A company director has criticised the benefits system after his firm offered jobs to seven unemployed people - and not one turned up for their first day.
Stefan Black, of Car Smart in Hersden, near Canterbury, Kent, said five of the potential employees told him they were better off on welfare handouts. With 2.65 million people out of work, Mr Black said he was shocked by the lack of motivation, and blamed the benefits system for not providing enough incentive for people to work.
Mr Black, 39, said: "We sent all the successful applicants a script to learn, details of their pay structure, hours and breaks, as well as directions on how to get here. We spent time setting up folders for them - yet not one had the decency to phone in to say they weren't coming.
"We got on the phones to ask where they were but got no answer from most of them until we withheld our phone numbers. I spoke to one girl who said her dad told her it wasn't economically viable to come to work and that she would be better off on the dole, which left me flabbergasted.
"My colleague rang another who said, 'Oh, it's raining. Sorry'. Another guy phoned in at about 12.45pm and said, 'Oh, sorry - I overslept'. The underlying message from most of them was that coming into work wasn't worth their time, and that they were worried they were going to lose their benefits."
Mr Black said the firm, an independent online marketing portal for car dealers in the South East, was expanding and looking to fill telemarketing positions. Employees receive a basic retainer of £100 a week initially and are enrolled on to the company's commission structure, which could see earnings rise to up to £350 a week.
Mr Black said: "After that, the sky's the limit and there is money to be earned. It's a nice working environment, with lovely offices and new computers. All they had to do was turn up."
He added that the lack of motivation in some candidates was evident from the way they dressed at interview, and that it was frustrating for them as a small, expanding business.
He said: "One man turned up unshaven, dressed in a long leather trench coat and a hat with shark's teeth round the edge of it. He looked like Slash from Guns and Roses. As soon as he walked in for the interview he said: 'How long's this going to take? I've got band practice at one o'clock."
Mr Black went on: "For some people, they would rather sit at home and play PlayStation rather than interact and build their social skills. It's a toxic virus that's affecting the whole employment market."