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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Recruitment Experiences

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Recruitment Experiences

WORK180
WORK180Apr 14, 2020

At WORK180 we’re passionate about everyone having a positive recruitment experience, whether you get the job or not.

We put a call out to our community asking for some of their best and worst recruitment experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly. Hopefully this provides some light entertainment of the, ‘I can’t believe they said that!’ variety during your time at home right now.

The Bad

We’ve all had a poor recruitment experience during our work life. These are some of the bad experiences people shared with us.

“I was going for a full-time role and was successful for 2nd round. Before the 2nd round interview I asked the HR manager if they would consider the role to be part time. They flat out said no and cancelled the 2nd round. About a month later, they called me to say they were open to moving the role to part time and asked me to go in for 2nd round. This time, I said no.”

This is why it’s so important to know that WORK180’s Endorsed Employers are open to a discussion in the interview about working part time!

“The worst experience I've ever had was with a very large and reputable organisation. I was referred to the Talent Acquisition person by a friend who worked at the company. I had a first interview, then had to do a series of personality and psychometric testing, then had to put together a 30 min strategy presentation and present to 4 members of the Executive Team.

I was told I was the preferred candidate and asked for references, then the next week got a call to say that there were some "concerns" about my capabilities.

When I asked for more information I didn't get any further clarity. Two days later they told me I hadn't got the role and they had offered it to a more senior candidate who wanted more money and they had been waiting on approval for more budget.

So in summary, they made me invest a huge amount of time and doubt my abilities, lied to me about the reason for the delay and then gave the job to someone else. Worst experience ever.”

Taking people for granted and acting as if they don’t matter is never good.

“I got sent on an interview where the recruiter had lied to their client saying I could use a software I'd never used that was key for the role - they'd questioned the recruiter as to why it wasn't on my CV and he told them I'd forgotten to put it on! I asked the recruiter if I should be put forward as this software was on the job description and he told me it wasn't actually needed. Obviously, it all came out the interview.”

Obviously it did!

The Ugly

It gets worse! Some of these made us gasp in horror reading them! Times are changing, but these experiences aren’t completely a thing of the past yet.

“I was recruiting for a company who wanted more women on their tech team. I found the PERFECT candidate, but she just had a baby and wanted to work from home 2 or 3 days a week. I asked the hiring manager, they got mad and said, "Is she looking for a job or to be a mum. Of course not."

How crazy to think we be both!

“I once went for an interview - afterwards the recruitment consultant called to ask how it went... and if I wanted to go for a drink with him. I said no, he told me I didn't get the job.”

Straight from the 1980’s.

“I was once asked in an interview for a job in radio if I were planning on getting barefoot and pregnant anytime.”

Was this the same recruiter as the one above?

The Good!

It’s not all bad though, we had some great stories shared with us.

“One of the best experiences I had was during a "cultural interview" where the company wanted to see if our values aligned, and we ended up talking about preserving precious art and what I would do during a zombie apocalypse! Made me feel like the company cared about more than just the bottom line.”

“The best experience I ever had was a specialist media recruiter who met me face-to-face for a coffee and didn't ask me to rehash my history - because she'd read my CV. She asked me lots of insightful questions to really get a sense for who I was and what I could bring to a role.

She found a role for me the next week and spent a good 40 mins on the phone taking me through an overview of the company, giving me background on the person I was meeting and some tips for the interview.

She also suggested I proactively put together a top line strategy to demonstrate my way of thinking. She called me straight after the interview, got my feedback and called me the next day with feedback from the hiring manager. I didn't get the role but I now recommend her to anyone who is looking for jobs in media.”

The WORK180 Feedback Loop

Applying for jobs can make you feel vulnerable and it’s important job seekers are treated with respect along the way, which is why we’ve introduced our Feedback Loop. The Feedback Loop allows job seekers to let us know how each step of the application and recruitment process was, from finding he job, to the in-person interview, to the post-interview follow up.

This helps hold our Endorsed Employers to account and makes sure you have the best possible experience when you’re job hunting! Another step towards our mission of empowering every woman to find a workplace where they can thrive.

We’d also like to invite you to provide feedback here on recruitment experiences you’ve had – whether they’re WORK180 Endorsed Employers or not. The more information we have, the better able we are to hold ALL employers to account, and the more we can flip the job seeking experience on its head to support you!

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About the author

WORK180

WORK180

WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We also take into account diversity initiatives focusing on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The information we uncover is made public on our website, so that everyone knows what to expect from each employer before applying for a job. We continually review and evolve our pre-screening criteria to ensure workplaces are fair and equal for everyone.


WORK180 is a jobs board with a difference! We pre-screen employers on paid-parent leave, pay equity, flexible working arrangements and more. Find your dream job here.


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