Recruiting Horror Stories II — Terrifying Tales From the Front Lines of Recruitment

Our team boasts a collective 100+ years of recruiting expertise—all dedicated to pairing exceptional clients with the outstanding talent they need to foster growth.

While our journey is primarily filled with excitement and the joy of helping others succeed, it can sometimes feel like a scene straight out of a scary movie!

Since it’s Halloween, we decided to tap into the eerie side of our profession and asked our team to share their most spine-tingling recruiting horror stories. They certainly delivered.

If you've ever found yourself grappling with the challenges of a job search (and let's face it, most of us have), these hair-raising tales should serve as a stark reminder that it could always be far, far worse.

Unsmooth Criminal 

As all good tales start, once upon a time, one of our Recruiters was tasked with finding hourly skilled workers within a small American town filled with fierce competition amongst its few major employers.

A promising candidate, who seemed perfect for the job, was found after weeks of searching. They were responsive, professional, and enthusiastic throughout the process. The client was ready to make an offer that exceeded the candidate's expectations.

Our Recruiter sent the exciting offer only to receive silence. No email response, calls straight to voicemail, and unanswered texts. On the third business day, they decided to investigate.

A Google search of the candidate’s name and the town revealed a shocking truth. The candidate was tied to a recent drug bust featured in a local news article. They were arrested alongside others with their mugshot prominently displayed. Needless to say, the offer was never accepted, and it served as a reminder of the unexpected twists in talent acquisition.

Mr. Machismo 

One of our female Recruiters once had a run-in with someone we like to call Mr. Machismo. They had applied to an open role and then reached out to our Recruiter directly because they were so passionate.

During their call, it became clear that this candidate fell short of meeting a couple of the essential qualifications our client needed. In addition, their start date and the clients didn’t align. 

She explained why this position wouldn’t be a good fit and suggested staying in touch for future opportunities. This wasn’t the news he wanted to hear, much less believe.

Over the coming days, he reached out again and called the company multiple times, demanding to speak to “man”agement. Only after this call did he regain his composure, speak nicely, and concede to the fact that he was not a good fit.

Peep Show

Back in 2020, when Zoom interviews were still novel and often a work in progress, we had a candidate hop on an interview link a little late and looking quite out of sorts. Despite the shaky start, the interview started to pick up, and the candidate seemed like a potential fit.

However, out of the blurred-out background abyss, Zoom picked up another person and brought them into focus… this person was, shall we say, not interview-ready. Seeming to roll out of bed and make a mad dash for cover (and a robe). From there, the interview took an embarrassing turn.

Mr. Too Cool For School

While selling yourself during the process is always important, too much pride is an interview killer. At first, Mr. Too Cool For School seemed the perfect fit—he had the right experiences, was always punctual, and seemed interested in the company’s mission. 

It started to go downhill when they refused to complete an assignment as he felt the company was trying to steal his ideas. He also commented about reporting to someone who had less industry experience than them. The final straw (before cancelling the client interview) came when he asked during our interview prep if their potential future boss would "train me or will I have to train them?"

Ms. Pinocchio

During a search, our team had a candidate who was perfect on paper, but as we dug deeper, the reality didn't quite match up. Education was of paramount importance to our client and the candidate claimed she had completed all the requisite degrees. 

The problem was she didn't! On the initial screening call, she mentioned she’d graduated, but slipped up during our more thorough candidate interview by mentioning she wished she had finished her degree. 

Thankfully we were able to pull her from the process and save potential embarrassment. This would have been a true Halloween horror as we knew the client did educational background checks. It just goes to show, that when in doubt, always trust your gut, take the time to ask more questions and never lie (it’ll always come back to bite you).

Thankfully, these nightmarish recruiting tales are rare gems—our team had to do some serious soul-searching to unearth these bone-chilling anecdotes of recruitment gone awry.

If you want to eliminate the fear factor from your tech company's hiring process, look no further. We specialize in crafting top-performing teams that fuel revenue growth—and rest assured, we'll sift through the spooky candidates, leaving you with only the cream of the crop to interview.

book a consultation