Nightmare Interviews: Horror Stories from the Other Side

Hiring managers aren’t the only ones with a few horror stories under their belt from the recent labor market — job seekers are all too willing to share their complaints online anonymously. 

The interview chair puts not just candidates under scrutiny, but those who conduct them as well. 

Read on to look at hiring through the candidate’s lens to explore hair-raising hiring practices haunting the shadows of the recruiting world and learn how to ensure you’re not going to be some poor candidate’s nightmare.

Common complaints from job seekers today 

Getting ghosted by recruiters

It’s like a modern-day vanishing act—candidates submit their applications into seemingly welcoming arms, only to be met with a deafening silence one day in the process. This epidemic of ghosting isn’t just heartless; it’s harmful to your company’s reputation.

Everywhere you look, employers talk about how they can’t seem to get candidates to actually show up to interviews — but candidates also face their own form of ghosting from potential workplaces. In today’s hiring market, it is absolutely crucial to maintain communication lines, to keep candidates informed and engaged, and to follow through, even if it’s to deliver disappointing news. The courtesy of closure can turn a frightful experience into a respectful parting. You never know if an applicant will be a good fit for a role you have later on, so remaining on friendly terms is always a good policy to maintain.

Unrealistic expectations

Hiring is a daunting task, but the search for that ‘unicorn’ candidate can lead to a wild goose chase. The solution to this isn’t to make applicants prove how much they want to work for you, as this will often repel qualified talent away. 

Ditch the demands and instead, identify your absolute must-haves—such as specific certifications or degrees — but remain open to changing dynamics. Some candidates will rise to the challenge without ticking every criteria on your wishlist so it’s imperative that you have recruiters and hiring managers in place who are able to look for willingness and eagerness to learn during interviews or who have demonstrated a history of learning new skills and growing into roles.

Sticklers for the STAR method

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method has become idolized in the interview process to an unhealthy degree — and it’s hurting recruiters who rely too heavily on it. While structure is important, don’t enshrine it to the point where a candidate’s story loses its sheen. 

If a candidate can articulate a challenge they faced, the actions they took to address it, and the outcome of their efforts, they have told a story worth hearing—even if it doesn’t rigidly stick to STAR’s script. Remain elastic in your expectations and you might discover potential gleaming in unstructured responses.

Being strung along in long hiring processes

In the twists and turns of the recruitment cycle, long-drawn-out processes are a tortuous and unnecessary journey for job seekers. The number one driver of ghosting in interviews across industries is a lack of communication, transparency, and frequency. Top talent doesn’t remain in the skilled trade hiring market long, as Hireology data revealed that companies taking longer than two weeks from application submission to offer letter are missing out on the top 25% of job seekers who are hired elsewhere. 

 With so much on the line, clarity and speed are kindnesses. Be decisive—don’t leave candidates hanging ‘just in case.’ For those you might consider for future opportunities, ensure they’re not left in limbo. Stay true to your word and allow them to either move on or prepare for the next round with candidate communication that takes the guesswork out of where they stand.


Sometimes, the interview horror unfolds due to the candidate’s own undoing. Maybe they’re rusty from time spent away from the workforce or nervous about proving their knowledge with new skills. Consider the candidate holistically and don’t make their nerves the only factor in your decision, especially if it’s for a role that isn’t required to meet with customers every day, face to face. 

Ready to hold better interviews and make better hires?

Making better hires begins with the interview process itself. Schedule a demo today with the Hireology to discover how an ATS can empower an interview process that engages top talent, reduces no-show interviews, and improves quality of hire at your organization.



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