By: Audrey Landers, Client Services Coordinator

Over the past eight years we’ve hired our fair share of employees. Some have worked out great while some have…not. We had our last round of interviews back in January 2019 and were shocked by the amount of people who didn’t show up. No call, no email, no text…they simply left us waiting when we could have filled the spot with another applicant or dedicated more time to our ongoing projects.

As the unemployment rate has dropped, “ghosting” job interviews has become a common occurrence. While Urban Dictionary says the term applies to dating, we use it a more broad application. Ghosting is the “act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone, whom they no longer wish to [have contact].”

Our office is located in Winchester, VA which has an unemployment rate of only 2.6% – that’s 1.25% less than the national average! Almost half of our candidates never showed up for their interview. In fact, the first day of scheduled interviews, no one showed up at all!

On one hand, this was a frustrating experience. But it was also a blessing. These candidates may have turned out to be flaky or ill-suited. We ended up having one of the most successful hiring season in a while, with all the new hires surviving our probation period!

Ghosting wasn’t the only horror story we’ve had. Even if you vet your candidates beforehand, there’s always going to be a few interesting characters that slip through the cracks:

  • Schedule We try to keep our interview schedule flexible but are now wary of after-hours interviews after several turned out to be wastes of our time. One particularly memorable experience was the candidate who insisted on a 7PM and then showed up high as a kite! We’re still not sure of her drug of choice.
  • Common Sense is another trait that is difficult to screen for pre-interview. We had a candidate bust in on another interview and insist that she was told to do so. It took several awkward minutes to convince her that she needed to wait in the front lobby. Surprisingly, she still sat for the interview after her interruption. Unsurprisingly, she did not impress any of us enough to move past her disruptive behavior and incorrect reading of the instruction.
  • Tattle Tellers Have you ever had a candidate you liked during an interview only for them to turn around and destroy any goodwill you had towards them? In our next blog post, you’ll read more about our unorthodox hiring process. Once we had an interview that we felt went particularly well, but the candidate didn’t agree. They sent an email to our CEO, Jen Searfoss, and tried to tattle on us for “inappropriate interview questions”. She complained that we had not asked questions about her certifications and medical coding knowledge for a data entry position. She requested a second “re-do” interview with Jen who approves all questions asked during the interview process. As you can surmise, this candidate did not get a second interview.
  • Background Check Honesty You’d be surprised how unwilling some people are to fess up to the truth – particularly when it comes to background checks. Before we request authorization from the candidate to conduct a background check, we always ask the candidate if we will find anything of concern. It’s their chance to explain themselves, so we don’t have to come to our own conclusions if they have speeding tickets, a bunch of parking tickets or something truly criminal in nature. Very rarely do people tell us the truth, even if their past record isn’t that bad! If you aren’t willing to fess up to a few parking tickets what else are you going to lie about?
  • Competency Even with a good interview and a clean background, sometimes it is simple reading comprehension that makes or breaks a candidate. Our final stage of the interview is something many would think is insultingly easy: a short reading exercise and a Microsoft Excel test. So many promising candidates failed this portion of our interview process, that I almost cried the first time someone aced it!

Hiring can be a painful process, but we always get a few good stories and some even better employees. What are some of your favorite stories from hiring? Log in and leave comments below to contribute.


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