Recruiting Horror Stories Roundup

Candidates that Go Bump in the Night: 8 Recruiting Horror Stories

It’s spooky season! We spoke to our friends in recruiting about some of their most memorable candidate experiences. To our surprise, and definitely theirs, they have encountered some downright weird to truly nightmarish candidates throughout the recruiting process!

Here are some of our favorites that might make you cringe, gasp, or even scream!


The Early Arrival

“I scheduled an on-site interview with a candidate for a Thursday. Wednesday morning I come in and reception says the candidate is here for their interview – a whole day early! We don’t schedule interviews at all on Wednesday, but management said to go through with it anyways. I had to beg with favors and scramble together a mishmash of a panel with whomever was available. The candidate, unfortunately, bombed it and I now had several boba I needed to deliver.”

Wanted: Anger Management Classes

“The candidate was going through their first tech test smoothly and was waiting for their second interviewer in the interview room. Unfortunatley, their second interviewer was running about 15 minutes late. When the interviewer arrived, the candidate started lecturing them about the importance of timeliness and how their whole day is ruined.  

It escalated to the point where the candidate was yelling so I had to take him outside to calm him down and reschedule the rest of his interview. At that point we already knew we did not want to work with such a short fused temper.”

Lizard CPR

“We have a 60-minute timed online technical test candidates take at home.  One candidate emailed us saying that 40 minutes in they were on the right trajectory with ample code and test cases, but looked to his left and saw his pet lizard looked extremely sick.  He then had to get up and preform CPR on him, which led to an incomplete submission.

No one would make up something outlandish as this so he must be telling the truth, right? Well, we give him another shot and he sadly didn’t do very well that time around.”

Backpack Bananas

“I picked up the candidate and was walking him to his room, making small talk along the way. I asked if he wanted to stop and finish his breakfast before going into the building, which he accepted. He then pulled out two bananas from his backpack and insisted that I have the second one. I reluctantly agreed, but who knows where this banana has been and we have perfectly good ones here in the office.”

Double Trouble

“Our candidate asked to rush his interview process due to external circumstances.  He killed the interviews and was great during the recruiting process so we rushed and extended an offer. Suddenly, he emailed us saying that he needs a month or so due to a medical emergency.

It turned out he decided to accept another job and didn’t want to tell us. My fiancé is a recruiter where he accepted, and she told me. Talk about awkward…”


The Bomb Threat

“It was a pretty normal Tuesday in May with a lot of candidates and packed schedules. Suddenly, we were told that there was a bomb threat and we had to quickly evacuate. Everyone was panicking and confused as we stood outside in the blistering sun.

On the bright side, there wasn’t a bomb. On the other hand…we had to reschedule and place candidates in hotels for another day.  We even threw a little party in repentance to all of the schedules we had to move around and extend.”


Lunch Interview 911 Call

“We have lunch interviews with candidates to give them a break from the stressful ordeal that’s interviewing.  One candidate ate something and found out they had some sort of allergy they never knew about.

We had to call 911 and an ambulance took him to the ER.”


6 Bottles of Wine? Don’t Mind if I Do…

“We interview candidates on Fridays so that they can mingle with our team at our end-of-the-day happy hour.  One candidate thought it was a great idea to try and take 6 bottles of wine home with them. Good thing our security is more watchful when we all start drinking.”

Who knew the world of recruiting can be so dramatic and full of terrifying experiences.  At GoodTime, we try to make the recruiting process easier for everyone involved. Horror stories are only fun around a campfire – come with us and don’t deal with nightmares.

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