Editor's note: Inc.com columnist Alison Green answers questions about workplace and management issues--everything from how to deal with a micromanaging boss to how to talk to someone on your team about body odor.
A reader writes:
What is the best way to follow up with a candidate who was a no-show for their second interview? I plan to follow up by email, but am unsure as to how to word the message or what exactly to say. I don't want to sound overly accusatory, if something serious did happen, but I also am annoyed that they were a no-show with no call or even an email.
Also, how do you feel about sending "reminder" emails the morning of a meeting? Our biz dev manager thinks I should send them, but to me it seems a little desperate, and they should obviously be able to remember a scheduled meeting (in my opinion) if they are someone we want to seriously consider hiring.
Plenty of employers won't even send follow-up emails when people no-show for interviews, figuring that if they forgot the appointment or just decided not to show up, that's not someone they want to hire. (Which is true, and we'll get to more about that in a minute.) It's certainly possible that there's a different explanation, of course--that something serious happened--although that's very rarely the explanation. But rarely isn't never, so if you want to check in, I'd send a very brief email that simply says: "Since you didn't make our 3:00 meeting today, I'm assuming you're no longer interested in pursuing the position, but please let me know if that's not the case. Otherwise, best of luck in your search."
And then drop it. If the person does get back in touch with you, a candidate who had a legitimate emergency will be mortified and extremely apologetic, and you can go from there. But if they seem in any way cavalier about it (they just forgot the appointment, "something came up," or whatever), then you explain that because you didn't hear from them, you've moved on with other candidates.
And no, absolutely do not send reminder emails the morning of the interview. You do not want to hire anyone who needs a reminder email for something as important as an interview--not unless you also want to send reminder emails about work each day while they're working for you. People are on their best behavior during hiring processes and they're not likely to get more responsible once they have the job.
If someone would forget the interview without a reminder, that's hugely important information that you want to have about them--possibly more important than anything you'd learn in the interview. So please tell your business development manager that you want to screen out people who aren't reliable and can't manage their own appointments.
Remember, there are all kinds of ways to learn valuable information about candidates during your entire hiring process--it's not just about their cover letter, résumé, and references. It's also about whether they do what they say they're going to do (do they remember to send you that article they promised to send during their interview?), whether they meet their own deadlines (when they say they'll send you references by tomorrow, does it really come by then, or at least do you get an update?), whether they show up on time, how they treat people, and so forth. Don't put yourself at a disadvantage by blocking out a major source of that type of information.
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