Did a candidate promise to come and not show up for a walk in?
Did a candidate not pick up your call after accepting your offer?
Did a candidate abscond on the second day after joining?
Getting candidates to join after accepting the offer is hard. Our best laid plans are thrown disarray. The business team cannot seem to fathom what happened. They cleared four people but only 2 joined. Inevitably, the blame falls on the recruiter. It is like being stood up and then getting ridiculed by your friends on top of it.
Getting people to join is a challenge – a tough one. So how do you avoid no shows at different stages? The name of the game is setting expectations from the first time you contact the person to every time you connect with them. It is the “One Last thing” trick. Let us walk through the steps here.
In your first conversation, demand honesty! Don’t assume you will get it. The “one last thing” tends to work well because they leave the conversation with your thought and think about it.
“It was great talking to you. You can expect to hear from us if you are shortlisted. One last thing (pause) and this is important! We expect honesty in our conversations. While most people sell themselves at interviews, we expect you to just be yourself during the process. We value that the most. Good luck!”
In your next conversations, establish comfort. Most people are understandably stiff when they are being judged. Check if they are interviewing elsewhere. Help them realize that it is okay to look elsewhere if they wish too. Just keep you posted at all times on what is going on so there are no surprises. Here is how the end of a typical conversation would pan out.
You: “It was great talking to you. I will contact you after the next round to inform you of the results. One last thing, so are you interviewing elsewhere?”
Candidate: “Not really” (if it is a yes, the honesty conversation went well and you don’t need to re-establish that)
You: “Why? It is absolutely normal to look at other options? Any reason why you are interviewing just with us?”
Candidate: “Reason” (Listen intently for this will help you realize if you need to de-sensitize the person further).
You: “It is perfectly fine if you are looking elsewhere too. Just remember two things – Be honest in letting us know if you start looking around. Secondly, we don’t like surprises.”
While there will always be a few jerks around the place, most candidates by nature are good. While making an offer, end the conversation letting the candidate know that he has the option of not joining the company. Normally, if the candidate has another offer, it comes up magically during negotiations. In such scenarios, I would recommend sharing the pain point around no shows.
“One last thing, remember we don’t like surprises. Normally people don’t share that they are rejecting a company because they feel bad doing it. I understand that. I find it difficult to reject a candidate too. You seem like a nice person and nice people usually feel bad rejecting the offer. They subsequently don’t notify us.
I have confidence that our offer is the right next step for your career. But if you think otherwise, don’t hesitate to let me know. I will understand it. It makes it tougher for me if you just don’t show up on the joining day. The sooner you let me know, the sooner I can proceed with my next candidate.”
Remember - Most candidates are good. They just need to be told what to do and explicitly told what not to do. What tricks do you use to deal with the no show problem? What tips would you like to share with others based on your expertise?