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Craziest Criteria Clients Used To Recruit Staff

Craziest Criteria Clients Used To Recruit Staff

Our clients have used some strange and surprising criteria to select employees over the 21 years we have been working in the property and real estate industry. We reveal our list of the funniest, weirdest and downright bizarre criteria clients have used to select staff, showing the stranger side of what really can go on behind the scenes in recruitment.  

It is important to note that we wouldn’t recommend our clients to use any of the methods outlined below. The methods listed are from many years ago and we would never breach the confidentiality of any client or candidate. The industry has thankfully become more professional over the years!

  • Numerology
    One client used the birth dates* of short-listed candidates we put forward to determine if they’d be a good fit for their organisation. The candidate had to have what they deemed to be a suitable birth date before the client would look at their resume.
  • Car cleanliness
    One client would use the cleanliness of a candidate’s car to determine whether they would be a suitable employee. Their method was to walk the candidate to their car after the job interview to see how dirty it was. Note to self – must wash car!
  • Front garden neatness
    On one occasion a client called us to raise concerns about the tidiness of a candidate’s front yard. We found out that this client would drive past the homes of any potential employees to see how tidy they were and used this to evaluate if they’d be a good fit**.
  • Throw a ‘bomb’ into the job interview
    At a real estate conference years ago, a speaker recommended a job interview method to the audience for testing how their candidates coped under pressure. It was called ‘the bomb technique’. They suggested that during job interviews, the interviewer should suddenly remember they had to urgently go shoe shopping (or a similar scenario that worked for them) and insist that the interviewee accompany them straight away. The idea was to see how the interviewee would react to this strange scenario.
  • Star Signs
    Multiple clients have looked to the stars to decide if candidates would be a good fit for them. On those occasions this method was used to recruit personal assistants and administrators that would be working very closely with the employer. Once, after receiving a resume for a short-listed candidate from us, a client requested their birth date so they could send the details off to their astrologist.

Recruitment techniques today

Some of these methods used years ago have been replaced with more technologically savvy ways to ‘snoop’ on potential employees, such as Facebook ‘stalking’ (also known as looking at someone’s Facebook profile) or looking at someone’s house on Google Earth (if the home address is known). Were these methods a violation of privacy laws? At the time, perhaps no, but today, employers need to be very careful not to discriminate against potential employees. 

Whilst we can have a chuckle about these past selection methods, compared with today’s standards, many of us would view this behaviour as unfair, discriminatory and an invasion of privacy. Whatever your thoughts about the methods adopted, the truth remains that many employers want to know more information about potential employees beyond what is achievable during a job interview.

If you have your own stories to share, we'd love to hear them.

* Recruiters haven’t been allowed to include birth dates on resumes sent to clients for many years, as it can be used to discriminate against candidates. 

**We never disclose a candidate's address to employers until an employment contract is signed. 

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