With many years in the trenches of recruiting I've a few horror stories, but this one I've never forgotten..
Back in the day... I had a Temp working at my biggest client, she had been there for about 10 months, all seemed to be going well...until that call from the client..."We need to talk about Jane"
Oh dear, you know this isn't going to go well. Client went on to say that she had been missing for 4 days and had been quite erratic over the last 2 weeks (Why didn't you call me before now went though my head)
So long story short, get off the phone & starting calling Jane to find out what's happening as she has been a great temp and had been temping for us for about 2 years with great feedback. I can't reach her, leave messages, email her.. call her emergency contact details..no response...I even go round to her house as it was on the way home..no one there.
Getting a bit worried now..call her though the evening - nothing. I also called the local hospital's just in case.
I update the client the next day, he hasn't seen her, but has disconnected her access card because more information has come to light...Turns out the staff around her suspect she has developed a drinking problem...!
Fast forward two days..still trying to reach her, when I get a call from the client (starting to dread his calls now) Jane is there, he found her sitting at her desk as one of the other staff had let her in.
"Great" said I "send her over & I'll talk to her" "ah" he said "probably best if I walk her over" (there offices were almost across the road)...it just gets better this situation.
He arrives with Jane who is about 8 sizes smaller since I last saw her, very disheveled and visably shaking. He leaves her with me & I take her into an interview room. She asks for a glass of water.
I come back to find her sitting on the ledge outside the window of our building..Lets just say we weren't on the ground floor.
As calmly as I can, I call for help! It took 3 hours to talk her off the ledge.
The end of the story - she did enter Rehab and I had a nice card from her & her family for helping her.
Learning lesson for me from this was twofold - we deal with people and stuff happens you just can't control. And secondly never, ever let your service calls slide even a little bit because you can't be certain your client or your candidate is going to call you when there is a problem!
oh dear! this sounds like the mother of the horror stories submitted so far... i'm glad that you remained calm (at least you were calm enough to make that Help call) and did not run away to let someone else take over the problem (like your client did) or gave up on the temp. A thankful family and a successful rehab add honor and satisfaction to a recruiter's job! We can help candidates (and indirectly some others) in so many ways. Thanks for sharing this!