give a good impression.

If you find yourself in this situation, why not spend some time talking to your staff about what they love about their job – this gives you plenty of ammunition for when you’re booking candidates for interview next time around.


Dave Beesley is a Client Relationship Manager at Cohesion who delivers our recruitment services to social and health care clients. If you can’t tell, interview no shows are a big ‘pet hate’ of Dave’s! Get in touch with him at dave.beesley@cohesionrecuitment.com or on 0121 713 8320.

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