How to prevent job interview no-shows

job interview candidates
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Not only do I need staff, I have some prospective hires not even showing up for interviews! Is this normal? Can I prevent it? They are wasting my time and theirs.

– Restaurant owner, Philadelphia


No-call no-shows are the bane of every restaurant owner. Now they are happening for interviews as well. Indeed, it does seem to be the new normal, with unemployment low and everyone hurting for staff. Owners and managers who I’ve spoken with consistently share that they have been ghosted by interviewees and even new hires in the window between offer and onboarding.

The desperation for owners to find talent has shifted the power dynamic. I remember the days of being told to come to an interview at 8 a.m. on a Thursday. There was no negotiation or deciding if the time was convenient for me: If I wanted the job, I would be there at 7:45 with my resume and notepad. Now, owners find themselves working to entice candidates to even show up.

Tonya Breslow, owner of Mis en Place Restaurant Consulting, which specializes in staffing, shared some tips with owners and managers in her network. These include:

  • Time is of the essence. Most candidates are applying to multiple job postings and tend to respond to those who reach out to them first.
  • Text is the preferred method of communication.
  • Set expectations upfront with the candidate. Ask them to notify you if they need to cancel or withdraw from consideration.
  • Provide your street address and always include a nearby bus route or train line to make it easy for them to get to your location.”


This level of hand-holding may be surprising to some managers.

Breslow advises confirming the interview by phone or text as you would confirm a reservation with a guest. Finally, while it is frustrating to have an interview no-show, look at the bright side: The interview did its job in preventing you from hiring an employee who will exhibit the same inconsiderate habits.

More on interviewing here.

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