Talent Acquisition

7 Tales from the Recruitment Crypt

Every profession has horror stories to tell. Why these tales exist beggars the belief of the majority of genuine professionals searching for roles or working in recruitment. However there will always be a small minority who feel permitted to behave in a completely unprofessional manner and as though the world owes them some kind of favour. So with Halloween just around the corner here are some of the gasp inducing stories our team have to tell or have been told.

1. Punchy interview techniques

Back in the 1990’s an engineer candidate attempted to attend an interview without mobile phones and sat navs. He hadn’t factored in that the road the company was located was about 10 miles long and he ended up being about 40 mins late. The mild mannered MD interviewing him was very understanding at the start of the interview and then explained he would have to leave in 20 mins to collect his kids. The candidate then punched the client, yes really, for wasting his time!

2. Missing in action

A candidate attending two second interviews, goes missing en route and he doesn’t turn up for any of them. Hours later he calls to say he had been involved in a motorway pile up with his car written off. Somehow though, he manages to get to the interviews two days later miraculously arriving in the same car he had attended his initial interview in, this was the car that was apparently written off!

3. Mixing business with pleasure

During an interview a candidate was asked about his greatest accomplishment, he replied that it was writing a short novel. When the interviewer said, ‘No, I mean something you did while at work,’ the candidate replied, ‘But I did write it while at work!’ The candidate was unsuccessful!

4. OCD client

A fantastic candidate, lets call her Steph, was interviewing for a digital design job at a high profile digital marketing agency. During the interview, Steph moved something on the interviewer’s desk to make room for her portfolio. When I later asked the decision-maker why he was not looking to make an offer to an extremely well qualified candidate with extremely hard-to-find technical skills, he actually said to me “She touched my stuff!”

5. Unbeknown to the candidate

A recruiter speculatively presented an employed candidate to four companies, the candidate knew nothing about it, one of the clients receiving the speculative CV was best friends with the candidate’s current manager. A quick forward of the speculative CV from one friend to another and the candidate finds herself pulled into a meeting being asked “why have I got your cv?!” ARGH!

6. Reincarnation

Once had a temp who had called in sick because his mum had died. Two months later he called in sick because his mum had died, again!!! He did not get to be a permanent employee!

7. Rampant recruiting

A talented gentleman on interview, his CV was great, the client was looking forward to meeting him, the interview was going well and the gentleman was doing a great job of selling himself. What could go wrong? All was going great until, he very proudly told the interviewer that he has only ever had one day off sick in five years and that was because he got a twisted testicle during some vigorous lovemaking! There is such a thing as too much information!

Bonus: Temp desk troubles

Busy Friday afternoons, multiple clients, candidates, jobs and tasking, occasionally things can go wrong. Like the time a chef arrived for a temporary booking at a warehouse requiring a manager and a forklift truck driver arrived at a hotel with a requirement for a head chef! Sometimes it just can all go wrong!

Over many years of recruiting, we have many great successful stories to tell and comparatively few horror stories thankfully. No matter how thorough the processes in place are there will always be the unexpected and that is probably the most important lesson to be learned from these stories. Expect the unexpected, people will never fail to surprise, delight and disappoint.

What’s your best recruitment tale from the crypt? Please share in the comments!

Related: The 5 Worst Interview Howlers of All Time.

By Lysha Holmes

Lysha Holmes is founding director of Qui Recruitment established in 2005 to completely challenge the traditionally poorly perceived service offered by other Rec 2 Rec providers. Lysha as Qui Recruitment is dedicated to representing the best talent to the best suited roles, focussing on placing recruiters of all levels in a candidate led service across the NW.