Why Some Candidates Are Skipping Out on Interviews - And Why You Shouldn’t

John Krautzel
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In a strong labor market with unemployment below 4 percent in the summer of 2018, more and more employers are finding themselves shorthanded and struggling to hire top talent. Many candidates are skipping out on job interviews and not even bothering to call and cancel the interview ahead of time. Discover why ghosting an interview is a problem and why you shouldn't do it as a job seeker.

Some employers report as many as half of job candidates for a particular position blow off job interviews, do not show up and do not even call to cancel. Although no one keeps formal statistics on this practice, various informal reports put ghosting interviews at about 20 to 50 percent, while typical numbers may be closer to 10 percent in any given month. Some candidates go so far as to accept an offer and then fail to show up on the first day of work. These tactics could have consequences in your professional career.

No industry is immune from this practice. A carport company in California had nearly half of its 65 candidates bail on interviews. A call center in Atlanta saw similar levels from its 10 monthly hires in 2018. White-collar workers in trucking, manufacturing and construction fail to show up at their job interviews at a 20 percent clip, so it's not just blue-collar type jobs that are seeing truancy problems.

Why People Ghost Job Interviews

The red-hot labor market may be to blame. While the May 2018 unemployment rate sits at 3.8 percent, a full 2.4 percent of all workers quit a job to find another one. The figure for people quitting jobs is an all-time high, and it's because companies have a lot of open positions. For the first time in history, there are more job openings than candidates to fill them. This means there are plenty of options for candidates looking to get ahead in their careers and increase their salaries.

Another reason workers don't bother to call and cancel job interviews may stem from a feeling of comeuppance or turnabout is fair play. During the height of the Great Recession in 2007 and 2009, there were reports of companies ghosting candidates and never following up after interviews. Employers may still ghost you in a tight labor market because they have time constraints, a broken recruiting system or perhaps the employer felt you were not the right choice for the job. Just because a company didn't contact you doesn't mean you should return the favor.

Why You Shouldn't Skip Out

Candidates who miss out on interviews have wasted opportunities to network for future positions. Blowing off an interview limits your possibilities and may hinder your career because you may not get another chance like that again. If you at least sit through an interview and then politely decline an offer, you leave the door open for an employer to call you at a future date to see if you're interested in another position.

Job interviews are still precious commodities for job seekers looking to improve their careers. Even if you don't stay at the job very long, make the best out of a situation and at least increase your networking potential by doing the right thing and showing up for interviews.

Photo courtesy of web20 donkey at Flickr.com


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  • Adrian P.
    Adrian P.

    Ive been told i didnt qualify for durham school bus an they didnt even give me a shot this was in august 2018 where is the opportunity now an days to busy judging people

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @James K. thanks for your comment. Unfortunately there's not much that you can do. You could call and ask if they are planning to drug test prospective candidates. Then you won't waste your time applying. Many job postings will list that they are drug-free workplaces. Not sure how this is going to change since many states as well as DC allow recreational marijuana. The downside is - if you refuse to take the drug test, game over for that position. I spent about 12 years involved in the Navy's drug program and I hated it, too. I never considered it as racist - just an invasion of our privacy. Companies in the states where it's legal are still trying to figure out where they stand with drug testing. I foresee many changes with this in the coming years. In the meantime, try calling a company of interest and ask them if they drug test. That's pretty much all you can do.

  • James K.
    James K.

    I consider drug screening an invasion of privacy and racist. So I won't work for a company that requires such, especially knowing that the industry leaders Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook do not require it. Unfortunately, I waste a lot of time applying for positions that end up requiring a drug screen. Headhunters should maintain lists of companies that do drug screening, but they don't. What can job seekers do to eliminate this waste of everyone's time?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Denise Figueroa thanks for your comment. If you are slated for an interview with Amazon, you can be sure that they already know how old you as well as everything else about you. Amazon has a very stringent hiring practice. Maybe most wouldn't agree with me but I believe in complete honesty when it comes to a job interview. If you plan to be retired, then tell them. Will it hurt your chances of getting hired? Maybe. You could say something like I was thinking about retiring at 66 but, depending upon my employment situation, I might stay longer. Remember, this is your interview. There are no right or wrong answers as long as the answers are honest and truthful. Keep us posted.

  • Denise Figueroa
    Denise Figueroa

    I am 61 years old and going on an interview with Amazon. If the interviewer asks: how do you see yourself in the next five years? I see myself retired, obviously that cannot be my answer. What is the correct answer?

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