So, you’ve shortlisted a dozen candidates from hundreds of applications, you’ve set aside a day from your busy calendar, the emails have gone out, but only a couple of candidates have confirmed they can attend the interview. What is going on?
With so many people out of work, surely candidates should be jumping at an opportunity to prove themselves to you? The interviews are being held next Thursday, so why can’t they make it?
Well, not all of your applicants will currently be unemployed. Of course, there will be genuine reasons for being unable to attend from the serious family emergency to a candidate reflecting that they do not want the post after all (perhaps they live too far away?). However, the most common is likely to be “I can’t get the time off work”. As much as this is an inconvenience to you (I mean, you have managed to set aside a whole day for this) imagine what the candidate is going through…
Plucked from possibly a couple of hundred applicants and after a dozen or so rejections (some employers won’t even have said ‘thanks, but no thanks’) they have finally been invited to interview. Now, their job quest really begins – the prep work, rehearsing answers to possible questions, researching your company’s website, picking an outfit, a new haircut, sorting out travel and timings and controlling their nerves. Oh, and asking their current boss for a day off at short notice …
The candidate will know that their boss will find any day-off request difficult to cover, especially if others are already on annual leave or the date coincides with an important meeting or seminar. It may be that their boss knows they are looking to move on, but checks the rota and sympathises that if it was ‘any day other than next Thursday…’
So when you think about it, a candidate can be put in a really difficult position. Short of chucking a sickie, this half-hour appointment you’ve offered is now a serious hurdle.
And we’re sure your candidate wouldn’t want their prospective new employer to know that they’re prepared to fake an illness to get a day off work!
Interviews are a terribly time-consuming exercise. You’ve already spent many hours preparing a job description and an advert, not to mention sifting through all those hopeful CVs and covering letters. Finding the time within a busy work schedule, making sure other staff members (HR manager and/or department manager) are available to attend at the same time is a nightmare and, if the present incumbent has already left, you need this position filled yesterday!
So how can you achieve a balance? How can you ensure the candidate you have your eye on has every opportunity to attend your interview?
Time for some radical thought. Would it genuinely be an issue if you held some interviews in the evening? Or even at the weekend? Or by Skype?
Understandably, this is your time being eaten into, or your family time being taken up with work issues.
However, the perfect candidate could become that perfect employee – the one that takes a little stress out of your day, the one that you can trust to do their job well so you really can relax on your days off. So would hanging around the office for an extra half hour, or even nipping out to a local café on a Saturday morning to do an interview, really be out of the question?
Look at it another way – Would you consider breaking the mould for a client to seal an important contract? It’s worth a thought…