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Think your co-workers are strange? Get a load of these HR horror stories

Ever get a sinking feeling when you’re around a certain co-worker? Someone who may have a substance abuse problem or a very liberal attitude toward work hours? You’re not the only one. Hiring managers have a wealth of eye-opening, scary workplace tales.

A new hire was given a company credit card for food and lodging during training, according to one JazzHR manager. The bill had a number of charges from an adult novelty store near the hotel. Asked about these unrelated expenses, the employee said he did not want his wife to find out about the purchases because they were for her birthday.

In the middle of an interview, the candidate said he had to make a quick phone call. An hour later, he was back and still wanted to proceed.

A hiring manager from the JazzHR network had several candidates begin looking extremely confused mid-interview. Asked what the problem was, they all said they needed a reminder about who the manager was and what company they were interviewing with. Apparently, they had applied to multiple jobs and could not keep them straight.

Shortly after the recruiter hired what he thought was a top-rated candidate, the new staffer began arriving for work later and later each day, until he started coming in at 4:30 p.m. No surprise, his work suffered, as well.

A new hire seemed like a great fit. Two days before his agreed-on start date, he called and asked if his start date could be moved back a week. The company agreed. The new start date arrived, but the employee did not. They called, left messages and sent emails with no response. They waited an additional week, thinking maybe he miscommunicated and meant the following Monday. Still no employee.

More calls, messages, emails, but no response. They moved on, held more interviews and hired another staffer. Two months later, the no-show candidate called and asked if he could start now. He said he had had to leave the country for an emergency but was now ready to report for work. He did not, however, have an answer to the question, “Was the destination without cell coverage entirely?”

A recently hired team member insisted on moving the desk in his cubicle, according to one of the JazzHR anecdotes. There is only one way for the desk to fit comfortably in the space. So he blocked the entrance and had to climb under his desk anytime he needed to leave his cube.

A recently hired team member claimed to be allergic to carpets, the air system and his own desk. He asked multiple times for everything to be replaced.

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While recruiting for a medical group in a health system, an HR manager interviewed the son of a well-known physician in the same organization. Although the candidate didn’t have the necessary hands-on experience, the process had to be handled tactfully. The man interviewed well and appeared to be extremely coachable, so they found a spot for him – but a drug test showed traces of marijuana. You’ll have to imagine for yourself how awkward it was trying to explain to a physician why they could not hire his son.

During the interview, the HR manager thought she had the perfect candidate for the position. Just before the job offer was made, the candidate began sweating profusely. The manager offered water, turned the air conditioner to a lower temperature as he began to mumble. The manager began panicking about having a medical emergency on her hands. The candidate excused himself to go to the restroom but didn’t return after 15 minutes.

She asked a male staffer to check on the candidate in the men’s restroom, but the door was locked and barricaded. The applicant wouldn’t answer calls to open the door and began rambling aloud. The fire department was called, and after 20 minutes the applicant emerged, totally intoxicated (empty bottle in hand) and possibly under the influence of something else. The next day his wife called requesting to know when his start date would be.

The HR manager hired a temporary administrative assistant. One day, the manager needed something from the office the temp was in. “When I entered, the lights were off. It was before lunch, so I thought it was rather odd that she was nowhere around and the light was off since I didn’t see her leave,” the manager said.

So the manager turned on the light, and suddenly the desk chair moved. “Talk about scaring the heebie-jeebies out of me,” the manager said. The temp proceeded to climb out from under the desk. The manager asked why she was under there. In a calm, even voice, she told the manager she was taking a nap.

After a phone interview, the recruiter emailed a candidate to tell him his qualifications did not meet what the company was looking for. The job seeker started leaving voicemails and sending emails demanding to know what he was missing. He accused the recruiter of hiding something because he was rejected so early in the interview process.

On the third or fourth voicemail, he said he hoped it wasn’t because the recruiter searched him on the web and found his hacked Facebook page with pornographic images. As if the voicemail wasn’t enough, he proceeded to send an email with a screenshot of the hacked page and explained that he was trying to regain control of the account, but it wasn’t working.

A job offer was made, and the candidate ghosted for four days. He reappeared and said he’d been camping, and accepted the offer to start in two weeks. Ten days later, he contacted the recruiter to say he had a doctor appointment on his first scheduled day of work, and also would it be OK for him to leave early every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few months? Needless to say, he did not end up working there.

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