Bad Apples

Business owners share their hiring horror stories.
This story appears in the February 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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We asked entrepreneurs to recall their worst hires ever. Here's what they said:

Scott Testa, 38;Mindbridge Software Inc. in Norristown, Pennsylvania: "We hired someone [who] would fall asleep in [his] cube and start snoring. [Another employee] mentioned [it] to management, and it was glossed over. Now, when someone approaches us in regard to an issue, we take it a bit more seriously."

Alyson Dutch, 39;Brown & Dutch Public Relations Inc. in Malibu, California: "I once hired this gal who was super-utilitarian." Or so Dutch thought. "I loved her skills-until one day, [a client] called to complain that if I [didn't] fire her, my company would get the ax. One of our partners on the project also complained of things that had not been done. I had had no idea the project was in jeopardy, as my employee insisted on a daily basis that all was well. [I learned] being an eternal optimist is not the best policy when it comes to hiring."

Peter Cunningham, 33;Cunningham & Co., a PR firm in Chicago: "My worst employee was a college intern. [She] had two or three therapy sessions [per] week over the phone with her psychiatrist in California-on our dime. I once sent her down the street to Office Depot to get 50 copies of a press kit made. Two hours later, I walked down to Office Depot to find her sitting on the floor in the copy center crying over a mess of paper. She thought she would save a penny per copy by doing it herself. Unfortunately, it didn't work out so well.

"One night, we were at a hotel with clients before a big event that started at 8:00 [the next morning]. She excused herself to get dressed for going out with some friends. We saw her later in the lobby dressed in the Gothic fashion of Marilyn Manson. The next morning, she showed up looking like death itself and proceeded to run out of the event to throw up."

Edition: November 2016

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