HR Candidate Search

The Seven Scariest Recruiting Stories We Ever Heard

October 28, 2019

By: IQTalent

To kick off Halloween week, we’ve rounded up the scariest, spookiest, and downright craziest true stories about recruiting our consultants could remember! Like all good scary stories, these tales are true, only the names were changed to protect the innocent (or not so innocent). The accounts are first hand, in the words of the talent acquisition expert who lived through the experience. Happy Halloween!


Years ago, I worked at one of the big-name executive search firms. The firm’s policy was never to delete a candidate out of our ATS. However, from time to time, we would attempt to contact a candidate and discover he or she had passed away. We would then label the candidate deceased in our database. One year, I “deceased” 7 candidates within 11 months, more than any recruiter in history. A deceasing record!  My colleagues lovingly nicknamed me “The Reaper.”

Check out the spookiest #recruiting horror stories straight from the @IQTalent Partners team:Click to Tweet


We had a candidate go through an onsite interview and was rejected with little fanfare. We discovered he was moonlighting as a magician (not the reason for his rejection, however). Later, another person appears in the recruiting process for the same position, and we notice that this person looks an awful lot like the magician we’d previously rejected. We proceed with suspicion and ask if he knows the magician candidate. He says that it is his twin brother. We press him on the fact that it is highly coincidental to have the same career path and to be applying for the same job as your identical twin. He proceeds to provide evidence in the form of doctored photos and a fake social media profile. The candidate ghosted us after he realized his magic trick didn’t work on our team!


It was truly frightening to witness a Senior Director at a firm where I used to work throw a temper tantrum - literally, a grown man stomping his feet, fists clenched and arms flailing, red-faced, screaming tantrum, when he didn't get his way. This tantrum occurred multiple times a month. After I moved on, I read in the news a few years later that he was convicted and in prison for assault.


I was in an interview with a candidate alongside the president of the company where I used to work. We’d flown 2500 miles to meet this candidate in person. Ten minutes into the interview, the president said, “I’m sorry; you’re not the guy for us.” He got up and left me alone with the candidate. Talk about an awkward silence!


I was once working to convert a contractor and met him at the standard procedural drug test. The contractor initially blew a .08; he denied that he was drunk, claiming the breathalyzer was incorrect. So we waited for 45 minutes and ran the test again. This time, he blew a .11. It was 8:45 am.

Ready for a scare? @IQTalent Partners rounded up the scariest, spookiest, and downright craziest true stories about #recruiting their consultants could remember.Click to Tweet


We had a candidate bring his mother to the interview. We had a new hiring manager who allowed the candidate’s mother to join us (bad idea). Mom sat quietly during the interview, but at the end, she spoke up, pleading with the hiring manager to give her son the job because “she needed new teeth.”


When I worked for an agency several years ago, I had recruited a candidate for a very rare type of software developer. I landed him an interview at a large oil company, and I was very excited for him to fly in to interview. However, I’d never met the candidate in person. I picked him up at the hotel to drive him to his interview, and he was wearing a purple toupee. A. Purple. Toupee.

Enjoy your Halloween, fellow recruiters, and the next time you live through a scary recruiting situation, remember you are not alone! Dust off the cobwebs on your resume and join IQTalent Partners if you dare!

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