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Halloween and Bad Hires

Halloween, the spooky holiday celebrated on the 31st of October, is a time of fun, frights, and festivities. It can be turned into a nightmare when you have a bad hire who haunts employers and wreaks havoc on your businesses.

A bad hire refers to an employee who turns out to be unfit for the job, causing various problems and negatively impacting the workplace. In this article, we highlight the importance of making wise hiring decisions and avoiding potential nightmares.

The Spookiness of a Bad Hire

A bad hire can be compared to a ghostly presence that lingers within an organization, causing disruptions and unsettling the entire team. The consequences of such a hire are numerous and can include decreased productivity, low employee morale, financial losses, and damage to the company's reputation. Hence, it is crucial for employers to be vigilant during the hiring process to prevent these chilling outcomes.

Everyone Wears a Mask During an Interview

What you see and hear is not always what you get. People dress for the occasion, and mask themselves in the character that they are playing, for your benefit. It’s not necessarily what they will reveal when the costume comes off.

Before you hand out the candy (of a job offer), it’s important to do the diligence of vetting the person behind the persona. Check references, of course. But dig deeper. Try to understand the person beyond the resume. Are they going to be a good fit for your culture? Are they able to work well in a team? Are they going to meet deadlines? Are they going to be enthusiastic and motivated once the mask comes off?

Overcoming the Halloween Curse

Once a bad hire has been identified, it is crucial to take swift action to rectify the situation. Here are some strategies employers can employ to overcome the Halloween curse of a bad hire:

1. Reevaluation of Hiring Process:

- Analyze the interview and selection methods to identify any shortcomings.

- Incorporate comprehensive assessments and tests to gauge candidates' skills and compatibility with the job requirements.

- For certain positions, especially executive ones, consider outsourcing to a seasoned recruiter, who can spot potential “spookiness” from a mile away.

2. Open Communication:

- Engage in honest and open conversations with the employee, discussing their performance and addressing any concerns.

- Provide constructive feedback and offer opportunities for improvement.

3. Training and Development:

- Invest in training programs to enhance the skills and knowledge of the employee.

- Offer mentorship or coaching to help them overcome challenges and excel in their role.

Halloween is a once-a-year time of enjoyment and celebration. The extended time of dealing with the repercussions of a bad hire who tricked you with a mask and costume will extend. Improving your skills to see the person under the mask is key.

Taking steps to see beyond the mask when in the interview/vetting process, before a potential nightmare unfolds, can help overcome the Halloween curse and prevent potential damage to the organization.

The key lies in making wise hiring decisions, ensuring that only treats, not tricks, enter your workplace.


Diane Boulanger is an international communications expert who works with Standish on business communication initiatives.

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