Why People Don’t Show Up For Interviews

When a company asks a candidate to a job interview, the company usually expects the candidate is going to be happy about it. Indeed, the applicant applied for the job, indicating they want to work for the company, and the company took time out of their day to plan for the person’s interview and see if they are the right person for the job.
In many ways, getting called into an interview is an honour. Yet a surprisingly large percentage of candidates do not show up to their interviews, and that can be both disheartening and frustrating as an employer.

Types of Candidates That Do Not Show Up

There are a number of different reasons why a candidate may not show up for a job interview. Just a small sample of the reasons include:

  • Anxious – Interviews can cause people to become extremely anxious, and in the time leading up to the interview, the person may simply feel like they aren’t ready to go and skip it. It may seem uncommon, but anxiety can bring down even the best of applicants, and those that are too nervous showing up for an interview may simply not bother to show up at all.
  • Not Properly Prepared by Company – This is a very common reason that people do not show up for job interviews – they weren’t well informed by the company. For example, the company may not have done a good job communicating the time, or the location. It’s also possible the person forgot about the interview because it was scheduled too far in advance. If that happens, even if they realize they missed it, it is likely they would not bother showing up at all.
  • Working – Working candidates often struggle to fit in time to go to job interviews. In many cases, they may sneak out of work or take a long lunch because they do not want to upset their employer. If something comes up at the last minute and they can’t leave their jobs, they may simply have to skip the interview and be left knowing that they have no chance at the job.
  • Lazy/Negative Quality – Finally, of course, there may be a negative quality that causes them to skip the job interview. That’s one of the issues you’re trying to watch out for the most, which is likely why a missed job interview damages someone’s chances so thoroughly.

Often there is no way to know which factor was involved, but if it was the first 3, then you may still have a good candidate that you’re missing out on if they do not follow up with the interview.

How to Make Sure Your Candidates Show Up

It is in your best interests to do everything you can to help applicants show up for the interview, because you don’t want to miss out on some of these great candidates. Consider the following tips:

  • Help the Candidate Be Organized – Yes, you want a candidate that is organized and professional, but sometimes scheduling and managing job interviews can be challenging. Make sure that the candidate knows where to go, how to get there, what the interview will entail, what time it is, where to meet, and more. You may even want to follow up with the candidate once or twice in the days leading up to the interview to make sure they remember it, especially if it is scheduled in advance.
  • Be Friendly – Find a way to make sure that you sound friendly to the applicant to reduce their anxiety, and use strategies that make sure they are not too anxious. One way is to have a brief phone conversation between the lead interviewer and the candidate before the interview starts, so they are less nervous. Another way is to provide them with a few questions to prepare for. Little things like this can help reduce applicant anxiety.
  • Be Flexible with Scheduling – If the applicant is currently working, you may want to find a way to be more flexible with scheduling. Make time available after work hours, or let them know that you’ll be able to reschedule as long as they call in advance. These little things can help working applicants a great deal.

There is a limit to what you can do to make a candidate show up for the interview, but the one thing you can do is “your part.” Make sure that you’re doing whatever you can for the applicant, so that you know that when they show up that it’s probably for the best.

11 replies
  1. Kay
    Kay says:

    It’s an honor to get a interview? Are you serious? This is the problem with crappy hiring managers like you. I have an MBA and extensive history in finance and after I was out of the workforce for 2 years after my pregnancy, I had interviews where I was ghosted. Poor hiring managers have a bad habit of doing this and don’t consider the time and effort of the interviewees.
    Now that I switched careers and became a data scientist / python programmer, I’m getting recruitment calls left and right and feel nothing about ghosting them. In fact, I have even agreed to interviews and didn’t show up and ignored any follow up calls.

    • Rob
      Rob says:

      Kay you sound like a tool. The reason you have a JOB and not a career is because of that attitude. You limit how much you make because you don’t care about the image you project into society. I work my ass off, my team worked their ass off. We worked 40 hours in two days! Oh by the way, I have a career and made over 32k in 48 hours. I give a damn about everybody and don’t ghost anyone. Good luck with your data J.O.B. (just over broke)…

      • Klein
        Klein says:

        Please shut the fuck up, Rob. Nobody cares about how much you make. Nobody cares about your opinion. You’re trying to read Kay like a book, and you don’t even know this woman. Typical asshole thinking he knows everything. People like you are the scum of the Earth.

        • Beth
          Beth says:

          Ghosting is just plain rude. If you do not have the confidence to go on an interview save everyone some time and do not except the interview. People have so little respect for other people, that is what is disgusting.

      • SCOTT
        SCOTT says:

        Rob, what are you working on which is causing you to work 40 hours in two days? I’m curious. And as you say that it is the image you project that gets you the job, what would you recommend is a good strategy to come prepared for an interview for a low management position?

      • Jermainé
        Jermainé says:

        Rob, you’re just a God damn first class idiot. Kay is stating a fact where some ‘genius’ managers think that the job market is over saturated and they can cherry pick talent as they pleased.
        Well they had another thing coming as we, the candidates have better options at hand and being in this digital era means company competes for the best talents available & the job-seeker can re-skill or realign their interest like what Kay did.
        It’s a dog-eat-dog world and karma is a bitch, you don’t want people to treat you like that so you’re better off at seeing your own reflection.

      • Missy
        Missy says:

        Rob you nailed it! People like Kay are exactly the problem with today’s workforce!

  2. Brittany
    Brittany says:

    I recently became the Human Resources coordinator for my company. I’ve had great luck with keeping nurses staffed to certain areas. But, for some reason, hiring office staff seems almost impossible. I call and do ask 5 quick questions to see if a the person will make a decent fit for the team. Then, I schedule the interview with them. After the phone call, I always send out an email that includes; the time and date for interview, an application they can fill out before coming in, and the type of attire expected. I let them know I have no problems if they need to call and reschedule. I also let them know if they have questions to reach out. Even with all of this information, I can schedule a day of interviews and no one shows up. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. But something isn’t working. Suggestions are highly appreciated.

  3. sy hussaini
    sy hussaini says:

    Common courtesy never goes out of style. Employers and potential employees all should remember this. It’s the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.
    Ghosting, not showing up on appointments, not calling or thinking that one is better than another is just plain rude and inconsiderate.
    Everyone has a right to do what they want, but kindness and courtesy, those are eternal values.

  4. Anthony
    Anthony says:

    I presume many of the people commenting here are Australian judging from the domain of the website. I’m from England but I’ll still add my experience.
    In the UK we have an increasing number of employers who not only offer working conditions that I wouldn’t even offer to a school leaver but have attitudes that suggest they are doing you a favor by even interviewing you let alone hiring you. Work is a reciprocal business relationship where both you and the company gain something from the relationship, not a one sided affair where the company treats you with contempt from the word go and exploits your talents and hard work by throwing you breadcrumbs in return. Not all companies do this but an increasing proportion are adopting this degenerative behavior. In business you get what you pay for, not what you can trick people into exploiting out of them.
    Interviews in the UK (even for some technical and senior roles) consist mainly of irrelevant questions such as “How would you get to work” – Answer : I’d parachute in via helicopter (like it matters as long as you turn up on time) and are generally a very awkward affair which don’t assess your ability to perform the necessary tasks for the job. Your potential manager will often interview you and unfortunately more often than not they are attempting to gauge whether they can take advantage of you and treat you like dirt without you leaving in the first few months of the job. This is done by treating you this way in the interview and seeing how you respond. They are not interested in what you can bring to the company, they are interested in whether you will lick their boots, if not then you will get the usual “You have been unsuccessful because you are not the right fit” nonsense. Code for, we don’t think you’ll let us take advantage of you.
    We also have companies operating in the UK where 90-95% of the workforce do not speak English at a basic level (many occupying mid-level management roles), with all the challenges and alienation this brings for native British people, but we will leave this subject to one side for now.
    In the last year alone I’ve ghosted (arranged an interview then not turned up then ignored the company) just short of 300 times (yes 300). The only time that has been wasted is the company’s in question (as they have to pull people away from their work to be available for interview), I can fast so very little of my time is wasted. With very little spare capacity in the UK labour market they are unlikely to have that vacancy filled anytime soon and will go on understaffed (and lose profit as a consequence) and having their time constantly wasted by people like me ghosting them, until they learn to treat people with dignity and respect.
    Developing new business relationships isn’t difficult, despite how difficult companies operating in the UK make it, Central to it is treating people with dignity and respect, with a solid understanding of what needs to be done in the job role and what personal qualities are required to perform them, then remunerating them fairly according to the market.
    Companies shouldn’t be surprised if the political and economic environment within which they operate becomes hostile to their ability to profit if they treat potential workers (voters) with the contempt I described above. They are in for a long and painful ride, which will ultimately end in their companies going out of business, if they continue to do so.

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