I’ve been in this position before. Many times, as a matter of fact. It’s not fun. And frankly, it’s not right.
Hi! I work as a candidate experience coordinator, and one of my biggest pain-points is dealing with last minute cancellations from our hiring managers that create 30-60-minute gaps in the middle of a candidate interview. I always try to scramble and find a fill in or to rework the schedule, but I’d say more often than not, it’s not manageable due to their tight schedules.
In the past few months, the amount this has happened has decreased significantly (due to a couple of new policies and our killer recruiters!), but it’s still an issue. Too many times I must give a tour and then sit with the candidate to talk about company culture and essentially just kill time until the next scheduled interviewer arrives. I think it’s obvious and doesn’t shed the best light on our company. Any creative suggestions or ways we could fill this time when this does happen? Thank you!
I’m going to start by pointing out the elephant in the room. This is an organization that has a person dedicated to the candidate experience, which is a goodgreat thing. The candidate experience is important. There’s a well-known case study from Virgin Media documenting how they discovered a bad candidate experience cost the organization over $5M annually and how they turned it around. So, the candidate experience isn’t just some feel good thing. It costs organizations significant dollars when it’s not done right.
Which is why I want to point out the obvious. If your organization has someone dedicated to the candidate experience and hiring managers don’t seem to respect the candidate experience, then this needs to be addressed first and foremost. With unemployment at historic lows, organizations cannot afford to send this message. Now, there are potentially some power dynamics at play and we could speculate all day long about them. Bottom-line: there’s an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
That be said, I do understand that sometimes emergencies happen. But I’d like to think that candidates understand that. Recruiters can explain emergencies. But if the company is facing a 30-minute emergency and asks the candidate if they can stick around, here are a few things to consider:
Train a second interviewer. I know at some point the candidate will have to meet the primary hiring manager, but in the meantime, they could meet a supervisor. Or a senior employee. Just make sure the person doing the interview has attended some kind of interview skills training.
Tour the facility. I know the reader note mentioned that they do tours to fill time. If ‘no show’ managers are a frequent occurrence, I would hold the tour until the end of the candidate’s time, so I could always move it up. Versus planning the tour and then discovering a manager isn’t available.
Move the HR interview. Speaking of juggling schedules, if this is happening on a regular basis, I would make the HR interview the one with flexibility. Again, instead of interviewing with HR and then finding out a manager needs to shift their time, I would work around the managers.
None of these solutions are ideal, but they could work. Ultimately the solution is that managers need to conduct their interviews on time. Because if they don’t, all the schedule shuffling in the world by HR isn’t going to help. And they will lose candidates.
Candidates have options. If managers don’t show up on time for interviews, it sends the message that the manager doesn’t respect the candidate’s time. That’s the issue to address.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring Duval Street in Key West, FL9