Keep the Momentum Going When Recruiting New Employees

When hiring managers cancel interviews at the last minute, momentum comes to a screeching halt. All of a sudden, candidates begin to wonder if the company values their skills as much as it said it did.
By Jay Dubac
August 23, 2019

In this competitive market, momentum during the hiring process is more important than ever. Getting solid candidates to consider making a move to a new company, especially if they’re contentedly employed, requires a lot of prep work and relationship-building. Once they’re interested enough to commit to an interview, they spend a lot of time getting prepared by researching the potential company and hiring managers and familiarizing themselves with that company’s website.

When hiring managers cancel interviews at the last minute, all of that momentum comes to a screeching halt. All of a sudden, candidates begin to wonder if the company values their skills as much as it said it did. Any doubts they had about changing jobs are magnified, and any excitement they’d built up can dwindle.

Nobody Likes to Be Canceled On

It’s important to remember that during the interview process, the company isn’t just assessing the candidate—the candidate is also assessing the company. Last-minute cancellations give a bad impression of the company; it shows a lack of respect for the candidate’s time. Most candidates don’t have weekdays off, so they may have taken a day off specifically to come to the interview.

Cancellations are even more frustrating when the candidate has had flyouts or travel planned. Airlines often charge cancellation fees, and the candidate might have to cancel childcare plans or hotel reservations as well. If relocation was on the table, the candidate will be nervous if the company is showing a lack of reliability early on. So the best thing a hiring manager can do is be fully committed throughout the hiring process—and show it. Managers must make interviews a priority and do everything in their power to prevent cancellations from happening, especially at the last minute.

Something is Better than Nothing

If something comes up that throws a wrench in established interview plans, it’s better to make compromises than to cancel outright. For instance, what happens if a hiring manager has a face-to-face meeting scheduled with a prospective candidate but gets sick and can’t come into the office? The interviewer could cancel, or he could ask the candidate to participate in a phone or Skype interview instead. That way, both parties’ preparation won’t go to waste, and the candidate can see that the interviewer is interested enough in them to work around difficult situations.

If an emergency meeting comes up that overlaps with a scheduled interview time, the hiring authority could hold a shorter interview rather than canceling the interview altogether. There can always be follow-up interviews if there are more questions to be asked; but by making time to give the candidate some attention instead of canceling, the hiring manager shows reliability, commitment and interest—all of which are critical to wooing high-caliber candidates.

Personal Explanations Go A Long Way

Even for committed, reliable professionals, life happens: meetings run long, kids get sick and emergencies arise. When these things come up and an alternate plan won’t work, cancellations can become necessary. But there’s a simple way to reduce the damage: pick up the telephone and reach out to the candidate directly. Emails are easy, but they’re also impersonal and can be abrupt. In a situation like this, a phone call is a hiring manager’s best bet for salvaging the momentum. An interviewer should tell the candidate what happened, apologize sincerely and offer to reschedule as soon as it’s convenient for them. Candidates will be much more understanding and less concerned if the interviewer reaches out to them personally to take responsibility and assure them of the company’s continued interest in their candidacy.

When it comes to making a strong hire, the team concept is key. Companies want top talent to join their team, and that starts with treating them like a teammate from day one of the hiring process. To do that, hiring managers should respect their time by fully committing to interview times and make the effort to reach out personally when unexpected situations prevent them from keeping their commitments. That way, strong candidates will stay interested in the company and the hiring manager can keep up the momentum to bring them on board.

by Jay Dubac
Jay joined Kimmel & Associates in 2017 as an Associate in the logistics and supply chain division. In 2019, he began applying his relationship-building skills and commitment to service to the Midwest general construction market.

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