Recruitment Horror Stories

ESP Recruitment Horror Stories

It’s Halloween this week and it has made the ESP team think about the horror stories we’ve had in our recruitment careers.  We sat down with a group of consultants (around an imaginary campfire) and started sharing. 

Consultants give candidates lots of advice and guidance to prepare for every eventuality at interviews, sometimes though the unexpected happens!! These stories we’re sure are not just rare to recruitment, we would love to hear your stories too!!

There are lots of examples, but we thought we would share some to mark Halloween and provide a light-hearted moment in an often-stressful workday for most.

We’ve shared our favourites below:

Spooktacular First Impressions

Some of the stories provided by team were about what candidates wore.  It ranged from candidates turning up to interviews wearing ripped suits right up to bright coloured socks covered in smiley faces.  The feedback from their interviewers was that whatever the candidates had said in the interview was suddenly irrelevant as first impressions really do count!

Hauntingly Horrible Excuses 

Other stories had honesty and integrity at the heart of the situation.  One candidate claimed he had not been available for a pre-scheduled telephone interview due to prison guards confiscating his phone whilst visiting a friend.  Unfortunately this did sound a little farfetched when we explained it to the hiring manager.

A Terrifying Ending

ESP Consultants pride themselves on having good relationships with interviewers. From this we have a good understanding of what is expected of candidates at interviews, and therefore can prepare candidates for interviews really well. 

One horror story was provided by a Consultant who had worked very hard successfully supporting one particular candidate through numerous interviews to the final stage.  The last interview with the decision maker needed more prepping.  The consultant warned the candidate that the hiring manager would try and de-rail him in the interview by suggesting that he hadn’t got the necessary skills and experience for the job.  This was a technique from this particular hiring manager to test the candidate’s ability to persuade him otherwise!!  The interviewer, and consultant, were shocked when the candidate didn’t let the interviewer finish his sentence instead finishing it for him.  Suggesting in fact, that he hadn’t the skills or experience for the job and abruptly ended the interview!!

We would love to hear your recruitment horror stories.  Send them over to us on and we’ll share the best ones on LinkedIn (anonymously of course!) Happy Halloween!!

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