Hiring Nightmares

hiring horror stories

One of the best things about fall is the excuse to dress up with friends or take the kids door to door trick-or-treating. This season is full of spooky decor, creepy costumes, and scary stories. In keeping with the Halloween theme, today we’re talking about a few common missteps that make your hiring process a living nightmare for applicants.


Everyone loves a good mystery – everyone, except for jobs seekers. Don’t leave them searching for clues or jumping to conclusions. Fill them in on where you are in the process and what your/their next steps are. You often hear ‘the worst thing is the unknown’. After a while, applicants will get over a no, but silence gives room for a tiny bit of hope. It also gives the uneasy feeling of ‘what if I accept a job and my dream employer comes back?!’ Do everyone a favor and keep people in the loop.

Plot Twists

False hope is inevitably soul crushing. A recurring theme in many scary stories is that shred of hope that makes the audience think everything is going to work out. Recruiters – this applies to you too. Watch what you say and be sure not to make any promises you can’t keep. Even alluding to another interview or telling the candidate you will get back to them in an unreasonable time frame is a big letdown for job seekers.

Things Aren’t Always as They Seem

Research, research, research. Often in these stories, the narrator starts down one line of thinking but as more research is done, things aren’t what they initially thought. Applicants can be tricky to understand too. Read their resume thoroughly and ask the tough questions. Follow up with references and make sure you’re not wasting your time, your manager’s time or the applicant’s time

Don’t Leave Them Hanging

Sure, cliffhangers are a good kind of suspense in a scary story, but what everyone really wants is a resolution. Make sure you tie up all loose ends. This means following up with each candidate. Recruiters, you have more work in closing a filled position. Not only do you need to contact all the applicants who did not get the position, good recruiting etiquette gives them insight into why they didn’t get the position. Did they lack the experience someone else had? Let them know that.

Use tact and be polite, but it’s comforting for people to know the reason and move forward from there. You also need to close all open lines. Don’t just leave the job post up and expect people to figure out the position is closed. Take down the post and make sure it doesn’t appear on your website, job boards or too high up in your social media feed.

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