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Employers expose dodgy job candidate tricks

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
06 September 2018 2 minute readShare
thumbs down, dodgy, business

Several days ago, My Business asked employers, recruiters and hiring managers to share their worst experiences with job candidates. Here’s what you had to say.

Recruitment agency Hays recently listed some of the ways job candidates are shooting themselves in the foot on social media. But there are plenty of other silly, stupid and just plain rude tactics employers have endured, as the experiences below attest:

Dressed to impress?

“[We] had a Skype interview where the candidate told us that while he was smart on the top half, he wasn’t wearing any trousers. I mean, WHY?”

Thinking on the move

“Rock up a minute late, the interview is cancelled – that’s how they’ll behave if you employ them. If they get geographically challenged getting there, they all know how to make a call. That’s forgivable and demonstrates integrity.

“We had one swinging around in circles on a swivel chair. Ask a question – he swivels around then answers the question! A double swivel if he needed to think! Amusing.

“References that are not authentic [are also a problem].”

Fake referee threatens to sue

“I received a reference, which had been photocopied, but the signature was in blue biro. I happened to know the letterhead should have been dark green, and it belonged to a local accountancy practise. I contacted the accountancy practise, who was going to take legal advice over the matter.”

The wrong kind of flattery

“[I recall a candidate] saying they really wanted to work with me because they thought I was beautiful (I was flattered but also super uncomfortable).”

Knock, knock – who’s there?

“As an employer who [has] been advertising in SEEK.com and on Jobs.gov.au for a junior clerk position, I am becoming extremely frustrated by applicants who are either overqualified for the position, well out of commuting range and when the shortlisted applicants are contacted for an interview, they either do not respond, or do not show up. One wonders if these applicants can’t read the advertised requirements or are just using their applications as evidence for Centrelink purposes to perpetuate their entitlement to the dole.”

Any job will do

“One of the more recent ones involved a candidate responding to the question ‘why do you want this job?’ by saying ‘I need a job’. Not the best.”


“I had someone who simply wrote ‘yes’ for every selection criteria on the application…”

Seeing but not believing

“I had a guy turn up wearing high-vis [for an office-based role]… Dead in the water before he even spoke.”

Fiddling the figures

“I’ve had a few applicants who reel off pre-prepared answers that don't fit the question asked, sometimes not even remotely. Also trimming previous positions out of resumes but then trying to use them as an example in a response, or being caught out fudging the dates of other roles to cover the removed position.

“Photos / age / marital status / etc on resumes – While these are illegal topics in interviews and bad form in resumes, it's interesting that reviewing applicants’ social media presence often reveals this information.”

Employers expose dodgy job candidate tricks
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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