Episode #89 – How Employers Can Stop Candidate “No-Shows” Dead in Their Tracks

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about candidate “no-shows” and what employers can do about them. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. I’m glad to be here.

Samantha: Stacy, first of all, can you tell us exactly what no-shows are and the role they’ve been playing in the marketplace?

Stacy: I certainly can. There are actually different types of no-shows, or perhaps more accurately, there are different degrees of them. The best way for me to explain this is to describe what happens to an employer when they occur.

Let’s say you’re interested in a candidate, enough to set up a phone interview, at the very least. So you schedule the phone call for a specific day and time. But when that day and time comes, the candidate does not show up for the call. That’s one example or degree.

Now let’s say that you conduct an initial phone screen and then invite a candidate onsite for a face-to-face interview. But the candidate cancels the interview at the last minute. OR they don’t show up at all. That’s another example.

Then let’s say that you make an offer of employment to your top candidate . . . and then that candidate disappears, not responding to calls, emails, or even texts. This is called “ghosting on the offer.” We’ve talked about “ghosting” on previous podcast episodes.

Finally, let’s say that you make an offer of employment to your top candidate . . . and that candidate accepts it! You’re in the clear, right? Wrong. The candidate doesn’t show up for their first day of work.

Samantha: So all of these scenarios are examples of no-shows?

Stacy: Yes, they just differ in regards to what the candidate is not showing up for—a phone screen, a face-to-face interview, an answer to an offer, or the first day of work.

Samantha: So even if a candidate has shown some interest in an organization’s open position, that’s no guarantee they’re going to stick around?

Stacy: No, it’s not. I’ve been teaching the same message to employers for the last several years. Just because you have a job opening doesn’t mean that qualified candidates are going to come running.

In fact, even in those instances where you are considering qualified candidates for your open positions, you’re still at risk for them not showing up at some point in the process. That risk involves the scenarios we just discussed.

Samantha: Stacy, what can employers do about this, especially since it seems to be happening with more frequency?

Stacy: Yes, it is happening with more frequency, and that’s because of the type of market we’re in. Top candidates have more options, so if they believe they have an option that’s better, they may not show up for a phone call or an interview, or more seriously, for their first day of work.

I have a list of five things that employers can do to combat this problem.

Samantha: What’s the first thing?

Stacy: The first item is to invest time and effort into the process.

Samantha: Don’t employers already invest time and energy into the process?

Stacy: They do, but in this market, they have to invest more. They simply don’t have a choice. Employers must invest as much into the process as candidates are investing. In fact, in some cases, they might have to invest more than candidates. That’s because hiring managers and employers must successfully engage candidates. As I said in a previous podcast episode, they have to make a connection with candidates.

If a candidate is engaged and a connection has been made, then they’re less likely to be a no-show at any stage of the process.

The second item on our list is to communicate effectively. You can take it from me: miscommunication has derailed far more than one job search.

Samantha: Stacy, how does that happen, specifically?

Stacy: Well, when communication is poor, information is lacking and assumptions are made. As an employer, you don’t want candidates basing their decisions and their actions on assumptions. You want them basing their decisions and actions on stone-cold facts, and the only way to ensure that is proper communication.

The next logical step from communication is the third thing on our list: expectations. One part of effective communication is clearly setting expectations. Candidates need to know what to expect from you, and on the flip side of the coin, you need to know what to expect from candidates. This includes communicating about the next steps of the hiring process and when those steps are going to take place.

Samantha: So you’re saying that candidates want to have an idea of what is going to happen next?

Stacy: Yes, that is absolutely the case. That’s another way to keep them engaged and anchor them to the hiring process.

Samantha: Stacy, what’s the fourth item on our list?

Stacy: Next on our list is respecting candidates’ time and also respecting their confidentiality. It’s important for employers to remember that candidates’ lives do not revolve around their open position or their hiring process. After all, some of these candidates are involved in more than one process.

Samantha: And they also have their current job, too.

Stacy: That’s right, they have their current job to be concerned about. So what employers can not do is schedule eight-hour interviews or ask candidates to come back for interviews three, four, or five times. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I’ve seen this happen multiple times during my career.

When you don’t respect the time or confidentiality of top candidates, you make it easier for them to make the decision to cancel or simply not show up. In other words, don’t make them “jump through hoops.” They won’t in this candidate’s job market.

Samantha: What’s the fifth item on our list, Stacy?

Stacy: The fifth and last item is to accurately assess the situation. We’ve already discussed the dangers of making assumptions. However, it’s not just candidates who shouldn’t make assumptions. Hiring managers and company officials should also not make assumptions.

For example, you can not assume that a candidate is interested in your job opening. You can not assume that a candidate is engaged in the process. And you can not assume that you’ve successfully made a connection with a candidate. You must know these things “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” and if you don’t, then you need to take the steps necessary to find out. You must “inspect what you expect.”

Samantha: Stacy, you’ve mentioned before your experience as an animal health and veterinary recruiter and executive search consultant. Is part of your job helping Animal Health and Veterinary organizations to make sure they’re addressing these items?

Stacy: It certainly is. As a veterinary recruiter and executive search consultant, I’m quite familiar with the dangers and the risks involved. That’s because I talk with top candidates all the time, every day. I have a pretty good idea of what they’re thinking.

This is one of the benefits of working with a recruiter who is “in the trenches” of the animal health and veterinary employment marketplace.

Samantha: Stacy, can you elaborate? What do you mean by that?

Stacy: Well, when there are changes in the marketplace, those changes don’t seem apparent to those who aren’t working “on the front lines” of the market day in and day out. There’s a lag of sorts, whereby a change has been in motion for a while before some people find out about it.

However, since executive search consultants and recruiters are “in the trenches” every day, they usually are aware of these changes as they take place. They’re pretty much aware of them in real time, and that knowledge and the timing of that knowledge is very valuable.

Samantha: Stacy, we only have a few more minutes. What would you like to say to wrap up today’s podcast?

Stacy: I’d like to say that successfully hiring top talent in in this current job market requires overcoming certain challenges.

The first thing that it requires is a firm grasp of job market conditions and the candidate psychology that exists because of those conditions. This means knowing what’s going on inside candidates’ heads.

The second thing that it requires is a commitment on the part of the employer to do what is necessary during the job interview and hiring process. This includes ensuring that the best candidates are fully engaged, properly motivated, and highly interested in what the organization has to offer. And when I say “in what the organization has to offer,” I mean not just in an employment opportunity, but also in an employer and a career.

And of course, an employer should partner with an experienced search consultant who has a proven track record of success identifying marketplace realities, overcoming the challenges associated with those realities, and consistently connecting with top candidates. Employers should partner with search consultants that have experience in their niche. Animal Health employers should partner with recruiters who fill Animal Health jobs and Veterinary Employers should partner with an experienced recruiter who fills Veterinary jobs.

Basically, all of the important things that we just talked about.

Samantha: Thank you, Stacy! Once again, this was great information. I’m sure our listeners found it to be interesting.

Stacy: Thank you, Samantha. I look forward to our next podcast!