THe horror stories of candidate experience

Candidate Experience

8 Horror Stories of Candidate Experience

As the leaves fall and the crisp autumn breeze sweeps through the air, we find ourselves in the midst of the Halloween season, a time when the veil between the living and the supernatural grows thin. 👻

While many eagerly anticipate this time of year for spooky decorations and costume parties, there’s a different kind of horror that haunts the corporate world—the tales of candidate experiences gone horribly wrong. 

So, gather around the digital campfire and prepare to be spooked by “8 Horror Stories of Candidate Experience.”


“I had applied for a junior role at a local fashion designer’s company in London.

The interview went well. They asked me to design a banner. I did it. They loved it and said “YOU CAN START TODAY!”

I was super happy; I had finally landed a job. Then I thought, “Wait a minute, we didn’t talk about the money” But no problem! I thought I’d discuss it with the CEO when signing papers at the end of the day.

As I hung about I got talking to another new hire, who basically said the following: “RUN! I’m stuck, I signed the papers/contracts etc, but they refuse to pay me”.

So, I went to the CEO, said “I have to go, see you tomorrow!”. 

Never came back 😂


“Normally I’m not a ‘suits and tie’ kind of a person, I value autonomy and freedom to be who I am at work, but decided to don a maroon blazer anyway for an interview with a large multinational company that I was flown to Denmark for.

From the moment I walked in, three interviewers, in black suits started grilling me. They answered my questions like chatbots and kept talking of ‘results’. One interviewer was quite empathetic though. When I asked how they helped employees manage stress, he began to explain that high stress was a real part of their jobs when he was suddenly interrupted by the lead interviewer who started sugarcoating the situation. 

The person speaking earlier gave me a look that pretty much told me ‘This place is not for you’ — which was everything I felt from the moment I walked in, in my maroon blazer. Needless to say, I didn’t take that job.”


“Once upon a time, I went for a job interview at a well-known tech company. After a few questions the Head of Marketing sat back in the chair and asked “What is the definition of success?” I gave him a 2 line answer. 

“No” he said and proceeded to give THE right answer. I listened to him share wisdom for the next half hour which was about 75% of the interview. Needless to say that was the last we spoke. 🙈”


“My very long recruitment journey.

I had applied for a job at a top French luxury brand, one you see in magazine spreads. Little did I know the recruitment process would span 5 interviews and take more than 5 months

It started off with me badgering one of the higher-ups in their talent division. After about 3 months of constant omni-channel harassment, I got a phone call. 3 weeks later, I was on a plane out of the UAE and moved back to not-so-sunny UK. Then, I had to travel back and forth to London for 4 rounds of group and individual face to face interviews. This part took 11 weeks. Yes, 11.

Eventually, I got to have an amazing journey with the fashion house, and loved it – but my god I had to wait for it.”

Jerry Springer Waiting GIF by Judge Jerry


“When I was applying for my very first real job, I was pretty much applying for everything and ended up going to this one interview for ‘customer service’. Once there, I found out it would be selling 1000 € water vacuum-cleaners door-to-door. And the more the interviewer told me about it, the more it sounded like tricking people to get your salary.

This was not my kind of a role but the interview pressured me to take it up. I managed to escape saying I would have to think about it. And then ghosted the company because I was terrible at saying no at that age and was seriously scared that I would end up signing a contract with them if I spoke to them more!”


“I applied for a summer holiday and after a YEAR I received a thank-you-but-no-thanks message in my email. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 

Where was the application running during that time…” 


“A recruitment fair was organized at my university, where company representatives came to their own demo points. I went to the point of one big, well-known company to talk and he gave me the email address of the person responsible for marketing recruitment. 

I sent a message the same day, but I never received any kind of response. I was left thinking that it’s a shame that the investments made in the recruitment fair are wasted at that point.”


“I had always admired a company from afar and wanted to work there for a long time. When I finally got a chance to apply, the experience was not what I had expected at all. 

My email was left unanswered for weeks, and when I finally got a reply, it was addressed to someone completely different. This left a really bad taste in my mouth about the company I had previously really admired.”

What is your worst candidate experience? Share your story on LinkedIn with #CandidateStory. 

P.S. Ace your candidate experience by learning all about it. Download our definitive guide to candidate experience and wow your candidates. 

Miira Leinonen


Passionate about creating compelling stories and enhancing the world of recruitment. Helping companies to improve their Employer Brand with modern recruitment methods and superior Candidate Experience.