Double, double toil and trouble – hiring today can be a struggle! In this tough talent landscape, HR and TA professionals have seen it all. From candidates who mysteriously vanish and applicants who feel like they’ve stepped out of a nightmare, finding new hires that fit your organization can be more of a scream than a dream.
We’re celebrating the Halloween season by recounting the spooky stories you’ve encountered in the HR space. Check out these haunted hiring tales that will make you squirm with fright and shriek with laughter!
“We were hiring for an open position and found a great candidate. She went through two interviews and seemed to have it all – experience, dedication, and a clear background check. She accepted the position, but when her start date came around, she never showed up. We tried calling her, emailing her, anything to find out if she was coming in, let alone still alive! When a few days passed with no answer, we started to wonder “has this woman disappeared? To this day, she’s never reached back out.” - Richard
"Several years ago, I worked at a company that had a contract with the Idaho State Police (ISP). We needed to hire a maintenance tech to work at that facility. I didn't realize it at the time, but I scheduled the interview for Halloween. We had a pretty competitive dress-up contest at work that I wanted to make a splash in. So imagine how hard it was to be taken seriously (or even let on the ISP campus) dressed as Charlie Brown - with the squiggly hairline drawn on my head and all!" - Zach
"Way back in the late 80's, before fancy background screenings, I had a hiring nightmare. I was working in the fitness industry and was hiring for a personal trainer position. I interviewed this clean-cut, charming young man who I felt was a great fit. He had a degree and some experience. After speaking with his references, I was confident he would be a great trainer. He was scheduled to start at 6 am on his first day, but he didn't show up. I tried calling him multiple times but never got a response. Back in the 80's, people could still call "collect." I got a call around 5 pm that said "will you accept a call from the California State Penitentiary?" Well, I certainly did not want to accept that call but later found out that between the time I offered this young man the job and his starting date, he had been sent to prison for a felony assault crime! Not sure how that happens in that short amount of time, but he must have been pretty creative with his references. To this day, I don't trust glowing references until after a background check!" - Alison
“We were hiring for an entry-level position. We found a candidate that didn’t have much experience but seemed very willing to learn. We had him complete a marijuana drug screen, and a few days later, it came back positive. For this role, it would have been okay if he had a medical cannabis card, but he told us that he didn’t when we asked beforehand, and he lived in a state where marijuana wasn’t legal. So we tried reaching out to get the story, but he evaded every phone call. Finally, we tracked him down and told him we were no longer going forward with him as an applicant. - Sydney
"It all began on a high-volume interview day. We were conducting interviews to hire manufacturing workers and we needed to build a talent pool due to the high turnover. Let the spooky games begin. The first interviewee comes in late and he is wearing paint-stained cargo jeans and a white t-shirt. Bring in the next one, he is a younger guy, and when asked what he would do if the line was down he says, “I would write lyrics and practice my rapping.” The third one comes in and answers essentially every question with “I don’t know or I have never experienced that scenario.” After several other interviews that were less than stellar, the interview panel decides to still hire some of them, and guess what? One of them started and lasted less than a week and another never responded to a job offer." - Mairysel
“I was new in the HR landscape, and one of my first new hires was a young lady entering in a role under one of our more seasoned managers. Everything seemed to be going well in the onboarding process until the end of the first week. The young lady went out to lunch and didn’t come back for two hours! When the manager asked her why she’d taken so long, the new hire didn’t see a problem with disappearing for the afternoon. The manager told her that wasn’t allowed, the young lady lost her cool. She screamed at the manager, grabbed her purse, and walked out the door. Needless to say, she didn’t come back to work the next week!” - Roxanne
Thank you for sharing your spooky stories with us and letting us highlight the sometimes sinister side of the HR landscape. Happy Halloween from Verified First!