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The Stuff of Nightmares: A Look Into the Life of a Recruiter

In the corporate recruiting system, outlandish candidate behavior is considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated recruiters who investigate these ridiculous frauds are members of an elite squad known as the Corporate Recruiting Unit. Human Resource professionals and corporate recruiters frequently deal with crazy situations in the workplace. Pepelwerk's Amanda Imperial opens up about the mad life of a recruiter.
“No, you can’t wait a week to retake a pre-employment drug screen. You’ve already tested positive for methamphetamines,” was my response to a potential hire’s inquiry.
Yes, HR professionals have to put up with lots of strange questions and tricky situations in their day-to-day. They are so commonplace that many recruiters become desensitized to outrageous behavior.

The crazy life of a recruiter revealed

Recruiters make up a segment of HR and work closely with hiring managers during the interview process and onboarding. In my opinion, recruiting is one of the most difficult professions in corporate life. Recruiters are overworked and deal with immense pressure from management. It does not matter what industry, company or size of an organization, the executives and managers tend to have sky-high expectations of securing the “perfect” hire with no frame of reference for the reality of the work.

People lie all the time

Don’t you wish you could add a lie detector test to your interview processes? This would make the life of a recruiter a whole lot easier, right? The reason recruiters ask for references and skills assessments is people lie. Since FBI resources are not available to just anyone, recruiters must make the most of reference checks and skills tests.
For a good chunk of my recruiting experience, I hired for customer service positions. We required a basic computer competency test and typing assessment as a part of the screening process. It was difficult for hundreds of candidates to share a few onsite computers to complete the process. We decided to secure a third-party vendor so that job candidates could take the assessment at home. Our vendor had the ability to email assessment links, so it was very convenient.
It was great to show hard data that a candidate “passed” our tests, but it turned out many cheated. Candidates would be hired, show up on their first day, and struggle with tasks that should have been a breeze based on the assessment. We could only conclude these candidates had someone else complete the assessments on their behalf. The mismatch of skill was unmistakable once they started the job.
It really looks bad on a recruiter to have a seemingly qualified candidate end up wasting time and money on deceitful hires. Reference checks and assessments are the answer to weeding out these bad apples, but the time it takes to successfully manage this process is crippling. In the time it takes to restart the hiring process after onboarding one of these double-dealing candidates, another handful of competent applicants could already be working at their new jobs.

Hiring managers that believe in unicorns

If you are a recruiter, you know that there is a variety of high-volume applicant tracking systems for sourcing a single position that requires a skillset…that no one seems to have. Job descriptions have become overcomplicated and oversold. Hiring managers write job descriptions for the "purple unicorn" and so no real human can qualify for the job.
Average time-to-fill ranges from about two weeks to four months, depending on the industry. The reliance we have cultivated on keywords to screen applicants have left tons of qualified candidates out in the cold if their resumes didn't include just the right words. Keyword screening also encourages "spray and pray" on the part of applicants, as they create multiple versions of their resumes to send to anyone and every one offering a job.
Employers are guilty of posting "entry-level" jobs that require two to three years of experience. They are offering salaries well under market value to see if they can get a desperate candidate to bite. And, posting jobs publically and then filling them internally with a candidate they already knew they were going to hire to begin with. Not to mention, the bain of the recruiter's existence: declining every single candidate interviewed and then reposting the job. The hiring manager could have trained a person in the time it takes to get from the job post to onboarding!
This makes the life of a recruiter very difficult. It increases the time to hire and adds to the frustration of not only the recruiters but the hiring managers - not to mention the candidates.
At, pepelwerk, we solve these problems by focusing on the skills needed for the position and matching them with the skills that candidates bring to the table. We want to reduce the time to hire and give employers only qualified candidates. These things are not mutually exclusive.

Chaotic and inconsistent interviewing practices

The job interview process can be another bane of the life of a recruiter. Poor reviews plague companies if their candidate experience is unduly unpleasant. Just check one of the many online company review sources, such as Glassdoor. These reviewers pick apart everything. The company’s website, the level of ease when submitting an application, the timeliness of being contacted, the types of questions asked during interviews, the way they were spoken to, and whether they got a good feel of what the company is like. The list goes on, and they’re all equally important when attempting to attract the best Talent.
I have faced many opportunities to assess and think about solutions to improve onboarding during my time as a recruiter. Improving job descriptions, skill validation assessments, background checks, and communication to candidates are at the top of the list.
Companies that do not have consistent recruiting processes will be more susceptible to recruitment discrimination lawsuits. These companies need protection against prohibited practices outlined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Your processes and procedures protect your company whether or not someone feels discriminated against during an interview.
I recall a time that my manager told me that they received a discrimination complaint from a potential candidate that I'd interviewed that day. The candidate threatened to make a claim of recruitment discrimination to the EEOC for not considering her for the job, due to her being pregnant. She didn’t even look pregnant! How was I to know? I hadn't asked. She wasn't qualified for the role, so she wasn't going to be in the running.


In these dire times in the recruitment world, ensure that healthy processes are in place. This means maintaining a good record of a job's requirements, the completed assessments, and reference checks. It is also necessary to keep a copy of any background checks. Records like this help protect the company if the candidate is not a good fit. No matter the type of role, or department a company is recruiting for, it is also important that all candidates go through the same experience. A misstep of showing any kind of bias will only hurt the company if a discrimination claim is involved.

How pepelwerk can help the life of a recruiter

The pepelwerk system utilizes clear, consistent sourcing of candidates. We provide an orderly interviewing process and assessments that are designed to ensure not only the candidates have a seamless experience but also assures that any legal claim against the company will be soundly refuted.
The life of a recruiter can be hard. It's a relief that companies like pepelwerk are dedicated to advancing technology in the talent acquisition space. Let's keep these nightmares at bay. Learn more about pepelwerk and how we help Employers to transform their hiring approach.
Learn about how pēpelwerk helps employers
Amanda Imperial
Boss of Product and Projects