Recruitment Nightmares

You know the score, you finally get a tricky candidate to interview but they suddenly grow and extra head and bite the hiring manager with it. Or you turn up at a major client meeting only to belatedly realise at the last minute you’re completely starkers. Then when you get back to the office your computer dissolves into a writhing mass of snakes. Although perhaps we were talking about nightmares in the metaphorical sense…

Recruitment nightmares is something of a scary pot to delve into. However, in honour of the impending extravaganza that is Halloween, I’ve had a splash and a paddle in the murky waters of the collected horror stories from the front lines of recruitment. And boy did I dredge up some frightening gems.

We like to have control over situations. I’m pretty sure it’s a natural human instinct but it’s something we get drummed into us in the recruitment industry. If you’re not certain what your candidate’s motivators are then they may turn down that offer you worked so hard on because it’s just not quite right. You can never be sure if they will go for your opportunity, especially when you don’t know what is in their job pipeline.

This is why a lot of our work related nightmares fall into the regrettable categories of ‘caused by factors outside our influence’ or worse ‘because of issues we really should have been able to prevent’.

If we endeavour to keep our eyes and ears open, we can find that there were plenty of red flags along the way. There are lies, damned lies and evasions with candidates who are reluctant to disclose anything and everything such as the real reason for leaving their last workplace or appropriate references to what they actually do…

It’s an unfortunate law of modern life that the best, most promising candidates will be the ones who completely drop off the face of the earth. And then there is the inevitable sinking sensation that accompanies the call from the candidate who keeps calling but for one reason or another you really can’t help them. Maybe they’ve applied everywhere already, or they have completely unreasonable expectations and won’t compromise, or other reasons it would be far too rude to allude to. Then of course there’s the fun of being the straw that breaks the candidate’s back and causing them the shout and curse that they never want to be contacted again.

Every now and then you’ll stumble on a real stinker in the archives. A record will be plastered with notes warning us to stay away. Something along the lines of do not touch with a barge pole. You know the sort of thing: destroyed a client relationship, complete fraud, didn’t even care when they were let go. You know there’s an excruciating yet objectively entertaining story there.

Then there is the dreaded situation where you left out some advice you thought obvious and the very next thing you know, mayhem has ensued. A candidate has appeared on Skype in their pyjamas thinking they wouldn’t be on video. Or hasn’t done any research into the company whatsoever. Or phones up the company directly after we’ve sent their CV across in order to sell themselves. Badly.

Sometimes the problems have next to nothing to do with what a candidate may or may not have done. Clients can be horrendously picky and say no for the flimsiest of reasons. Sure, the customer is always right but occasionally you can get the feeling they’re taking one too many liberties. Like giving zero feedback or contacting candidates directly when that’s not your arrangement.

And then there are the nightmares that occur when a previously star candidate has actually been employed. Or when there are so many excellent potential employees out there you do wonder how some managed to get the job – the inappropriate back rub deliverer, the person who massively overstated their abilities, those with questionable hygiene and many more.

However, these instances are just a few isolated cases and in no way anything approaching the majority, right? Happy Halloween!

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