The dog ate my homework

The below is dedicated to all those HR personnel / recruiters and managers that have gone through the process of recruitment only to be let down at the last moment.




The people that have been stood up by a date that does not show.

To  those primary school teachers who had to listen for decades the proverbial “ The dog ate my homework”

(I tried this line once in grade three with a Mrs Candar. I never did use it again. After being given the cuts across the knuckles by her trusty ruler that we named bob. Why Bob? Because that’s what you did when Mrs. C and Bob would walk the isles of the classroom.

If you ever have to ask why the HR Department has a boxing bag erected in their office then you have never recruited.

Have you ever interviewed what you believe is a brilliant candidate. That you and the team have interviewed several times by phone, Skype and in person. Reference checks were excellent. AND the boss is happy .The offer goes out ………


No reply.No answer


Right at the time this offer comes out. The candidate was very efficient before hand. Now there are tumbleweeds rolling in the streets. You don’t want to think it BUT you know what is about to occur.

A script is about to unfold by the candidate that you have heard all before:

1.There was a sudden family medical emergency.

2. My grandmother has passed. (Again)  This one should go straight into the rather large Grandmother passed away file. How many grandmothers do people have ?

3.The phone was not working.

4. I lost my phone

5. My dog ate my phone

6. Where will my 3 children go to international school? This was not on their resume . Never mentioned by the candidate in the interview till the offer. Each child of school age years in locations like Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China etc. are a cost to the owner of a minimum of  $20,000 used pa. We love children BUT there is a cost that must be borne by someone. Out to the punching bag I say!!

7. My partner needs a job.

8. I have had another discussion with my partner.

9.My partner just got offered a promotion…………really? Just then. What are the odds of that? Out to the punching bag

10.I’ve had second thoughts.

11. I did not realize how expensive accommodation is.

12. I have been counter offered. This is  even after the candidate relied with  an emphatic NO when asked by the HR or Recruiter : Would you accept a counter offer ? Off to the punching bag.

13. I have been told Ill lose my bonus.

14. I have a 6-month termination clause.

15. I wont be accepting and decided to stay where I am.

16. OR The phone interview was great and a person to person interview set up. Then you are hit within the first minute of the office interview ; You are thinking,  is this the same person?  Trying to marry up the image on linkedin and the phone conversation to the person now in your office ? Much like the first date where you both got it wrong.


17. In the worst case the candidate just does not show up on their start date. A no show . The first date scenario.
Where did I go wrong ?

You did’nt . Life just happened.  
If one does walk past the HR office and hear or see an individual going hell for leather on the punching bag using expletives $#%@ $#%@ S#%@ leave them be. DO NOT say a word. Just keep walking .

There should also be a HR venting booth.

As you have noticed the HR department is pet / cat free for a reason. Replaced with the punching bag.  Very wise indeed.

What not to say to recruiter:

  • What’s the market like? 
  • What’s out there?

The market will always be the market. The market will always be out there .The market has its ups and downs but it’s always there.

As Basil Faulty stated to and elderly lady when she asked, “ Where’s Torquay “ There it is madam, its between the sky and the sea. It’s called Torquay.

And so is the market. It will always there. And if it’s not one day neither will you or I .

If you are talented and  performing in your job you will always be employable. There will always be positions. There will always be a market for you.


If you have an outgoing personality. interesting in your own way and dress well again in your own way. You will be somewhat alluring to the opposite or same sex.The dating market will always be there not matter what age .


  • I am thinking of changing jobs. 

I think of many things but acting upon them is another thing.

You would never try “ I am thinking of marrying you “ what reply do you think you would here “ DON’T BOTHER ”. So do not use this on with a  recruiter. What do you want the recruiter to do if you are just thinking ?

I asked my father many years ago ; When will I get married?

His reply was:

“ You will know when you know son  “

At the time I thought this is a silly reply. I was a teenager that knew most things and my father was old and knew little. Funny in the end he was right. What are the odds of that ? ……..
In other words

You’ll will know when you know. 
One day it will hit you without thinking.   “ Today is the day  “  And a weight is taken off your shoulders. Now go for it .With a new lease of life , passion and enthusiasm you are well on your way .

When the student is ready the teacher appears


  • I want to test my worth in the market. 

To be blunt. Test the market in your own time. Do not waste the recruiter’s time or the HR department’s time.

  • I want to practice my interview skills.

You have a mirror? There you go. Practice in front of that.

  • The position you have advertised on your web site who is it for?

Most recruiters are given jobs by the client in confidentiality. So unless they have your resume and all your contacts and there is a trust. It would be unusual the recruiter would divulge this information over the phone .So do not ask.

  • If it’s a job too good to refuse


  • If it’s a really, really good job. I would be interested. 

These are the Charlize Theron George Clooney type roles.

What’s a really good job to you may not be to others . Recruiters and HR  are not mind readers.

IF a job comes up from time to time that pays very, very well. Are in ideal locations with exceptional companies and owners. The HR or Recruiter or Client is also looking for someone really, really good. A George Clooney or Charlize Theron type .

A man was looking for the perfect lady. When he found her he soon realized that she was looking for the perfect man.

A recruiter or HR will call you when they believe you would be a good fit for a role they have .

  • I am looking anywhere:

Anywhere to a recruiter means anywhere. Many times a recruiter or HR department will call only to find that anywhere is not anywhere. BE PRECISE with a recruiter or your phone will stop ringing.

The Cover Letter: 

How many times have HR /Managers / Recruiters opened a cover letter to be hit with:

1. Dear Sir of Madam.

2. To whom it may concern.

3.Dear Sir /Madam I have heard so much about your esteemed company. ….pray tell what company is that?

4. Dear Sir / Madam , I am applying for the quality position for which you have advertised. …….Which one would that be kind sir ?

5. Or there is no Dear Sir or Madam just a “ Howdy” Well Yee ha. Partner



Steve Jobs and the delete button


In the back shed of Steve’s parents house in Mountain View California. He turned to his mate Steve Wozniak with the words “ lets invent a computer “ but it MUST HAVE a delete button ”.


Jobs was firstly asked by Wozniak what is a computer and why a delete button ? Jobs knew then that as quickly as you can send a completely irrelevant ; no where near experienced in this field CV the HR or Recruiter can just as quickly delete . Hence Jobs and Wozniak were well ahead of their time.


The words YOU MUST HAVE . IT’’S ESSENTIAL . ABSOLUTELY VITAL . DEGREE QUALIFICATIONS NESSECARY mean just that . There is not hidden meaning . No Raiders of the Lost Arc secret code . As on a date a NO means a NO .


It is now very easy to apply on line without much effort or thinking to any role ; qualified or unqualified . So the days of the HR department sending an unsuccessful letter have long gone. Hence as quickly as some completely unqualified candidates send a CV the HR just as quickly deletes them . So don’t complain that your never hear from a HR department or Recruiter . Have a good look at the roles you are applying for .




If you keep doing what your doing ; you will keep getting what you are getting.

In the end its best to have a Monty Python sense of humour AND a punching bag.

And isn’t it a relief these people in the end did not buy a bus ticket ?

“Get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus”

Jim Collins



I hope you enjoyed the read and had a slight chuckle .In the end we are just human.


Very Best Regards

Stuart Mullins Director at Executive Search International.
Recruiting executive’s world wide for the hospitality industry.

Ph: 61 403 251 411 + 61 7 5598 1516.
Email :

Author-Writer-Researcher for Best Sellers:

Searching for the Beaumont Children. Best seller 2006 2008.Three children vanish from Glenelg beach in 1966 never to be seen again. John Wiley and Son 2006. Co Author with Alan Whiticker

The Satin Man. Uncovering the Mystery of the Beaumont Children. Top three  Best Sellers list Australasia: 2013 – 2015 – 2017- 2018.

Writer for the best seller Joe Bugner My Story. Best Seller 2015 .The only heavy weight in history to go the distance with Muhammad Ali on two occasions.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Dale Carnegie