People missing appointments is part of business. It is annoying and costly. That is why your doctor calls to confirm appointments. Restaurants do the same so that their tables don’t go vacant.
When I first started recruiting, I was appalled at the number of no-shows. As I became better known, the percentage went down, but it still happens. Three times last week, which is unusual, but why I am writing this post. The truth is, when it happens during the daytime – between nine and noon or between two and five – I don’t mind so much. I just keep working. But when it happens before nine, especially when I have come in early to meet someone, or during lunch or after five, I get aggravated because those are prime interviewing times and someone else could have come in. It is especially irksome when it happens at six or later because it means I have stayed late waiting for someone.
Late appointments (after 5pm) get cancelled at the last minute all the time. I fully understand, but I don’t forgive. Once upon a time I was a working account guy. And, come four or five in the afternoon, everyone starts rushing to complete the day’s work so it doesn’t get put off until tomorrow. When it comes to outside appointments, I understand what happens – inertia takes over. So does social life. And seeing a recruiter is not always the top priority, even when people are unhappy in their jobs. But that doesn't excuse simply not showing up or only calling ten minutes before the appointment.
Years ago, a friend of mine, not in the business, asked me a fair question. He said, “Who in their right mind would stand up a recruiter? I understand cancelling on your doctor for a routine appointment, but you could influence their whole life.” I fully agreed. But many people simply look at a recruiter as a temporary solution to a current problem. Others are just plain rude and uncaring. They don't see us as a trusted long-term adviser.
In 2008, I called to meet a candidate. He stood me up twice without a call. About a week ago, he called me to meet. He missed his first appointment but emailed an apology and rescheduled. Then he missed the second appointment with no phone call and no email. Of course, he is completely off my list and it is noted in my records. Despite his seniority in the business, I cannot believe that he has the excellence that his title or position would indicate.
I understand that people get called into last minute meetings. Or bosses demand that someone stay at their desk through lunch. And I know that clients call. It happens. But no phone call or email? No explanation or apology? I wrote about fear in the business a while ago. It is pervasive. Who would ever preclude a subordinate from making a phone call to cancel an appointment? And if they did, or if things were so intense that one cannot dare to excuse themselves for a minute, who would want to work for that person or in that kind of environment?
Anyway, now that I have vented. Here is my question. What if I were to bill candidates for my time when they stand me up?