Top 10 Recruiter Horror Stories

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Scared Children Looking At Night Shadows I’m sure most recruiters have had their share of “horror” when it comes to the hiring process. Sifting through a ton of resumes, the hassle of scheduling interviews, stressing out about meeting deadlines and producing a quality hire.

Though most job seekers may think working with recruiters can be scary, a great deal of recruiters know that “spooky” feeling can be mutual.

So, in the spirit of the holiday, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 recruiter horror stories from across the web. Maybe you’ll get a chuckle if any of these experiences mirror your own, or maybe you’ll get a “chill” from these shocking tales. Enjoy!

1. Eerie Handshake

 “While in the restroom washing my hands I noticed someone walk out of the bathroom stall without washing his hands, ‘Gross,’ I thought. I went back to my office and the receptionist rang to inform me my 1:30 appointment was in the lobby. Low and behold my 1:30 was the person from the bathroom. I met the candidate at the front and sure enough he reached out to shake my hand. I told him that I had arthritis, so I was unable to shake his hand.” – Chris Lawson, CEO, Eli Daniel Group.

2. Real Life Fatal Attraction

One of the creepiest recruiting tales I have heard involved the woman who, during her interview, asked the hiring manager interviewing her out on a date! Appropriately, the hiring manager responded by professionally ending the interview and turning down the candidate for the job. But the candidate was not to be deterred.

The next day, using the security badge she had used during her interview (Note to security: turn these badges off at the end of the appointment!), the candidate returned to the campus, set herself up beneath the hiring manager’s window with a portable karaoke machine, and began to serenade her with the Carpenters’ “Don’t You Remember You Said You Loved Me Baby.” The candidate was eventually escorted off the campus, but not before she had finished the song and thoroughly embarrassed the interviewer.

3. The “Skinless” Man

An applicant showed up for a job interview wearing a noticeably greasy, see-through white dress shirt and bottle-lens eye glasses being held together by tape. He also sported a comb over covering only the front half of his head, so when he turned to the side, there was a large, exposed bald area. The icing on the cake? Severe skin shedding. During the interview, the candidate repeatedly scratched his head and arms, causing large flakes of skin to fall onto the table and onto his clothing. By the end of the interview, the table was covered with a thin layer of skin flakes.

4. Case of the Disappearing Worker

John was a candidate of mine in Texas who interviewed for, and then accepted a great job as a Territory Sales Manager with a Medical Device company based in Boston that I was working with. After only one week on the job in Texas, he disappeared. No phone calls, no emails, no returned messages. He was MIA when the company’s CEO flew down to Texas for a scheduled meeting. A couple of weeks later, I found out from John’s sister, who called me looking for his new boss’s contact information, that John was in jail awaiting trial for a domestic violence charge! Many months later, John called and told me that he had been falsely accused (or so he claimed) of assaulting his ex-wife in a bar. She was now dating a cop, who pulled some strings and kept John in jail without bail! He had been too embarrassed to call his new boss and explain where he was. Needless to say, I lost that commission.

5. Receptionist by Day, Madam by Night

A recruiting manager hired a receptionist who during her employment used the ER as her primary care physician and ran an escort service on the side.

6. Attack of the job seeker

“A job-seeker waited by the CEO’s car, and when the CEO got in the car, [the candidate] started knocking on the window.” —Simmons of Netshare

7. TMI

“A girl I interviewed for the position of sales rep got a call from her boyfriend,” says Joshua Weiss, CEO of TeliApp Corporation. The content of the call had to do with an unprotected intimate encounter the night before, he says.

“How do I know this?” Weiss explains. “Because she took the call during the interview and had a screaming match with her boyfriend right in front me. Needless to say, she didn’t get the job.”

8. Fugitive on the Run

“The candidate said that by crossing the Maryland state line he was in violation of his probation but felt the interview was worth risking possible jail time.” —Jim Solomone, Software AG

9. What’s that Yellow Stuff?

“I am a recruiter. One day a colleague of mine was interviewing a candidate — and the candidate peed in her chair! The irony of it was that she was also an executive recruiter.” —Ruthanne Feinberg, Acuitas Search, San Francisco.

10. Color me Black

“A guy who forgot dark socks to wear with his suit colored in his ankles with a black felt-tip marker.”—Scott Langerman, Comcast SportsNet

By Shala Marks