4 Hiring Horror Stories

Horror Hiring Stories

It’s no secret that the recruitment process can be overwhelming sometimes – reviewing tons of applicant resumes, phone screening, and hour long in-person interviews. And sometimes there are ‘interesting’ candidates encounters that scar the recruiter. I was interested in hearing some stories – so I reached out to some of our customers and other recruiters in the space to tell their stories.

In the spirit of Halloween, I have compiled an anonymous collection of hiring horror stories from four recruiters.


This Is Not the Red Carpet

“As Talent Acquisition Manger for fashion publication, I expect to see very creative interview outfits. However, one candidate took the prize this past July with her outfit choice. She showed up to her interview in what looked like a Lady Gaga/ Rhianna outfit – she was in a neon pink crop top, extremely ‘fitted’ leather mini-skirt and Yankee baseball hat. Although the look was all designer and she clearly showed interest in the subject matter, one should never show up to an interview in such an outfit. Not only was it unprofessional, it just seemed silly and no matter how serious and qualified she came across, all we could remember was her ensemble. She was not hired.”


Turn Off

“I’m a Recruitment Manager at a mid-size software company, and I had invited a candidate in for an in-person interview with the hiring manager, who was the sales director. At the end of a GREAT 2-hour long interview (We both really liked the candidate) we opened things up for the candidate to ask questions – He said “This seems like a great company with awesome values and a nice culture, but I already got a job offer, and I didn’t want to be rude so I showed up for the interview. If you can exceed the salary offer, I might consider joining your organization”.

That turned us off – We told him that we would discuss and get back to him. Needless to say, he was not hired.”


Big Spender

“After 3 months of looking for the perfect candidate we hired Steve (name changed to protect the guilty innocent), he was an amazing-on-paper candidate brought onboard to lead the regional sales for the EMEA market. Unfortunately, the ‘amazing-on-paper’ new hire had flaws—he maxed out a new corporate credit card on client visits in Las Vegas, Hawaii, and Barbados (which were regions he clearly didn’t cover) while he was supposed to be in scheduled client meetings in London. As the recruitment manager, I confronted him on the issue – which he denied. We cut his quarter short after that.”


Liar Liar

“A candidate listed a company on his resume where I was an HR Generalist for 3 years previously. I asked him about the current managers and who he would have likely reported to – To keep things short, at the end of the phone interview I uncovered he actually never worked there. I was happy I caught it during the pre-screening, and I didn’t pass it on to the hiring manager.”



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