We've all heard the phrase, 'Not everything is as it seems.' This even applies to resumes. Sometimes, some candidates like to fabricate their skills and the truth is only revealed once they are hired. Recruiters reveal the candidate they wished they've never hired in the first place. Content has been edited for clarity purposes
"The lady was interviewed at our fabric store; she seemed a good fit as she was a quilter and also did apparel sewing. We were thrilled since we had only one other serious quilter on staff. I will never quilt, too finicky for me. If need be, I know how to figure out the right amount of fabric and how to assemble them.
So she showed up for work, and immediately after giving her an hour or so of showing where things were, she went to the pattern books to look for her next quilt project. So we redirected her to help customers. After lunch, she was at the quilt fabric area with a dozen bolts down, choosing her fabric. So we redirected her again. After work, she got her fabric. The next day she started again, now she wanted to start cutting out the quilt pieces. So for the third time, we redirected her to assisting customers, stocking, and learning the register. So that went well.
By the third shift, she was at it again. Now, this was the fourth time we’ve redirected her with the fourth explanation of why she wasn't going to be making a quilt on company time. She was so unhappy that she gave notice when her shift was over. She told me she simply wasn’t going to be able to finish her quilt on time. For some reason, she felt that she was going to be able to spend her time quilting while the rest of us took care of customers and the store. She wasn’t the only one who thought that, but she was the most blatant."
"At Northrop Grumman Company (NGC), a guy I interviewed came across as affable, trustworthy, and eager. This was a very simple contract Receiving Inspection position and he could be taught what he might not be familiar with.
The first day on the job was an official orientation followed by a lot of forms completion and orientation videos. The next day on the job was mostly an orientation to the department after having received a badge and more forms from security. The third day on the job was mainly getting acquainted with NGC systems by observing someone else and gaining some familiarity with the various NGC Program-specific requirements. Until the tech folks could set up an account for him, he was with someone all day, observing. And that was where problems began to reveal themselves.
He would say things that were inappropriate, making the lady he was working with uncomfortable.
The very next day was rainy. I'd stepped outside to the smoking area and was quietly contemplating every aspect of exactly nothing when he stealthily appeared behind me, which was startling. He was asking me strange, non-sensical questions but it was when he began accusing the Huntington Beach Police Department of having entered his apartment recently and illegally removing some of his personal items that I realized the guy's current persona was markedly different from the manner in which he presented himself initially during the interview.
I quietly asked around and got some other impressions from the lady he'd been assigned to.
As it was now a disturbing incident, I informed my boss of everything I had learned including what really worried me the most, what his take on the extensive security measures in place at NGC might become. Badge Entry, Air Force, and Naval Officers everywhere. Code locks on every door. Video cameras everywhere. Off-limits areas. How might he begin personalizing or interpreting all of that if he was making open statements regarding a local police agency?
My boss took care of everything right away. The man never returned from his lunch.
I felt bad for him that I had to initiate a process that led to a termination. I wondered whether he might have simply stopped taking medications that might have otherwise allowed him to function normally. But you can't take chances. Not in today's world and not when several groups of employees are involved."
"I hired a sales guy for a financial services business. He claimed to have experience bringing in accounts. He said everything right and really looked the part. We reviewed the sales strategy for the firm together and he was confident he could do the job. We were super clear about goals, sales targets, and expectations.
We hired him and after four weeks, he did nothing.
Turns out he was waiting for me to take the lead and tell him what to do. We had specified all this in the interview and agreed on goals before he started. I offered some coaching and set specific goals for him again. Two weeks later, still no action.
We ended up letting him go. He was genuinely surprised.
To this day, I have no idea why he went passive on us. Maybe showing up and looking the part was enough in his last job, but we needed action and results. And truth be told, a sincere effort would have been good enough in the beginning.
You can try to help someone, but they need to meet you halfway."
"I hired a woman for a first-level management position that had a salary of about 200,000 dollars. Her resume and references looked good. We’ll call her, 'Judy.'
Almost immediately, she sought out a pair of malingerers who were already department troublemakers.
We were in the process of converting from a paper-based data collection system in the pharmaceutical industry to a computer-based system. As part of the plan, we were bringing the work in-house rather than contracting the work to outside vendors. The two malingerers were trying to obstruct any change from occurring.
After two weeks of orientation, I gave Judy her first assignment. She was to oversee one of the malingerers in developing an SOP (standard operating procedure) for our in-house, computer-based data collection. She had been hired to do precisely that. Before I had finished describing the assignment she got up from her chair, pounded her hands on my desk, and told me she would 'shove my SOP up my butt.' She then proceeded to tell me what a stupid idea my plan was. I had done it already at several other companies with big payoffs in time and money. Storming out of my office, she stopped long enough to tell me what she’d do to me if I insisted on giving her that assignment.
I went immediately to HR to request that she be terminated. HR refused. HR was sure it was just a misunderstanding. Instead, Judy would be sent to some training course and be re-evaluated in two months. She became even worse. HR still resisted, complaining that it didn’t want to be on the hook for a severance payment.
Then I got lucky. My company was acquired by a much larger firm. With a new HR team, I was able to persuade them to terminate Judy and the two malingerers. Judy would get six months’ severance, the other two a full year. This was far more than they deserved but I wanted them gone. All three severance packages were sent to my office in neat little folders. I was to schedule exit interviews for all three that afternoon.
Before I could do so, my boss forwarded to me three resignation emails. The trio had decided to spite me by sending their resignations to my boss rather than to me. As much as I disliked these three if they had sent their resignations to me I would have told them to hold off so that they would get their severance. Since they had taken their parting shot, I simply sent the severance packages back to HR.
I ran into Judy a few months later at a trade show. She didn’t miss the chance to tell me how great her new job was, that her boss was so much better than me, and etc.
I let her finish her rant before telling her about the half-million dollars she and her two pals had left on my desk."
"Many years ago, I was working for a finance company. As a brand new manager, my first task was to hire an assistant manager. The regional manager helped me interview the candidates. The one we ended up hiring was a woman who seemed more than qualified, but I couldn’t quite warm up to her. I just didn’t have a good feeling about her. However, the boss thought she was okay, so we hired her.
She ended up being my worst nightmare.
She had emotional and mental issues and complained to my boss about me not being friendly enough to her in the morning. What?? Meanwhile, I was trying hard to learn my way around my new job and new goals, etc. After not too long, she was off on short-term disability for a few months. She came back with a sour attitude and more of the same. Plus, she just couldn’t get on to our way of doing things. Then, more short-term disability. No chance of getting rid of her under those circumstances.
I lasted a year. My first and last experience with managing. I learned it’s not for me. I also learned to trust my instincts about people."
"In my previous company, we had an urgent requirement for a Xamarin developer. Eight out of ten resumes that I got from HR was filled with bogus, fake, or insufficient experiences. But then I got this profile of Mr. Vijendra; what a resume it was. He was a top NIT (National Institute of Technology) guy with 10 plus years of experience in mobility and in bold letters, it read 'Won Microsoft Xamarin Hackathon' and 'Certified Xamarin developer'.
How naive I was, I didn’t even bother to ask him a single pertinent question. The image which I carried after going through his resume didn’t allow me to ask any tough technical questions. I sort of assumed whatever I know, he knows ten times in that area.
The first day of his joining:
Me: 'Vijay, you got the 'git’ access, kindly go through the codebase. For any doubt, just ping me and I will explain.'
Vijay: 'Sure, man.'
He kept himself busy for the next two days. He didn't bother me once, and I thought, 'Champ, got it all figured out himself. Impressive!'
The third day of his joining:
He asked, 'Who wrote this code, man?'
I said, 'Team has done it, why?'
He said, 'You call it codebase? It is garbage, man.'
Hearing this, I felt like someone just punched me straight on my nose. There was no team, I alone have coded it all. And I am a guy who takes extra care of design and abstraction. His word made me realize I had miles to go before I could call myself a developer.
Gulping down the insult, I said, 'That’s why you are hired, sir. Guide us.'
That whole day, I went through my code to find out what went so wrong, however unable to figure it out, I thought to get some help. So, I called Mr. Sachin, who was my tech lead in the old days. That very night I got my code reviewed by Sachin over Skype, he said, 'Man, you have done a brilliant job! It looks like an official Xamarin repo.'
Even though I got my confidence back, I didn't fully recover from the thought of meeting Vijay tomorrow again. It kept me anxious.
On the fourth day of his joining:
I was waiting for him to come to me because I didn't want more insults. And he did come, but not alone. He was accompanied by our technical manager.
As usually, beaming with confidence, he said, 'Saket, we need to start from scratch, man. This codebase is trash. I had a one-to-one with Vivek (manager) and I have shown him the code. He agrees with me.'
This was my breaking point, I looked at Vivek to seek an explanation. It was my three months of effort, how can someone scrap it like that?
Vivek said, 'Saket let’s look for the future. I know, Xamarin was new for you, it happens. We need to deliver on the industry’s standard.'
I never expected my manager to say that.
I said, 'Look, sir, Xamarin company started in 2011, and I've been working on it since 2013, so no, I am not new to it. Also, I would like a proper explanation from Vijay on the quality of the code before scraping it all.'
Vivek gave a blank stare to Vijay, and this new guy was ready with his dialogue as if he was prepared for anything.
He said, 'Saket, this is regressive attitude. When a guy twice your experience suggests something, he does it with responsibility, not to demean you.'
I was dumbfounded, but I didn't know how to counter this patronizing behavior, so I had to let it go.
The next day, I went to Vivek and directly said, 'I won't work alongside Vijay, because to me that code still works and unless someone explains to me why should a working copy of code be disposed of, I won’t be part of it.'
What Vivek said next made us burst into laughter.
He said, 'Cool down, Saket. Your colleague failed to set up working environments and other dependencies. He is getting 2000 plus compile-time errors. I don't want him to start anything. I am pretty sure we hired a guy who wouldn’t last one month here.'
Long story short, Vijay couldn't even set up the project in two weeks. By the third week, he went on leave and only came back to put in his one-month notice. Then he went on to doom some other IT company."
"A few days ago, we were looking for a developer, who could work on a system designed around open source technologies. We were interviewing lots of developers and we were screening them through a half an hour telephonic round. We came across a candidate, whose profile was sent by HR, whose technical skills and communication skills were above par. I literally enjoyed interviewing him. I ranked him first in the list of selected candidates in screening and I gave the feedback to my manager. My manager trusts my opinion.
On the day of the face-to-face interview, we were quite sure that we would select this candidate.
My manager met him first and he said, 'He seems alright. Just for the sake of formality, let’s have a second technical round of discussion.'
The moment I entered the room and introduced myself, I noticed that he started to become uncomfortable. I ignored that, thinking that maybe he was a little nervous. I gave him some programs to code for which I was expecting a pseudo code of the solution, depicting his approach towards solving a problem through programming. I gave him some time and left the room. When I came back and looked over his code and asked him to explain, one by one I found that his approach was very novice for all the problems. Had he ever coded?
I didn’t ask many questions and I left the room. My manager was there in the room observing all this.
He came out and asked, 'What happened?'
I said, 'The solutions are not up to the mark. Some of them were actually very stupid. I don’t know. I am confused now.'
My manager then talked to him some more. I came to my desk and then I realized that it was not the same guy who had interviewed over the phone. I was sure because I now was able to recall the questions I had asked over the phone. If he had answered them, then he could have definitely applied them to write better programs. It was definitely someone else who did the telephonic interview on his behalf and whoever that was, he nailed it. And this lad who showed up was dumb.
I called my manager from my desk and said, 'He is not that guy. Don’t waste any more time.'
We gave feedback to HR about every candidate and naturally, there was a drastic difference in the way he has performed in the two rounds. The HR guys came to my desk for an explanation which I gave to them. They were also not happy about this because it was an utter waste of our precious time. They kept his name in their records so that he should not be entertained for future openings in our company."
"I and my district manager were looking to hire an outside sales rep for a new territory out in New Jersey. So, a local guy from that area came in with a stunning resume and really great personality. It was an awesome interview, where we had some laughs, and he was telling us that he knew all these people who he’d be able to call upon immediately, and he had his own prospect list. The guy was a stud.
Turns out he was a dud. The first month, he made no sales or new business. That was fine, he was just starting out. The second month, still nothing. He was just learning the ropes. The third month with no sales still.
I thought, 'Mmm... okay, he’s still figuring it out.'
And something else started happening. It became more and more noticeable that every time we brought him in to go over the monthly goals and duties, he was giving us a little more attitude each time. Now, my district manager was a real ball-buster, so he was giving it right back. We kept this up for about six months, and he still had no new business or sales. So, he and my district manager got into a huge fight where they were trading insults until my manager fired him.
A month later we got an email from corporate saying that this guy was suing our branch for creating a hostile work environment. Turns out this guy was recording every encounter we had with him on a little tape recorder he kept in his pocket. I don’t know if corporate paid him to go away, but from then on, my old company sure as heck started doing a reference check on everyone.
Looking back on the whole thing, I should’ve seen that this guy was working some type of angle. Since I was in my early 20’s, and he was in his 60’s, I think he saw me as someone he could give his knowledge to. So, whenever I’d see him, he’d talk to me about how he cheated on his taxes, how he was still receiving workers comp checks from other businesses, and so on and so forth. He was a slick customer."
"In the early 90s, our business unit needed an additional administrative assistant. The decision to hire wasn’t mine, and since I hadn’t filed a requisition I was asked to interview the candidates only as a courtesy and if I could fit them into my schedule.
The candidates all seemed to be competent and experienced so I didn’t give the matter much thought other than could the candidate function in the role. I can’t recall any input but assumed it was of a thumbs up or down nature.
I later learned in a staff meeting that one candidate was selected by the Senior Administrative Assistant, who doubled as our HR rep to fill the job.
I vaguely remembered that she seemed nice, polite, and reasonably experienced. Other than that, she wasn’t particularly remarkable. But I rarely forget a face having seen it once. I couldn’t recall exactly what she looked like but then I had met so many applicants they tended to blur.
One morning soon after, I was crossing from one wing of our suite to another through an open balcony, overlooking the reception desk on the first floor. Since we were a secure facility, the guard saw me on his monitor and called up to me and asked me to guide the new hire upstairs. I stopped and leaned over the balcony railing to verify.
The new hire was the woman whose face I recalled. She was dressed from head to toe in black with black lipstick and lots of makeup, wearing a black hat, a floor-length black cape, carrying a staff and satchel bag, and lots of silver necklaces and other assorted bling. I was a bit stunned. I smiled at her and told the guard that I would be passing by the Senior Admin’s office area and would let her know that her new hire had arrived so she could be onboarded properly.
I walked through the doors after swiping my ID card and told the Senior Admin that her hire was out front.
She looked at me like, ‘Why didn’t you just direct her up?'As we usually did for each other.
I said, 'You need to do this yourself.'
She did. The new hire did not come upstairs. I never saw her again.
I was told at a later time that the new hire asserted that she was a practicing witch and that these were the clothes she chose to wear regularly. I’ve met Wiccans before (grad school naturally) and they presented as normal people to me, so I just shrugged and let it go. Clearly, this was a different case. Since the person responsible was HR, I didn’t want to know any more information about this affair should there be some legal action forthcoming."
"There was a national tech contracting firm that had provided programming talent for us at an hourly rate. My role as the head of product management was to help the candidates understand the work and handle general interviewing questions. We had a technical assessment test done onsite and a series of interviews. We rejected a few candidates. Then an amazing guy showed up.
He breezed through the interviews, tested, and showed keen interest in the project. We told him and his firm we wanted him right away. The firm said he had to wrap up something and would be there in two weeks.
Two weeks go by and well after nine am, the development manager came rushing into my office and said, 'Contract Firm sent over someone completely different for the job. He has the same ID name but is a different person.'
'No way,' I said, dumbfounded.
I walked into the room the guy was in with HR getting his creds and sat down.
This was not only a different person, but this guy didn't speak much English and looked as different from the interviewed guy as you could imagine.
At this point, I didn't care if he was competent or not. I walked him out. Any firm that will do something as unscrupulous as this will do more. When I called the firm, they first acted shocked, then said they found the ‘clerical error’, and then admitted it was a more serious error and would fire the recruiter responsible. We fired the firm."