August 10, 2020 / Hiring

13 Hiring Horror Stories - Halloween Special


For most candidates, the interview is the time to show their “best self’… to use that cringe phrase – but it really is. It’s a time to talk about achievements, boast about their work and share why they are the perfect person for the job. It’s also a time for companies to show its ‘best self’… but sometimes… well, people miss that memo.

Here are our 13 favourite interview horror stories, from the web and our own cringe worthy experiences, purely for your Halloween entertainment.

1. Nightmare (way) Before Christmas

“I once turned up for an interview all suited and booted… to be interviewed by a senior manager wearing a snowman Christmas jumper and Santa hat… in November.”

2. The Text-as Chain Saw Massacre

"When a candidate was asked about his greatest accomplishment, he replied that it was writing a short novel. When the interviewer said, 'No, I mean something you did while at work,' the candidate replied, 'But I did write it while at work!'"

3. Unfriended

“I was once dealing with a very difficult HR director who was one of our clients. After a particularly frustrating call, I put the phone down and started mouthing off about them. Unfortunately, I hadn’t actually ended the call.”

4. Too Dog friendly

"We are a very dog-friendly office. In every interview we have, the dogs run up to the meeting room and greet the new guest. In most cases, the person being interviewed loves the doggy attention. But one candidate took it to another level. He stopped the interview and asked if he could bark at our dogs. We just sat there, not really knowing how to respond, so he just started barking at them.”

5. Let The Right One Out

"I was interviewing someone who took a phone call and asked me to leave MY office while they talked.”

6. Cabin Fever

“I couldn’t get rid of one interviewee, for some reason he just didn’t want to leave. The interview started at 6pm and didn't ended until 9.”

7. Face Off

“A friend of mine is an HR manager and he interviewed a guy who arrived on a motorcycle and kept his helmet on for the whole interview… only raising the visor to answer the questions!”

8. I DON’T know what you did last summer

“I sent a CV of candidate to a client. The candidate already worked in that company and it became clear, very quickly, that his boss didn’t know he was looking externally.”

9. The Liquor Man

“I conducted a screening interview for a desktop engineer. The interview was at 10.30am. He came in, stumbled over the chairs, slumped down and conducted the interview with a hefty stench of alcohol about him.”

10. Copycat

“I was the interviewer and the candidate showed me MY OWN work and claimed it was theirs. My name was even printed on it! When I confronted them about it they simply said that if they had gotten the job then they could have done it!"

11. Paramour-mal Activity

“I had a recruiter who tried to hit on me. He began professionally enough and then started to make comments on what I was wearing, would ring the office to talk to me about my weekend and constantly bombarded me with texts and emails.”

12. 28 Seconds Later

“I collected the candidate from reception. He barked, "Coffee, sexy. Now, where's your boss?" I then sat down to interview him.”

13. The Carrie on of carry-ons

“One candidate came in with a massive rucksack on his back. Asked if he’d travelled far, he replied, ‘No, just around the corner.’ The same candidate also had a 10-minute cry about personal problems, saying he just needed to let it all out.”

And One for Good Luck

"A guy who forgot dark socks to wear with his suit, coloured in his ankles with a black felt-tip marker."

The last is our favourite… commitment right there some would say!

We would mention our tech assessments platform around this point but we’re not sure it would help these poor souls avoid these horror stories!

So anyway, Happy Halloween, have a spOoOoktacular day!

NB: On LinkedIn someone was complaining about marketers using the pun spookacular as it’s “over done” – but come on it’s a great pun, so we’re using it!

Alex Adams
Marketing Executive

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