I applied as a software developer to a small to mid sized software company in Germany. Both my home and the company are in a relatively small town (~100k population) so there are not a lot, though some, of options where I can apply. I went through the interview process of said company. We had two meetings, the first of which was more the get to know type and the second one included several technical tests, including some programming exercise with their code base, which I beforehand solved at home. In the first meeting I told them that I wanted to work 75%, i.e. a 30h week, due to family restrictions. In the second meeting this was discussed again and I restated that I could only work 75%.
One day after the second meeting the company told me that they are offering me the job via email. The email stated that the decision was easy as all members agreed that I was very well suited for the job and would nicely fit their team. We scheduled a third meeting in which the exact details of the contract were to be discussed.
In the third meeting we discussed some little details and they told me that they would send me a exemplary contract with the exact salary. The agreed start date was 1.5 months from this meeting. In this meeting I told them that I would like to take parental leave for six months, six months after the start of the contract. They told me that that was no problem and the head of the company even told me that he thought it would be illegal to withdraw the job offer now (No kidding, I am not making this up...). In the third meeting only the head of the company and HR was present. In the other meetings many members of the company including the head of software development were present. I was open to some bargaining over the parental leave but it seemed to be fine so we did not bargain.
Well today they did withdraw their job offer. The rejection was basically worded as if there had never been a job offer. They stated that my intention to work 75% was the main reason for the rejection. My intention to take parental leave was not mentioned at all.
It seems obvious that the parental leave issue was the true reason for the rejection but they don't want to disclose this fact maybe due to fear of legal retaliation. This makes it obviously hard to honestly discuss the issue. My questions are now two fold, looking at the past and future:
- Should I have acted differently throughout the interview process?
- Especially should I have disclosed the intention to take parental leave at the first meeting or only after I signed the contract?
- Do you think the company acted heinously or that this kind of behavior is just to be expected and normal in the industry?
- How should I react? I have the phone number of the head of software development, who also send me the rejection. So I could contact him by phone, i.e. semi of the record, or contact him or other members of the company via email.
- Is there any chance that I can still get the job?
- I am probably not willing to actually take legal actions but I am still pretty annoyed. Is it wise to do anything else but to send a polite "standard" reply? I am especially annoyed by the dishonesty and the fact that I solved their relatively time consuming homework while I would have preferred to spend time with my newborn.
Context: I am male and live in Germany. The company is in Germany as well. In Germany one is entitled to parental leave, i.e. if I had signed the contract they would have been obliged to grant it.