31 Mar 2016

Rescheduling Interviews...

I'm sure I've said it before that Recruitment is not Rocket Science.  That's not to say that it's easy or that anyone can do it - there are certain character traits that make good recruiters and generally they are the same skills that make a good account handler in an agency.  Often, much of the time, the work isn't technically hard, but you do need to be super organised and be able to spin a zillion plates at the same time.  Diplomacy is essential as is the ability to persuade and manage expectations of your clients (or in my case, candidates too...).  In fact, the 'hardest' part of my job is actually the interview scheduling.  This might be a bit of a surprise given that I've got to find candidates, build relationships with them, manage relationships with clients, match the clients with the right candidates etc etc.  You'd think that once you get to the point of scheduling an interview, you're on the last lap. However, that's typically where the fun begins.

In fairness, the speed of interview scheduling is much quicker than in the old days.  Email and texts make ongoing communication throughout the day possible and I can advise a candidate that clients are wanting to schedule a meeting.  Generally, clients are happy to try and be as flexible as possible and to make interviews either early in the morning or later in the evening.  Most clients have been a candidate at some point and they understand it's difficult to take time out during the day or to lose holiday.  Once a date is in the diary, I do my best to keep it there and to minimise any changes.  However, this is outside my control and I don't know if it's the time of year or there is something in the water but at the moment a high proportion of interviews are being re-scheduled - something that is essentially an administrative headache - not difficult, not intellectually demanding but it does require diplomatic skills and as clients are busy people, diary management is essential for them too.

Straightforward interview rescheduling is not a problem - a client meeting has come up or your boss has decided that they need you to be in the office.  I'm happy to be the go-between and to ensure that the client doesn't lose interest and find another date and time ASAP.  What is more of an issue is multiple re-scheduling.  I've recently had a couple of senior level roles where we've been at third and final stage of interview with multiple reschedule requests.  After the third attempt to reschedule, the client lost patience with one candidate and decided to offer the job to another.  They decided that even if the candidate presented a stronger brief to them, they were too high maintenance and the employer is a Gentleman who felt it was disrespectful to them as a business and to the whole process.  With the other example, after I questioned the candidate, it turned out they were stalling to wait for another offer to (hopefully) land.  So we pulled the candidate from the process.  The other offer didn't transpire and now they're back to square one.

I think there are two messages I wanted to communicate.  One is that really, you should only be interviewing for jobs that you really want.  If you are rescheduling interviews because you're either just not that bothered about going to it or you are waiting to hear from another preferred role - you probably shouldn't be interviewing for that job.  I do ask candidates to be honest and transparent with me - I'd never apply pressure to encourage someone to go to an interview - if you don't want the job, it shows and you're just wasting your own time as much as the employer (and recruiter...).

The second message is that if you do need to reschedule an interview, it really helps to put a phone call into the equation.  It's a particular no to texting (reminder to use the medium that is most appropriate for the message).  By all means leave a message and follow up with an email.  But make sure that you are clear about your reasons for rescheduling and try to convey your continued interest in the role.  Most clients are happy to reschedule once, but the warning bells start to go off with a second or multiple changes.  If that's you, question yourself as to how much you want the job.  If you're not enthused by it, you shouldn't be interviewing for it.

The worst thing to do is a 'no show'.  That's pretty much game over in 99% of cases.  At least if you have asked to reschedule, there is a chance that you are still able to be considered for the role.   Whilst 'no show' might feel like being easier than having a difficult conversation, don't forget what a small world the agency and marketing world is in the North, this is the sort of thing that is remembered....