HR Strange But True!
December 04, 2008

Before Thanksgiving, we asked you to tell us about some duds that you have come across in your years as an HR professional. You sent us a bevy of stories about hires who turned out to be turkeys. Here are the best of the … flock.

Direct Deposit

We hired a woman to do our accounts receivable, and after a few days, we noticed that there had been no deposits made to our bank account. We discovered that she did not know how to fill out deposit slips or deposit money, so she decided to file our clients' payments instead. --Anonymous

Dressed for Success

I worked for a large public retail chain that embraced the casual dress code. I hired an accounts payable clerk that had a perfect background and experience for the job. After an hour of orientation, she spent a couple of hours with her trainer in AP. Before noon, she came to me and told me that she couldn't work here because she wasn't comfortable with our dress code. She wanted to wear suits and dresses every day, and others wearing jeans made her uncomfortable. -- Anonymous

I See Sick People

As the director of HR for a hospital, we hire a lot of employees. The biggest turkey we have ever hired was a registration clerk for our Emergency Room. On her first day at work and after observing another registration clerk for 4 hours, she came by the HR office and ask me if she could go home. I asked why she wanted to go home and she said "There are sick people over there!". I ask her, what did she expect to be in an Emergency Room, and did she have a problem being around sick people? Her reply was "No. I've been around a lot of sick people, but this is just too much work to be around sick people." She left, and we have not heard from her since then. I guess working in a hospital isn't as easy as she thought it was going to be. -- Anonymous

Just Say No

I worked for a small company that just opened a satellite office. The owner's son hired a young woman because he thought her looks would please the clients and hoped to get her eventually into sales. She had no experience in our market, so it was my job to train her. As a certified trainer with years of success in that area, it was no problem for me. However, the new employee kept getting up in the middle of our on-the-job training and going out to her car for a few minutes because she “forgot something.” When she returned, she would sit at her computer and fall asleep in the middle of keying in the material I was training. The day she was told she must go for her required drug screening, she left and never returned. The owner's son still insisted she would have worked out except that I probably bored her with my training techniques. -- Anonymous

A Fashion Emergency

We had an employee who took a cell phone call during our mandatory staff meeting, said she had to leave for a family emergency, and later came back to the office with a new haircut and a department store shopping bag. -- Anonymous

All's Well That Ends Well

We hired a woman to be a traveling trainer on our software. She was told up front that the job entailed about 50% travel. Her first day in the office, she spent 4 hours online on her hotmail account. When her director spoke to her about it, she came and complained to her co-workers, whom she had just met, about being called on the carpet. After a week, she didn't show up and e-mailed us saying that she didn't think the job was for her because she had pets and couldn't travel. I think we dodged a bullet with this would have been a termination sooner or later, and she saved us the trouble! -- Anonymous

A Close Call

While on a recruiting contract this summer, I had a 'second interview' with a potential sales manager. He arrived late, talked on the phone using his Bluetooth earpiece the whole time he was in the waiting room (while my receptionist tried to help him), and was generally obnoxious. I watched the performance from the window in my office. I went out and introduced myself to him. He put a hand up to me, while he said good-bye to whoever was more important on his phone.

Another day, I would have invited him to leave, but I was feeling playful and thought this would be a great story. It was. I led him to the office to sit down, and he tried to pull out a chair for me. He put his sunglasses on his forehead--and left his earpiece for his phone in his ear. He said something along the lines of being overly qualified, but he wanted to give us a chance. I asked a few of my normal questions until... his phone rang. Again, he put up his hand to me, answered the call, spoke a few sentences and then told me I could continue. I dramatically closed my folder and said we were done. As we walked to the door, he told me that he looked forward to working with us and asked when the next training class would be and when he would be starting. TBNT (thanks but no thanks); I told him we'd be in touch.... -- Anonymous

All the Right Moves

We hired a gentleman (term used very loosely) who was provided the company's policy on relocation reimbursements before his acceptance of our job offer. In order to be eligible for reimbursement, receipts were required. He created his own handwritten receipts and attempted to gain reimbursement for time he spent packing his own boxes, at a rate of $25.00/hour (not permitted by our policy). Note, his salary was only $20.55/hour. Apparently he felt that he was worth more packing his apartment than actually performing the work we hired him for. Alas, he was let go after torturing us with other bastardizations of our policies. -- Anonymous

Sources: Our turkey-talking readers

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