HR · 17 March 2017

How employers can engage candidates and limit interview absenteeism

Are you doing enough to engage candidates during the recruitment process?

Employers have been urged to acknowledge the findings of a recent survey that identified the reasons candidates give for failing to turn up for job interviews.

A significant proportion of candidates blame the company they were due to meet for interview absenteeism, claiming that firms need to do more to engage prospective staff throughout the recruitment process.

A survey, conducted by job site CV Library among 1,200 British workers, found that 8.1 per cent said they hadn’t attended a job interview in the past because they hadn’t heard from the employer beforehand.

A further 6.6 per cent claimed they didn’t feel the company in question hadn’t done enough to engage them.

“The fact that many candidates are ditching interviews is worrying news for businesses, and often means time and money lost for the company,” said CV Library founder Lee Biggins, when commenting on the study’s findings.

Although employer engagement was a factor in candidates’ reasoning for choosing not to attend interviews, it wasn’t found to be the biggest determinant.

Roughly a third of professionals who had skipped a past job interview admitted they’d done so because they’d decided they didn’t want the job anymore, and another 22 per cent realised the role wasn’t right for them after further research on the employer.

According to the study, one in ten UK workers has not turned up for a job interview overall, yet the proportion for younger professionals is much higher. Among 25 to 34 year-olds – the millennial generation – 17.7 per cent said they’d chosen not to attend a job interview at the last minute.

Biggins added: “It’s clear that there are several factors which are influencing job hunters’ decisions on whether or not to attend an interview and the fact that some of the blame is being placed on organisations is concerning.”

Several suggestions to employers were laid out in the study that candidates said would improve levels of interview absenteeism. Some 45 per cent of workers wanted companies to provide more constructive feedback, and 21.7 per cent thought they should receive an email the day before the interview to confirm the date and time.

In addition, 17 per cent said employers should conduct initial telephone screening before interviews are booked, and 7 per cent thought companies should contact them on the phone, rather than through email, which is less personal.

“Candidates know their worth and aren’t afraid to turn their back on a potential employer that fails to tick all the boxes,” Biggins went on to say.

“Therefore, it’s important that businesses think about the ways in which they can keep job hunters engaged throughout the recruitment process. Doing so will ultimately place you in a better position when it comes to attracting, recruiting and retaining the very best talent.”

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.