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How to Prevent Employees From Reneging on a Signed Offer and Pulling No-Shows

What a soul-crushing drag it is when a new employee reneges on their work contract.

All the time that went into finding and interviewing a candidate, declining others - and then nada. Some bland excuse. Or not even that. Just an empty chair and your twiddling thumbs on the big day.

But there's things you can do to prevent this. Or at least be better prepared.

Strap in for an exciting tale in which we challenge lady luck, slay some dragons and save the prince so he has his bum on the chair on Monday at 9am.

As the clock moved to 5pm, Linda* felt confident that this time it'd be alright. Normally, most new employees who reneged on a job offer wrote an email, a few days before their start. Only a handful had the guts to call, and, of course, no one ever showed up in person to apologise.

But Anna, the new junior customer service agent, was supposed to start the next day and there were no signs that she would flake out. 

Linda runs an ecommerce company of 25 across two offices in London and India. Recently, her recruiting has been slowed down severely. Many newly hired employees reneged on their work contract or simply didn't show up on their first day, never to be heard from again. 

"I always thought that this was just a problem with low-skilled workers, but here it's software developers and marketers who flake on me", says Linda. The staggering number: Almost 50% of people who sign on Linda's dotted line don't show up. "It feels like a curse." she says. And it's been like this for almost a year now. 

With Anna, Linda was really keen not to let her anxiety show, so she made sure her emails looked like business as usual. Anna's last email was five days ago - she complimented Linda on a recent milestone reached (40,000 Facebook fans) and said she was looking forward to the big day. Linda was confident that this time, the coin would show heads. 

It didn't show heads.

The email came at 6:16pm. Subject line "A difficult message to write."

Linda didn't even want to read it. 

A dirty little secret?

Admittedly, Linda's case is extremely rare. A 50% reneging/no-show rate is a thing of nightmares that few other businesses have to endure.

Two of our customers we spoke to about this topic have reneging / no-show rates of 10% and 15%, respectively. Both are large companies with great consumer and employer branding.

So it is a problem that almost every executive and recruiter is familiar with in principle - no-shows and renegs are a fact of life, and a not well discussed one, on top of that. A cursory Google search on any HR topic usually results in pages on pages of more or less thoroughly researched articles. This one - not so much.

It's a bit like companies' dirty little secret that few want to admit. 

So we decided to explore the topic and compile a few tips on how to minimise the number of renegs and no-shows and how to deal with the inevitable ones.

 

The cost of it all

For Linda's company, a string of no-shows is devastating: First and foremost it impacts team morale. People can't avoid feeling collectively like a loser at the prom.

It's also expensive: All the time and effort that goes into screening and interviewing. The average in-house mid-level hire costs somewhere between £3,000 - £5,000 in internal resources. (At least no fee is due when a no-show comes via a recruiting firm.)

Finally, it's a drag on the company's progress. Roles take twice the time to fill. 

Oh, and there's the impact on yourself, the recruiter or hiring manager: I mean, what a pain in the neck, right? Who does this? All the bloody time it took to schedule that #@!$ guy’s interviews and what with all the back and forth with his questions on the contract… aargh!!!

Easy, easy. We feel your pain. It has happened to us, too. And writing about this here will be every bit as therapeutic as it is intended to help you.

But before we put together a list of measures that will help you anticipate or even prevent a few no-shows, we want to do some housekeeping. 

 

It's not evil, it just is - period

It's important to remove emotions from this topic. When someone reneges, it's a big blow to your efforts and to your ego, even if not all of us would admit to the latter. Even when people have the decency to say it's not you, it's me, of course everyone knows that it actually IS you. 

But the more of a pragmatic look you take at the problem, the better for your company and, in the end, for your own emotional well being. (Stoicism is a good philosophy to adopt in this context. What matters isn't what happens to us but how we react to what happens to us.)

Because as soon as you remove your ego from it, the more clearly you will see if this is

  • happening too often for your taste and therefore worth investigating your options to reduce its frequency
  • an occasional case of "manure happens" which is best approached with a shrug and a smile. 

In the course of this research, I spoke to a few people who, as employees, reneged. None of them did it haphazardly. These tend to be soul-crushing dilemmas that people remember forever.

Often, these dilemmas grow on a soil of unfortunate timing and significant financial pressures: One person I spoke to, Rodrigo*, got an offer from an elite postgraduate school right after he signed a job contract with a company. He had been accepted to the school once before - a currency devaluation in his home country had thrown a spanner in the works and he hadn't been able to go. But now he could. This school had been his dream for a long time. 

What would you have done? 

Granted, my interviewees were a self-selecting bunch of decent people. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are plenty of sociopaths and salary mercenaries who probably wouldn't freely share their stories.

With them, it's best to adopt the attitude good riddance and thank goodness you unmasked yourself this way, and not by making an ethical shortcut while working at our company

But there are many shades of grey between these two edge cases of Rodrigo on the one hand, and the sociopath on the other. Some people want to keep their options open between attractive job alternatives; others have masked their low self confidence during interviews with you, but now are terrified on the inside that they won't be any good in the new job, throw their nerves overboard and renege.

Others may simply be less smart than you. I know, that sounds weird, but it's worth keeping in mind when you rant to a colleague about the reneger: "Well sure I understand that X was happening in her life, but why couldn't she simply do Y? And instead told me this whole story about Z?" The answer is: Some people are less creative and resourceful than you when dealing with a tricky situation. Something that would have been a better solution in your mind might not even occur to other people as a viable alternative. Remember Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. 

Sometimes there's also reasons beyond work. Work and personal life intersect. An illness, family obligations, a divorce - all these, and much more, can affect people's ability to honour a commitment. And often these things are too personal to tell a stranger (you) about. So instead, people just make something up that sounds more or less credible.

So the key message here is:

Even if it's hard, be kind and charitable:

Not only is this the zen thing to do but it will allow you to take countermeasures in a more sober and rational way. 

And countermeasures there are aplenty! We as employers are not powerless before this phenomenon. We can both prevent the edge cases and be better prepared for the inevitable letdowns.

These are the areas in which we can take countermeasures:

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Let's explore them in order. 

Things to do before the offer

When it comes to avoiding renegs and no-shows, the interview phase has two purposes:

  • Selling yourself. You simply want to be the top choice for the candidate. If you're the best option, there's no need for the candidate to keep theirs open. 
  • Getting to know the candidate as well as possible to probe for signs of ethical ambiguity (which would increase the risk of them being someone who reneges). 

Some companies neglect the selling part, especially with more junior hires. This is a big mistake, because younger people are, on average, more likely to renege or no-show, mainly because they are less sensitive to the negative reputational impact of their actions.

So don't neglect selling yourself. Especially if you want smart, high quality people who often have many employment alternatives to choose from. 

Sell yourself

Of course this doesn't mean you boast about your company's success. Selling happens on a subtler level where you answer the questions in the candidate's head.

In the second half of the interview, the candidate asks you questions. He may be asking you the typical things about the future of the your industry and what your company's challenges are.

But in his head, these questions are more important: Will I enjoy working for this person? Will I learn something from them? Will they treat me decently? 

Often, he won't dare ask these questions out right. Too many candidates succumb to the idea of a power imbalance during a job interview and paint themselves into the supplicant corner, instead of justly viewing it as a two-sided game in which they are exploring if they want to work in this company. 

So show them who you are! What kind of a boss are you? (which is, by the way, a GREAT question for a candidate to ask their future boss). What does a 1-1 meeting with you look like? How do you manage your team? How do you balance autonomy with oversight? When was the last time you promoted someone and why was that? 

Even if the candidate doesn't ask these questions, volunteer the answers to them, in the manner of "You should know about me - here's how I operate". Every single time I have done this in an interview, the candidate appreciated it. The great thing about this technique is that it communicates on two levels:

1) It gives the candidate very valuable information what they can expect from the job. After all, the boss' personality is a key factor in people's job (un)happiness.

2) It communicates on a meta level that you are someone who is self aware. And self-awareness is the first step towards being able to change and adapt to circumstances - which is an extremely important trait to have as a boss.

The second point is especially powerful if you throw the occasional weakness into the mix. Not a weakness in the sense of "sometimes I'm so insecure, I cry myself to sleep at night". But rather something like "I'm not great with following up on things we agreed verbally. I need things written down -- so when you need me to do something for you, send me an email".

Basically an owner's manual for how your team can handle you. 

Besides selling yourself, sell your company or department culture: "This is how we do things here." Give anecdotes that illustrate positive things about your company culture. Don't limit it to purely work-related topics. Spontaneous celebrations, people doing nice things for each other, initiatives someone started that are now company policy - all these are great things to mention about your organsation.

Another very important thing to sell the candidate on is how their contribution fits in the overall organisation's mission. Research shows that one of the biggest contributing factors to job satisfaction is the feeling of providing a meaningful contribution to a worthy goal. This is how the social animal homo sapiens is wired, after all - we want to feel that we are adding value to the tribe and earn our status. 

This can be tricky particularly in the context of low-level jobs. It's hard to come up with reasons why, for example, a backoffice data entry job is rewarding and meaningful. But that is your challenge which you should try to crack. One tip here: Try to find anecdotes where a great job in this position made a big difference. If necessary, research it! Speak to the backoffice data entry team manager and look for cases where someone with a track record of speed and few errors inspired others to become faster typists. Or someone who gamified their work and increased team productivity this way, which made the department less costly, which in turn got the department head a kudos from HQ which he then used to throw a party for the whole team. 

Finally, it's important to remember that people buy people. If you can, get your most charismatic, visionary and knowledgeable team members to attend recruiting events and do candidate interviews. For the right kind of candidates, the idea of working with someone impressive will trump perk or (marginal) salary considerations. 

Revisit the interview process

If you are in a similar situation as Linda and have too many renegs and no-shows, examine your interview process. This is not the place to go into recruiting basics, so I won't elaborate. But it could help to do a reset and to stress-test your process if you think there could be something off - are you maybe promising something that later turns out you can't keep?

I sincerely recommend the book Who for a treasure trove of ideas on how to make your hiring process more rational and less subjective and gut-driven. 

Get to know the candidate

Read the signs

Think about all the times someone reneged. Does anything, in retrospect, seem like an off remark or question that could be interpreted as them doubting you or your company? 

These are some of the warning that indicate a higher likelihood of reneging: 

  • Candidate has a history of pursuing a monetisable hobby / passion project (e.g. cooking, blogging, fashion design, building an app etc). There's usually a higher-than-average chance that they will reneg if their heart is with a project that they would pursue full time if it wasn't for the need to have a steady paycheck. 
  • Candidate asks you probing questions about the business and how you run your team, and when you answer, you get the slight feeling that they're not 100% buying what you're saying. An occasionally slightly sceptical smirk, loss of attention - those are small warning signs.
  • Candidate displays a lack of focus by interviewing with companies that are all over the map - different industries, different functions, different seniorities. 

This is not to say that these things are red flags that should result in a rejection of an otherwise excellent candidate. They are just micro-indicators that the applicant in question might be at a higher risk level of later reneging or not showing.

Test their ethics

Try to find out if they are someone who would not have moral qualms about reneging or not showing. 

There's two ways to go about it: The direct and indirect approach. 

You can ask ethics questions directly, such as:

  • Tell me about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma - at work or, if you're ok talking about it, in your personal life. How did you resolve it? 
  • What would you do in a scenario like this (describe an ethically challenging workplace situation, ideally a real case from your own organisation)
  • When is it ok to cut corners? After all, we're only human and nobody's perfect? 

The problem with such questions, though, is twofold:

  • If you ask more than one ethics question, the candidate will start to worry why you're asking all this. Is there a history of dodginess going on in this company? 
  • When asked about their ethics, only few people will admit to cutting corners. Everyone in a job interview will have their guards up and make sure they give the correct answer.

So instead, it's best to keep your internal ethics radar humming and indirectly pick up on things the candidate says. If they drop an ambiguous comment, dig deeper. 

For example, as the candidate tells you about their work experience, you realise they might be taking credit for something they only marginally contributed to. Or they make a disparaging remark about someone else where the narrative of a story didn't call for it. Or you hear something that would indicate an overly big focus on money. Ask them to elaborate on what they just said. If you listen carefully, they might reveal a gaping hole in their moral fabric. 

Test their commitment

This is a useful technique in any case, not just in the context of preventing renegs and no-shows.

Especially in early stages of the interview process, often before interviews proper start, it's worthwhile to have the candidates complete short assignments that are relevant to their future role. This can be as simple as requiring them, when they apply, to write an email with the top three reasons why they would be a good fit for the role.

In more senior roles, you can go as far as asking them to prepare a presentation where they outline in detail their first 90 days on the job. 

This method allows you to screen out those candidates who "spray and pray" their job applications. 

Vet them

If you are not 100% certain about the candidate's commitment, include a few more reference checks on the candidate than you would normally do. If they are senior enough you can include a check using a service like Onfido, offering checks on background, criminal record, employment history and negative media.

Needless to say that reference checks that an employee provides are to be enjoyed with a grain of salt. If the candidate is on Linkedin, try to find people they have not referenced (of course they should not be at their current company) who could give an alternative view on the employee.

 

Things to do between offer and signature

Plan for the worst case

If the interview process gave you some reason to doubt the candidate's ethics or their enthusiasm (but not enough to reject the candidate), and otherwise they are your top pick, prepare for the low likelihood (or in Linda's case: 50/50 chance) of them rejecting the offer or reneging on a signed contract. 

How to prepare? Simple: Try to not reject other candidates who you would also hire but who narrowly lost out against the top candidate.

This in itself can be an ethical challenge because you absolutely don't want to give someone false hope. However, as long as you stick to these three rules towards the also-rans, you're in the clear:

  • Don't say anything that would make a reasonable person conclude that they are the #1 contender for the job.
  • Don't make them prepare for (further) interviews with you.
  • If they indicate that they have a competitive offer, actively encourage them to take it because you can't promise them anything

As with any ethical dilemma, it's always better to err on the side of being too ethical. But on the other hand, you don't want to be holier than the pope. There's no need to proactively broadcast to all other candidates that they are out of the race before the top candidate's ink has dried on the contract. Simply stretching the intervals between communication is often enough to buy you time. 

As things progress, you might get signals from your new employee that make your doubts about them disappear (e.g. you see that they are actively preparing for the job by e.g. proactively meeting with their future teammates). In that case, of course, you can adjust and give the final rejection to the other candidates. 

Finally, another option is to be open about the rejected candidates' runner up status. It works in top tier business schools who have waiting lists. If you're on a waiting list, you still might get in if enough first choice picks decline. It happens all the time. So why wouldn't it work for employers?

Not all candidates will accept this second tier status, but many will. 

Outline the cost of a reneg 

Especially among graduates and other junior employees, there is a stronger tendency to reneg or no-show than among experienced hires. Bright Network claims that in 2015, graduates reneged on 8.2% of offers. 

A less-than-subtle, but probably very effective measure to take would be to send a one-page document along with the offer that frankly discusses renegs. Key messages in this statement would be:

  • We're sending this document to everyone who we make an offer to, it's not that we're singling you out. 
  • Renegs and no-shows are a problem for graduate employers - in 2015, 8% of offers were reneged on. This creates a lot of headaches for employers.
  • We would love you to be part of our team. We think you have great potential and believe you'll be very successful. We wouldn't have given you an offer otherwise. 
  • But because we believe in you, we have had to reject other candidates who narrowly lost out against you but who are also smart, driven, and undoubtedly will be successful in other great companies. If you were to reneg, that would be extremely unfair towards them.
  • Reneging may seem like a viable option to some people, however they do not consider the long term consequences of this behaviour. In a Benivo survey among employers, two thirds said, when asked about what they think of people who reneg on an accepted job offer: "I think this person is unprofessional and I don't want anything to do with them." Reputations stick and people ask each other for references all the time. You may be getting a short term advantage by reneging, but in the long run, it will damage your career. 
  • Once you accept and sign, we will send personalised thank you messages to all the people you referenced, thanking them for their endorsement of you and saying that we are looking forward to have you join our company. 
  • So please make up your mind. We look forward to hearing from you.

delicate dance of push and pull

Once you've made your point that reneging is a big no-no, it doesn't make much sense to rush people to sign on the dotted line. Exploding offers ("Accept within 48 hours or else...") are just bad form. If you set the deadline for them to accept the offer too tightly, you're practically inviting them to later reneg. 

On the other hand, gentle pressure helps most people with their decision making. They have a clear deadline to work towards.

Generally, a week is a good rule of thumb. During that week, don't push them at all. And if they ask for an extension of the deadline, grant it within reason. You won't gain anything by staying firm and being all puffed up about them needing to show commitment. People have options - so do you. Give them time to think. 

However, as now the tables have officially turned and the ball is in their court, it's now on you to entice them:

  • Send an email that re-emphasises how they'd be a great fit for the role.
  • If you can, wheel out more senior people in the organisation for the candidate to meet ("our Head of Europe is in town and would enjoy meeting you and answer any questions you may have.")
  • Invite them for team drinks. No need to organise them specifically for them, but if a crowd is regularly going to the pub anyway, invite the candidate along. 

Which brings us to the most important part:

Things to do between signature and (supposed) job start

Stay in touch

This is where all the reneging and the decision to pull no-shows take place. It's the most sensitive time.

You have two goals in this phase: 

  1. Uncover the inevitable as soon as possible. The actions you take are designed to accelerate their "coming out" (either by omission - not answering your emails - or by forcing them to actively declare themselves). That way, you can restart the hiring process and not lose more time than you already did. 
  2. Envelop the edge cases (e.g. when they are teetering between two jobs) with so much positive communication, social engagement and culture goodness that they will join you and not the other company. It won't hurt to keep selling yourself. As we said before, great candidates have many options, and someone who is capable of reneging isn't automatically a bad person. 

The most important thing to do here is to keep taking the new employee's pulse. Where is their head at? How quickly do they reply to your emails and how enthusiastically do they react to invitations? 

There are many things you can do between signatures and the start date. The following is just a laundry list - definitely don't do all of these things. Otherwise you'll look like a basketcase and drive the candidate into reneging because they're freaked out about your stalky antics.

Shorten the period, if possible 

The French version of "out of sight out of mind" is better in this context: "loin des yeux, loin du coeur." - If you're far from the eyes, you're far from the heart. If there's a long waiting period, chances increase that the candidate will fall out of love with you. Mainly because a good candidate will be regularly exposed to the shiny bling of alternative job offers.

It's best to build some urgency into the interview process so that the waiting period doesn't get too long in the first place.

Frame the role as one that needs urgent filling, so that they shorten their planned in-between-jobs holiday from a month to a week. Of course, all in good faith, without creating false impressions. But a little bit of pressure is ok. 

Add a social dimension to the waiting period 

Invite the newbie to any existing social function your company is organising. If there's more than one employee waiting to start, organise something just for them. This doesn't have to be a Michelin starred dinner - simply gather a few good souls who are pub-goers anyway and have them take the newbie(s) in.

Make sure you pick up the tab for the new team members and that there is senior presence (either yourself or an HR person) so that they never feel left alone and so that their future colleagues keep behaving professionally, even if it gets late. (You definitely want to avoid this backfiring, just because Jon from Sales ended up drunkenly hitting on one of the recruits). 

Use logistics as an excuse to be in touch

Shift some of the things you normally only do after someone starts into the pre-boarding period. For example, if a new joiner has to submit a copy of their passport and fill out a paper form with their bank account details - ask the new joiner to send the passport scan and fill out the form online. It's a good excuse to contact them and it prompts a response.

This is a good example of a list of "Before you arrive" tasks for the employee to do.

Ask them if they'd like to get access to their new email account

...and be included in their team's most important correspondence. Make sure it is optional and that you don't expect them to act on it. But if they enthusiastically agree and start interacting with the team - all the better. 

Give them reading materials

Here again, it's important it doesn't feel forced, but we're all big girls and boys. Ideally, it would be both internal documents (so that they start feeling like part of the team already) and industry reports that help them get up to speed on their new job. 

Tell them about the benefits

Another innocuous excuse to stay in touch. Send them a summary of company benefits and how they will be able to access them. This reminds them of the goodness that awaits. 

Reduce first day anxiety

An important measure to take for those potential renegers who are anxious about their new role. Especially if it's their first job or they have been out of the job market for a while or they look slightly less self confident: Send them a nicely worded email that explains the first few days and ensure they have enough things to do when they arrive.

One of the biggest new-job related fears for people is that noone will be there to support them and they will be just sitting there, browsing the web, not knowing what to do with themselves. A clearly structured plan for the first week, scheduling intro meetings etc can work wonders. 

Bonus points for assigning them a buddy and introducing them via email, adding their picture and prompting the buddy to respond to the email straight away. 

Ironically, the more you pile on their plate, the happier they will be in the first few days. 

Invite them for lunch and give them a tour of the office

Even if you have done so already. Have them briefly say hi to as many people as possible, but avoid it feeling forced. The goal is to gently ease them into their future work environment and make the transition smooth rather than abrupt. 

Send them a starter package

Have them pick up their mobile phone and laptop and any other tools they may need. Include their new business cards and message pads with their name on it to make them feel like they have already formally joined the team.

This package will likely startle them because it doesn’t happen at most firms, but it will also show that you trust them and that you are invested in them.

Send a new hire survey

A useful tool to have in any case. Create a feedback survey for new hires to see how they feel about the hiring process. At this stage, people will be confident enough to give their honest opinion.

Have them do a trial day

Logistics permitting, have the new joiner come in for a first day at work before their start date. Organise a few people whose work they can shadow, include the new employee in team meetings, give them a simple task to finish. 

You can make their trial day part of the work agreement, so that the long waiting period is punctuated with a full day of presence and social interactions with their new team. 

Give them a freebie

A bottle of wine with a nice card in the mail, a thoughtful book about something you discussed - all these are small tokens of appreciation that will not necessarily change someone's mind to not reneg. But they will increase their level of guilt if they indeed DO harbour such thoughts. It will make them speed up their decision to spill the beans. 

Support their relocation

If they relocate for the job, you have a treasure trove of excuses to be in touch. Support them with their move, ask if you can help with choosing a flat (e.g. by giving your opinion on the neighbourhood they are about to choose), send them a few links to interesting things to do and see in their new city, empathetically ask if they have had their farewell party etc. There's many angles you can take here. Here's some ideas on how to support your relocating employees.

Along with graduates, relocating employees are at a higher risk to renege on an offer than the average candidate. Moving into a different city or country is a big cause of stress which could end up being too much for some candidates. So make sure your communication with relocaters is even more tightly woven than with the locals.

Look at their social media profiles, especially LinkedIn

Some people proudly announce their new position. Others just change their LinkedIn job title without much fanfare. If your candidate does either, that's a very good sign - you're pretty much in the clear and can ease off on all the other stalking, poking, and prodding. 

In closing...

Make sure you have some balance in whatever you choose to do in this sensitive period. After all, it's also a time for them to take a break after their job interviews, so don't overwhelm them. 

In all interactions, observe how they react. How quickly do they respond? Do some messages go unanswered? How thoughtful are their responses? Do they jump on the opportunity to meet people or does it feel like you're dragging them out of bed at 5am? 

Hat tip to Eremedia for a list of great ideas, some of which we borrowed.

 

Once they reneg or no-show

Most people would stop there and just move on. But we would like to mention two more measures to take. 

Learn from it

After a reneg or no-show happens, think back: Were there any telltale signs? (Check the section "Read the signs" above for ideas). This will help you spot similar cases in the future and be more vigilant.

If this happens more than once in every 20 hires, there could be a structural problem you're not seeing. It could be worthwhile to get an external recruiter (or just an experienced friend or colleague) to sit in on your job interviews and review your interactions with candidates.

Even if that doesn't bring any insights, at least it'll be worth knowing that it's really not you - but them. 

Keep a blacklist

To make sure you or another company department don't accidentally invite a candidate who reneged on you before, build a company-wide black list of transgressing applicants. 

Checking applicants you selected for interviews against this black list will be a manual job unless you can build a simple software programme. Hint: Don't make the reneger's email address the identifier (it can be easily changed). Use his or her name, instead. In the rare cases you have a match, manually compare the new applicant's CV against the reneger's. 

And there's no reason why you wouldn't share your black list with your recruiter colleagues in other companies (do check your local data protection laws, though). Over time this will help build a firewall against such behaviour. 

Pay it forward

This may be controversial but we'll say it anyway. 

This one is for the sociopaths who reneg and do no-shows in a brazen way. Those who waste many hours of your time and make you lose out on other qualified candidates. Those who accept a job offer, don't show up, and then apply with you again a few months later (we know of two cases where this happened). 

Yes, those types. 

Because they should learn their lesson. 

How? Simple. 

If you have a no-show, call or write to them and ask why they did this. Give them a chance to explain themselves but make it clear that you don't believe them if they dish up an obvious lie. 

And if they ignore emails or lie through their teeth, send them the following email:

Hello X, 

If I don't hear from you in the next 7 days, I will write a short message to every single recruiter I know in our industry. And I know many.

This email will contain your name and your CV, as well as a link to your linkedin profile. I will tell them all the facts of this case, nothing more. That you did 3 interviews with us across two weeks, signed your work contract, did not show up and then refused to give me a credible explanation for your behaviour. 

If, at some point in the future, your CV crosses any of these recruiters' desks, take a guess where it will end up. 

I will not do this if you contact me and give me an honest answer. I can handle the truth. What I can't handle are people who waste my and my company's time and then are so cavalier about it like you have been. We have said no to another very good candidate because of you and have to re-start hiring for the role because of your irresponsible behaviour. 

So, it's your choice. Our world is small, people know each other, news travels and reputations stick. You can either call me or you'll have a much harder time finding a job in the future.

Expecting your message,

Why do this? Not vengefulness - that's not the point.

It's just a small contribution towards making the world a better place. Some people behave badly because there are no consequences for their bad behaviour. Well, let's introduce some consequences. 

If you actually manage to impress upon them the need to take responsibility for their actions, you might actually learn something about their motivations and improve your future recruiting.

And your network will be grateful for saving them countless hours from interviewing someone with a poor ethical makeup. 

If you feel queasy about this, ask yourself: If any one of your colleagues in other companies asked you for a reference check about this person, you'd tell them what happened, right? So why not tell them proactively? 

Conclusion

All of this sounds like it's a lot of work.

But the cost of a mis-hire are incredibly high and it is in a company's best interest to keep reducing the doubts they may have about a candidate.

So if it is work, consider it investment. Both in yourself in becoming better at reading people and in the company to keep it from hiring unethical sharks or confused bumblers.

If renegs and no-shows are a problem at all for you, we hope this was helpful in giving you a few ideas on how to meet the challenge.

Benivo can help you stay in touch with employees between their signature and Day One. Get in touch at sales@benivo.com to learn more. 

Contact Benivo Now

Further reading:

www.brazen.com/blog/archive/uncategorized/recruiters-is-your-new-hire-a-no-show-heres-what-to-do/

https://www.eremedia.com/ere/preboarding-stops-new-hires-from-walking-away-from-already-accepted-offers/

https://www.brightnetwork.co.uk/employers/bright-insights/why-graduates-are-rejecting-and-reneging-offers/

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Sofia Pensado

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Sofia Pensado

Created on 24.7.2017