Well, it is Halloween again and this Sunday the clocks go back. Then we will blink and it will be Christmas. I do this every year – on the 1st November I think – “Great a whole month till December I will get organised this year”. And then suddenly it is December 1st and I have done nothing regarding Christmas. Do you fall into that category? Or are you more like my sister in law, who already has all presents bought, wrapped and waiting to bring to our house on December 25th?
When I was younger I loved a good horror story – I was a mad Stephen King Fan and read everything he wrote the minute it came out. These days I prefer more cheerful reading, as there is quite enough bad news around for me! However, on a lighter note, it did make me think of some of the horror stories I have been witness to over the years, in the area of trying to grow your business by hiring the right staff.
In no particular order in my 20 years in recruitment I have had:-
- The phone call from a distraught wife who told me that her husband would not be attending the interview I had re-arranged twice, as he had been killed in a car accident. Tragic? Not really. He mysteriously resurrected from the dead 3 months later and applied for another job! Can you believe that someone would go that far?
- The candidate who failed to tell me that the company he currently worked for, owned the company that I was proposing to put him forward for as an applicant. That could have got me the sack if he had not openly agreed that I HAD told him which company I was sending him over for and he HADNT mentioned the connection to me.
- The candidate who got a job as a field engineer and then told the client that he had only a provisional licence. Luckily they liked him so much they sent him on an intensive ‘ pass your test’ course and he passed!
- The candidate who thought it was OK to turn up for an interview with us in flip flops.
- The manager who almost didn’t hire a candidate because he thought she was flirting when she took her jacket off in the interview (mid summer and no air conditioning), who then turned out to be his best hire ever.
- The client who withdrew an offer to a candidate who had moved up the country, got a new flat and bought a new car, 4 days before they were due to start because they didn’t like one of the references but would not reveal which reference or what it said.
- The client who refused to interview a candidate who was late. The reason they were late was that British Rail had closed the line, announced only when the candidate got to the station, and as the interview was in a different county a taxi was slower than getting the train. The candidate had spent £60 on a taxi to get them there and they were less than 5 minutes late.
- The candidate who cancelled 4 interviews over a period of 9 months with 4 separate consultants at the company I worked at, due to his ‘grandmother’s funeral’ which only came up due to an internal quality check. Not sure how he ended up with 4 grandmothers who all died within 9 months of each other?
- The hairdresser who was sued for racial discrimination in an interview for asking a specific question, who was found not guilty but still had to find thousands of pounds for the claimants ‘hurt feelings’. That’s a lot of haircuts. (Full story in my Amazon book The Book on Recruitment )
And then there are numerous examples of:-
- Inappropriate interview questions being asked by clients
- Inappropriate questions being asked by candidates
- Inappropriate clothing being worn by candidates
- Body odour issues (could be either)
- Disappearing candidates (they get a job offer but have disappeared into a black hole)
- Agencies pretending to be candidates to get details of the job so they can try and take the vacancy off the appointed agency.
- Agencies pretending to have vacancies to get a candidate to go through them and stop them applying through another agency.
Oh, I have seen all these Hiring Horror Stories and more. But the serious side to all that – is the time and effort and money wasted on dubious recruitment processes. Many managers and small businesses have never been trained in the skills of running a robust recruitment process. Some just blatantly ‘wing it’, others rely on Gut Feeling (which is often but not always right).
If you need some help with putting together a better recruitment process, then either get yourself a copy of my book – or email me to book a free skype call where we can discuss your current challenges and give you some practical advice you can take away and implement right away to improve your odds of preventing a Hiring Horror Story!!