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How to annoy good candidates

How to annoy good candidates
Marie Ryan

Marie Ryan


So you want to hire people for your small or medium-sized business. You don’t want to hire just anybody. You want to hire talented people who have the same level of dedication and passion for your business as you do.

Why should you annoy good candidates?

Good candidates have talents and skills and the confidence to go with it. They know their worth, give a lot, and expect professionalism in return. As you’re reading this article, you don’t want these candidates. These candidates are mediocre for your needs. You don’t want bad candidates, just professionals without a backbone, who work around the clock to make your business successful. 

Follow our guide to attract people desperate for a job. Employees who spend the duration of their careers worshipping you for hiring them, and eschewing all time sucks (such as sleeping, eating and showering) in favour of making your business a success. These people have nothing else going on outside of work. No family, friends, or hobbies. Their only hobby is working for you. 

Here’s how:

Don’t use HireHive

HireHive is an easy-to-use ATS*. It’s designed to make the job application process simple for you and for candidates. This isn’t what you need right now. 

You need a big, expensive clunky SaaS tool, that’s a nightmare to set up and use. This will set you up for success in annoying candidates. 

Job spec

This step is crucial as it’s the first interaction your future slaves have with your company. 

  • Start by creating an impossible set of requirements. For example, “Software engineering graduate with three years' experience”

“Marketing Executive capable of creating million-dollar campaigns on a shoestring budget”

“Salesperson who makes 500 calls per day”

  • Be generic when describing your company and culture. This repels talented professionals who are looking for a cultural fit. Say things like “innovative start-up” or “changing the world” without explaining what you do or how you do it. The people you want to hire can't know too much at this stage. 

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If your company is small, you’ll need to get creative with incentives. Why not list standard items as a perk?

  • “20 days holiday”. This is a legal requirement. Empower yourself by only giving employees what you legally have to. 
  • “Tea, coffee, and water”. Empathy is important in business. This perk tells candidates they won’t suffer from dehydration on your watch. (Tell them in the interview that they’re allowed to get tea or water on their lunch break, only, and it’s the same policy for bathroom breaks too.)

Don’t mention salary, ever

Many hiring managers list the salary on a job spec. They think that being up-front at the outset attracts the right person with the right expectations. They are wrong. Doing so gives candidates power and creates a healthy dynamic from the outset. 

If you want to wear them down and annoy them, be evasive when discussing remuneration. By the end of the process, watch them agree to any number you name.  

Now we get to the fun part: interviews. 

Inflexible interview scheduling

They’ve seen your ridiculous job spec and know nothing about the company. When you arrange interviews, give them one option only. Try and make it a time when they are busy, e.g. Friday afternoon 4:00 pm or Monday morning 9:00 am. 

This scares off candidates with anything going on in their lives. Leaving you with a batch of candidates ready to make themselves available at a moment’s notice. 

Endless amount of interviews

You could have a standardised process of screening that needs 1-2 interviews to get to know the candidate and find out if the role is a fit for you and for them. This is too reasonable and won’t annoy them. 

You want to maximise the number of interview rounds, to weed out people with a non-slave mentality. Aim for six and add in more if they let you. 

This point is crucial: Don’t tell them how many rounds to expect. Be evasive if they ask. When emailing them, tell them they got to the next round, without ever telling them it’s the final round. 

Interview advice

  • Be late for the interview.

Watch them sweat while rechecking the interview email to make sure they got the information correct. Watch them squirm as they question whether to leave or not. Wait until they are ready to walk out the door then go over and introduce yourself with a hint of apology. 

  • Check your phone constantly during the interview. Preferably whenever they are speaking. This lets them know that you’re completely uninterested in them as a candidate and the latest Twitter’s Trending Topics are more important.

Interrogate instead of interview

Good hiring managers and recruiters treat interviews as a conversation. They encourage dialogue and plenty of back and forth. Here’s how to do the opposite:

  • Prepare a list of questions
  • Ask only the questions on the list
  • Interrupt them when they start telling stories or giving examples
  • After each answer, spend a lot of time taking notes
  • Avoid eye contact at all costs. You don’t want them to see you as human. They must view you as an omniscient being.

Don’t tell them the company’s mission

All companies have a mission. They create new innovations or make an existing product better.  

For example, HireHive’s mission is to help busy people hire great people. 

Don’t tell candidates your company’s mission or describe the culture. You want to hire people completely devoted to doing your bidding. Whether they have the same values as you is irrelevant. 

Don’t involve the line-manager

If the new hire is reporting to anyone else in the company apart from you, keep the line manager out of the conversation. Ideally, they won’t meet each other until the successful candidate’s first day at work.  

If they met, they’d know if the candidate and management style are a fit. What if it backfires and they both walk away knowing it won’t work? Don’t risk it. 

Don’t answer their questions

You structured the interview to avoid answering questions. But, the candidate asked one anyway, in one of the interview rounds or in an email. You don’t want to answer the question, but you don’t want to be rude. Instead, give answers that are full of jargon. Try using blue-sky thinking, waffle, and jargon!

If they ask “What will I be doing day to day?”

Say “We take a holistic approach to assigning job duties and tasks, based on the company’s needs”.

If they ask “What’s it like to work here?”

Say "We’re creating a unique experience for our employees and customers. Our product/service is innovative, unique, and will change the world.”

Focus on red flags

When you look at a lot of CVs, you’ll spot missing details. There might be a reasonable explanation, but what if there isn’t?

For example, if someone has a gap in their CV and they say they went abroad for a year after college. Ask question after question about their travels. You’ll catch them out eventually. 

Look for any red flags and zone in. By spending all your time focused on the red flags rather than their talents, achievements, and skills, you’ll annoy the heck out of them.

Stick to standard interview questions

Good interviewers choose questions based on the needs of the role. This helps to assess the suitability of candidates and outlines the expectations of the role.

Avoid this. 

Instead, search Google for standard interview questions. If you find a book on interview questions written in the 1980s, even better. Stick to the list of questions and do not deviate. 

Get their name wrong, repeatedly

Get their name wrong, as many times as you can. Get it wrong in emails, on the phone, and face-to-face. 

When they correct you, apologise and say their name correctly. Use the wrong name again in the next sentence. One day, when they are a long-term employee, you will look back and laugh.

Get them working

You’re going to be interviewing talented people about a topic they enjoy. Why not get them to work while they’re there?

Hiring a salesperson? Get them to make 100 outbound cold calls.

Hiring a Marketing Manager? Get them to write a full marketing plan.

Hiring a Software engineer? Get them to develop a new app. 

Tell them you want to evaluate their expertise and their previous work isn’t enough. 

This will annoy talented candidates, who believe that their previous work speaks for itself. They will remove themselves from the process, leaving you with a more suitable batch of candidates. 

Make them wait

Extend the duration of the hiring process, by waiting weeks before each follow-up. With enough interview rounds and delays, it could take you six months to hire for standard roles. 

Good candidates will get better roles or withdraw their application by then, leaving only the die-hard people desperate to work for you. These are the candidates you want. 

Tell them that other candidates are better

You don’t want your candidates to be confident, no matter how talented they are. Tell them who they are up against (without naming names). If the person you’re speaking to has two years' experience and another candidate has five, tell them. 

Tell the more experienced person you’re looking for someone with a fresh approach whom you can train. Keep them on their toes at all times. 

Provide their own computer and equipment

Are you worried about the company’s budget? Tell candidates that you’re eco-friendly. If you buy them a work computer, they will have two computers which isn’t environmentally friendly. Instead, they are expected to bring their laptops from home, to work each day. 

When you eventually hire them, tell them it’s a paperless office, so they have to bring a printer if they need that too. 


So there you have it. Our complete guide to being a nightmare during the recruitment process and annoying your candidates. By following the guide, you’ll weed out 99% of candidates, leaving you with mindless slaves ready to do your bidding. 

If you do the opposite of everything on the list, you’ll find great, talented professional people, who fit the culture of the company and help you grow. 

If you want to hire great people and work in (or own) a small to medium sized company (2-200 employees) you might benefit from HireHive. Contact us today for a free trial. 

*ATS stands for Applicant Tracking Software. This is the industry term for our SaaS tool.

Humans describe it as software to help you manage the hiring process in your company.

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