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4 hiring horror stories + how to avoid them

Use these tips to take your hiring from scary to simple

hiring horror stories halloween employer job seeker social media employee brand platforms

Happy Halloween from your favourite team of recruiters! This year, we’re celebrating spooky season by featuring some of our favourite recruiter and candidate horror stories*… because we have to admit, the hiring process can be pretty frightening.😱

But have no fear! We’re here with 4 horror stories to learn from – plus advice to take your hiring from scary to simple. We’ve looked at things from both a recruiting and a candidate perspective, so let’s get into it!

1. The world’s shortest horror story:

“I once was offered a job after being asked 1 question. I didn’t feel like I should work somewhere where they hire based off of 1 question & answer so I declined.”

RECRUITER ADVICE: We often hear of interview processes that are too long, but we don’t always think about the flip side. Clearly, this interview process is far too short to make a solid hiring decision.

The average number of interviews before getting a job offer is 2-3, and most meetings take between 45-90 minutes. Even if you’re desperate to hire or feel you’re sure about a candidate, always do your due diligence and follow a structured process that allows you to fairly gauge their fit. 

Not sure where to start? Here’s a resource to help standardize your interviews (and make them way less scary for all parties involved).

CANDIDATE ADVICE: This candidate had a bad feeling about this interview, and for good reason! If you aren’t asked many questions in your interview, try to ask some of your own to get a feel for the company. Here’s a guide to help with that.

However, there’s no sense ignoring a red flag like this one. An interview should be a conversation that feels natural and 2-sided. If it doesn’t feel that way, politely remove yourself from the running. Case closed!

@pivotandedge your interviewer should be able to share details on company DEI initiatives!!👏🏿👏🏾👏🏽👏👏🏻#interviewpreptok #truthsfromarecruiter #interviewskills #workculture @pivotandedge ♬ Pass The Dutchie – Musical Youth

2. Honesty isn’t always the best policy:

“I once asked a candidate “what interested you in applying for this position” and they responded “I don’t really want this job, but I’m hoping working here for a month or 2 will get me a better job.””

RECRUITER ADVICE: This sounds like a classic case of a bad candidate. This is hard to avoid – someone may look great on paper, but until you interview them, you won’t know whether they’re an actual fit. Clearly, this person is not.

It may not be possible to eliminate these types of candidates from your process completely, but you can attract a lot more high-quality candidates with awesome employer branding.

By taking the time to truly understand your own business needs and defining your ideal candidates (based on business needs, culture fit and critical competencies), your in-depth understanding will ensure your communication will be more effective in the talent market.

AKA: you’ll get more people worth interviewing, and less uninterested applicants like the person from this story. Here’s a resource to help! (PS – this is also what we do, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need extra assistance.)

CANDIDATE ADVICE: If you’re saying anything like this in an interview, you’re being way too honest. Also, why apply if you’re not really interested?! 

However, if you are interested and just don’t know what to say to this common interview question, check this blog out for sample answers that might suit you.

3. It’s a ghost town out here:

“I reached out to a candidate to plan a screening and he cancelled/rescheduled 3 times only to finally ghost me. 3 weeks later he reached out to me to ask what the results were from his screening that never even happened.”

RECRUITER ADVICE: We’ve all been ghosted. If you’re in the position of being a hiring authority, there are several reasons why this might be happening. It may come down to a bad candidate, but there’s always room to improve, right?

Your hiring process might have too many steps, your communication may not be comprehensive enough, or your company may seem too generic. There are tons of possibilities here, but head to this blog for the most common reasons for ghosting plus solutions to solve it.

CANDIDATE ADVICE: We understand there are a lot of reasons why you may want to excuse yourself from the running for a job, but remember that leaving the process on a professional note sets you up for other potential opportunities down the road.  

If you’re no longer interested in a job, don’t ghost. Keep in mind that people talk, and you never want to slam the employment door shut just because you don’t want to have a difficult conversation. Instead, send a quick and polite message to let the recruiter know you’re moving on to other opportunities.

On the other hand, if a hiring manager ghosts you, here is a resource that might shed some light on why, and here is another one to make sure you stand out next time.

@pivotandedge link in bio for more info! trying to hire senior talent? find quality leaders + executives with these strategies! #recruiterlife2022 #recruitertiktok #hiringnewemployees #hiringstaff #hiringstrategy #startuptiktok #startuphack #recruiting101 ♬ Miss You – southstar

4. It’s quiet… too quiet:

“It was a dark and stormy night while I was sourcing passive talent for this really cool start-up. I spent all day reaching out to over 100 people…crafting personalized messages…showcasing the interesting work involved…only to get zero responses.”

RECRUITER ADVICE: If you’re crafting personalized messages, you’re already on the right track. However, perhaps there is a piece missing from your strategy if you’re getting zero responses. With marketing, there’s a funnel or pipeline for everything; recruitment marketing is no different. 

We recommend familiarizing yourself with that funnel so that your strategy has a backbone – so make sure you have these four pieces under control: awareness, interest, nurturing connections, and closing. Here are 5 ways to hack your marketing to get that reply you’re looking for, and here’s some advice on talking to passive candidates. 

CANDIDATE ADVICE: Obviously, you don’t have to respond to a recruiter’s message if you don’t want to. However, this story may give you some insight into the effort that goes into outreach messages. Behind that message is a person, so it’s always nice to respond (even if it’s a polite no). 

If it simply comes down to a lack of understanding, however, here are some tips on how to interpret an employer brand. Before you ignore a message, you might want to look into a company’s site, socials, and messaging. If it’s still a no after your research, you know for certain that you’re not missing out.

There we have it! 4 hiring horror stories and 4 pieces of advice from a candidate and recruiter perspective. We hope these anecdotes help you find your dream applicant or your dream job – but if you need extra help, we’re always here for you. Happy Halloween from Pivot + Edge!

*Topic credit to Laurissa Cebryk

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