Decreasing amount of no-shows for interview studies


I’m running an interview study and was wondering if anyone had advice for how to decrease the amount of no shows. I currently have the study set up so that participants schedule a time to participate in the study on a scheduling website and then I message them on Prolific with the Zoom link they need for the interview. I’m also sending reminder messages for their appointment via Prolific.

Out of 7 scheduled interviews so far only 2 participants have actually shown up.

Any help would be greatly appeciated.

Thank you.

Hi Samatha

Welcome to the forum :slightly_smiling_face:

I have never done interviews. The FAQ, which you have probably read is here

With regard to getting people to show the FAQ only mentions checking for capability (webcam etc), using Calendly / Doodle to schedule and email reminders (making sure that both the email you use at Calendly and Doodle and that you use to send email is the same as your registered Prolific email address), and non payment to no showers (asking them to return, or contact support).

Other than that, brainstorming was of encouraging participation in Zoom meetings:

  1. Use experienced participants via a participant on prolific prescreener
  2. Pay more
  3. Make the objectives of the study more known and meaningful
  4. Allow voice only participation (shyness, messiness, appearance issues may make people less like to show)?
  5. Allow face close up participation (so those that have a messy room/clothes can participate)
  6. Allow top of head only participation (for similar reasons – my students seem to want to just peep into Zoom classes)
  7. Allow (or disallow) back lighting so that they can appear (not appear) only in profile (some of my students seem to want to be back lit so that they can hardly be seen. I find it difficult to disallow back lighting even with present explanations so it may be a good idea to allow it)
  8. Allow (or disallow) the use of face masks so that they can be anonymous.
  9. Keep schedule slots to lunch and dinner times or otherwise times at which are easy to attend.
  10. Allow mobile participation ? (So they can take part during their commute, on the job, during lunch)
  11. Link to good instructional videos on how to use Zoom (the only interview I have taken part in, one participant only worked out how to turn on their camera towards the end of the interview)
  12. Change your demographic to people who are more likely to show (older? employed?)
  13. Do a prescreener for those who have successfully completed video interviews / use zoom frequently (but they may falsify)
  14. Do an initial zoom with you so as to reduce no-shows with other participant(s)
  15. Split the study into time zones to make the time schedule easier for everyone to do at breaks.
  16. Show them a demo video if you can make one. (I was sort of scared before my Zoom interview with strangers in America but it was fun)
  17. Be there to encourage / have a confederate to encourage (and police nastiness)
  18. Give them a really minimal dress code (T-shirt and jeans - “but anything is fine as long as you are clothed”)
  19. Give them brief instructions on politeness to assure them that they will be treated politely.
  20. Allow (non alcoholic) drinks (perhaps even food) so they can make themselves more comfortable.
  21. Consider over scheduling or parallel meetings so you can put together meetings on the fly as participants arrive, perhaps in Zoom ‘breakout rooms’, or utilise the Zoom ‘waiting room’ functionality.

That is all I can think of. I am sorry I can’t be more helpful.


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Hi Tim,

Wow, thank you so much for the suggestions! I really appreciate it and will give these a try.


My pleasure Samantha

(sorry I mistyped)

I added another seven suggestions, with the last being perhaps the most effective.


@Samantha , I’d love to know if these suggestions work for you! I’ve been running a study over zoom with Prolific participants since Fall 2021 and about 50% of participants cancel at the last minute or simply do not show (without warning). I’ve heard other researchers using prolific say something similar.

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One thing I found was that not all notifications were received by the participants. When you are contacting participants through Prolific be sure you are using either Prolific’s UI or sending from the email account that is registered with Prolific. Participants don’t receive notifications when a different email address is used. I found this out the hard way. If a Calendly link or Zoom link is being sent participants will not receive it unless it’s the email you used to register. I haven’t done interviews in a while but that is what I found was happening.

Also, increase pay. The more you pay, the better the odds of getting people to follow through.


Hi Heather!

Thanks so much! I’ve been sending messages through Prolific but I will definetly consider increasing pay.

Limit how far in advance your prospect has to schedule the meeting,Set automated reminders,Redirect your prospect to relevant content after scheduling,Send a high-level agenda,Many sales team accept that are gone no -showsbu those who they using automated schedules software enable you to set automated reminders for meetings

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