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Recently I was offered a job at a company but I declined it. One of the biggest reasons for this was an unpleasant interview by someone who would have been a senior coworker. I heard that this company sends out surveys to applicants regarding their process. Usually with things like this my instinct is to not burn any bridges and to just lie and say everything was great (I assume that when they say "anonymous survey" they mean "anonymous until we want to look at who submitted it"). I also don't want to make trouble for that interviewer, but at the same time they were basically the reason I didn't take the job. Is it productive to say that on the survey? I'm not sure what the company would even do with that information because it's not like they'd fire the interviewer for this, and if they're a symptom of company culture rather than a cause, it was good to know in advance rather than after I accepted the role. This is all in the US.

I would really appreciate any insight on this, both from the perspective of if I'm hurting myself in the future by being honest and if it's a waste of time to try to give honest feedback. Thanks

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    It's possible that this company is using the surveys (in part) as a way of working out why candidates might be rejecting offers.... – user44108 Oct 31 '17 at 16:46
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    I'd suggest asking yourself - Say the company would condemn the interviewer's behaviour, how would they find out about it? What do you have to lose by telling them, if you don't want to work there? – Dukeling Oct 31 '17 at 17:48
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    This is a waste of your time. – Mister Positive Oct 31 '17 at 18:06
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    "anonymous until we want to look at who submitted it" - while there are some, or even possibly most, ethical people who probably do use a completely blind process, good for you for not being naive about it. – PoloHoleSet Nov 1 '17 at 15:24
  • The fact that they have a survey should be enough to justify your decision to turn it down. Now if you excuse me. I have to send out surveys to employers who didn't hire me...... – user7360 Nov 6 '17 at 23:53
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Is it productive to say that on the survey?

Some companies might try to improve their process based on feedback. This might benefit the company (if that's what you mean by productive) but is unlikely to benefit you at all. If you mention an individual, there's a chance it will hurt them (which you indicate you don't want to do).

It's unlikely you will actually hurt yourself (and if you did, you wouldn't know that you did) - it's more likely just a waste of your time.

In general, I just decline to return such surveys.

  • i appreciate all of the answers but i have chosen this once since i think nonresponse will be my course of action now and in the future. Thanks everyone who answered. – alfalfa Nov 2 '17 at 20:15
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The thing about burning bridges is that you won't always want to go back to the same bridge in the future.

Are you likely to be trying again with this company? I suspect it's unlikely that you'll meet the same person again in the future.

You could respond back by saying that the company isn't a good fit for you, which covers a multitude of sins, or you could be more explicit and say you had a personality clash with the interviewer and didn't feel that you'd be a good fit.

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Don't overthink this. Forget about the interview and move on.

You have nothing to gain from filling out an "anonymous" survey. They clearly wouldn't call you back and tell you something like "Thanks for your honest feedback, it helped us a lot in improving our process. We would like to redo the interview." because they still have to pretend that the survey was anonymous.

The more likely scenario is the "anonymous" survey responses will be fed into some database to generate "metrics" to be presented to middle management, and then nobody will look at it again.

It is not your problem to "fix" their interview process. Besides, in the big scheme of things, it is not even an issue that needs fixed. They will find a suitable candidate eventually and you will find a better job.

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Is it productive to say that on the survey?

I think you have the freedom to say whatever you want in that survey.

If you phrase it in a constructive way (without bad mouthing or pointing fingers) you are reducing your chances of bridge-burning while still giving the feedback you feel the need of giving. If they want they can go back to check your interview process to try learn how to improve on that (and maybe see that the problem is indeed that interviewer).

Also, that company probably has a survey for them to be able to improve their processes, so If you say that everything is OK then in a way you will be perpetuating this problem (or not helping to solve it at least).

Again, just consider if it is really worth giving the feedback, and if you do I still suggest you try to keep it as professional as possible, you never know if this will come bite you in the future if you do otherwise.

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Here is the question for you to ask yourself:

What is the upside of disclosing that I refused the job because I disliked one of my interviewers?

I can not think of any that have tangible benefits.

On the other hand there is plenty of downside.

As you noted there is no guarantee of anonymity. But there is also no protection for you should they choose to disclose your answer to other employers. I know of at least one platform that does share lots of survey information with background services. Your complaint may seem petty, and the decision to share it, could burn more than just the bridge with the one company.

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    In addition, I suspect the OP's feedback about a particular interviewer will be read as sour grapes. The company most certainly collects feedback from the interviewer as well. If both the interviewer and the candidate write that the other guy sucks, then it is obvious whose word carries more weight. Besides, even if the survey were truly anonymous, mentioning a specific interviewer by name and additional details from the interview makes it a lot easier to pinpoint the candidate should anyone be so inclined. The candidate has nothing to gain and plenty to lose from this feedback. – Masked Man Nov 1 '17 at 2:39

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