Haunted Hiring, Ghastly Ghosting, and Creepy Candidates

October 26, 2022

Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer

Halloween, a time of year where we go out of our way to be scared. Masks are worn (for fun) and people dress up as someone or something… honestly, it sounds like every day in the world of talent acquisition and recruitment, and if you’ve ever hired someone who turned out to be something they weren’t then you’ll know. 

Business people looking at a city skyline

What You Need to Know to Make it Out Alive This Halloween

This year, if you want to make it out of the haunted house of hiring then you’ll want to be on the lookout for these creepy candidates. There’s a reason we like to go after passive candidates…  

  • Witch, Wizard or Warlock – These are the candidates who put a spell on you. Their LinkedIn profile/resume looks magical, and those initial calls are filled with promise. They know what to say to get you interested but don’t be fooled. They will do one of two things: 1. Use you to get more out of their current employers. 2. Expect you to owe them something in the future. These are the candidates who expect you to work for them and that can cost you everything. 
  • Ghosts – You know when you’ve been ghosted. These candidates will make you question reality. They might be the candidates who respond with interest on LinkedIn but then you never here from them again. Their LinkedIn profile might also change and where the was once a profile picture there is now only the grayed out square of emptiness. You might have even spoken to them and then nothing. Calls aren’t returned, texts are shown as delivered but there’s no reply, emails are sent into the ether. All that you’re left with is a uneasy sense of hopefulness mixed with defeat; haunting stuff. 
  • The Clown – This candidate thinks they are “IT” … These candidates love to interview, they love to make themselves look good and honestly, it’s enjoyable… to start with. You have a great connection at the beginning, everything seems fun and lively but then it turns. Dig a little deeper with these candidates and you’ll realize it’s all make-up and that they are wearing shoes that are far too big for them to fill. All that glitters is definitely not gold with these candidates and if you hire them, you may just end up with pie on your face.  
  • The Vampire – These well dressed and seemingly put together candidates demand EVERYTHING from you. On paper they look perfect for the role, but during the offer stage it becomes request after request, and the negotiation process goes on forever, draining you of all energy. (They are also a nightmare for HR as they are often found bothering certain members of the workforce) They also refuse to work during the day.
  • The Werewolf – Hire a werewolf at your peril. Initial calls go well and on paper (like the vampire) they are excellent. In the light of the moon (after some probing interview questions) the monster comes out. If you bring one of these people on to your team, what starts well will quickly turn into something wildly scary and potentially catastrophic. These werewolves are out for themselves and can be quickly become the kind of arrogant and argumentative team member that can wreak havoc on your culture. 
  • Frankenstein’s Monster – It’s always great to have someone on your team who can put their hand to anything, but Frankenstein’s Monster is different. This candidate has had multiple careers, they have a wide range of skills and can pretty much do anything, but they have no heart, and they don’t really know who they are. These are the kind of candidates that won’t be able to perform unless you shock them, and what good manager wants to do that… Expect this candidate to leave you in less than a year to pursue something completely different as they search for who they REALLY are. 
  • Zombie/Walking Dead – Hire this candidate and they will be late to meetings (in person or online), you may never see them on a Friday. Their calendar is always blocked off on Monday morning. They also don’t know what “deadlines” are.  IF they show up to the interview you may need to brew them some black coffee (or just show them the door) as they may be a little worse for wear. These candidates are what pre-hire medicals and drug screenings were created for. 
  • Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde – These two-faced candidates are a nightmare. On one hand they are excellent at their jobs, in some respects they could lead the way in terms of innovation and creativity, but they come with a cost. They are type of candidates that can cripple your culture by talking about other team members behind their backs, using information against others and contributing to a level of toxicity that requires an antidote. Did we mention they are excellent at what they do though… 
  • The Skeleton – You may recognize these candidates from their lack of experience and personality. These are the candidates that flood your inbox with enquiries to the jobs you posted on your company website or online job boards like Indeed. You don’t go looking for them, they are coming looking for you. There is nothing particularly sinister about these candidates, they have nothing to hide… they also lack the skills for the job and if they do make it to the interview stage (because at least their resume shows the bones of a potentially strong candidate) you will find them lifeless… 
  • Van Helsing – The candidate who can overcome all of the above, they can defeat the monsters and win the day… but they will cost you. Their salary expectations are exorbitant, but you need them… for now. Expect them to leave when the job is done, for more money and more impact. They are A-Players, but they work alone. These candidates are best hired in fractional positions or brought on as consultants. 
  • The Priest – This candidate knows what they are stepping into, they’ve done their research on your company, they have the right tools for the job, and if you let them, they will expose things in your organization that might scare you if you hire them, but don’t worry, it’s for your own good and they will help you and team your team grow. This candidate may insist on wearing robes. 

If you want to take the fear out finding the right candidate. If you want your hiring to be a little less haunted or if you want to do the Scooby Doo and see who you’re interviewing for the person, they really are (it WAS mr Rogers from the abandoned theme park all along, and we can hear that candidate saying, “I would have landed that job that I wasn’t qualified for, equipped and aligned with from a values perspective if it wasn’t for that meddling Talent Acquisition consultancy”) there is a sunrise coming. The great thing about working with a “People First” organization is that monsters and ghosts need not apply. 

Partner with Titus   

More than recruiters, Titus Talent Strategies are a team of Talent Optimizers who genuinely care about the work we do. We take the “haunted” out of “haunted house”. We don’t ghost candidates. We empower companies to put the right people in the right seats through informed, connected strategies (and a series of silver bullets) that combine data with an empathetic understanding of what makes people tick. We recognize that our partners are investing in us and that results mean more than just people placed in a role. It’s about impact and connection. We’ll enter the haunted house of hiring first and make sure there are no surprises awaiting you.   


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