We do interviews then send selected candidates to panel interviews.

Considering the following scenario:

If an applicant comes into the building after they receive a rejection letter, and asks you in person why they were not selected to continue on in the interviewing process.

What would be a suitable response or course of action if this happens?

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    Is this a thing that happened? – TheSoundDefense Jan 11 at 17:11
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    This seems awfully vague. Depends on details, how the applicant is behaving and their age and sex, location, what is the office like and who are present... Any answer can't be anything but speculation. – hyde Jan 12 at 8:57
  • Ask them to leave and tell them you will call security of not. – Mawg Jan 15 at 8:29
  • funny how no one is even considering simply telling the person the truth. Has truth gone out of style in XXI century? – Lech Rzedzicki Jan 17 at 8:56

First, the person would actually have to get into the building. To do this, they typically need to pass the front desk, and there is no reason for the front desk to let them in. That's neither rude nor inappropriate, but perfectly normal when someone shows up without an appointment for whatever reason (interview related or not). "Sorry, the people you want to see are busy".

If they try to force their way in, call security or the police.

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    Ask them to leave. If they don't, call security or the police. – Caleb Jay Jan 11 at 22:25
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    You can't know how hard it is to get into the particular building or office premises, so this answer appears to be just speculative. – hyde Jan 12 at 8:59
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    @DavidThornley: then they are trespassing. If someone would show up at my desk unannounced I'd escort them out of the building and have charges filed. Hasn't happened once in my 30+ years. Most front desks know how to do their jobs – Hilmar Jan 12 at 14:23

Give them no information. If they press, refer them to the information in the rejection letter or refer them to contact the recruiter they were working with at your company (assuming it wasn't you). If there are signs that make you uncomfortable, do not hesitate to call your building security or the local police or law enforcement.

Giving ANY information is not going to benefit you personally or your employer. Your employer has already covered all the bases they care about in the rejection letter. That process exists for a purpose, you should respect that. Giving the candidate info likely won't benefit the candidate, either - if they're not fit for the job, giving them info on why won't suddenly get them hired. And if they want to "improve for the future" they certainly can, and should, focus on getting employment support elsewhere (ie a third party recruiter, job training, etc), not from an employer who has rejected them. Your obligation to interact with this individual ended when they got the rejection letter.

Job interviews and hiring processes can be stressful on candidates, and can bring out the worst in people who aren't equipped to handle the stress. You don't know their mental state or how they handle negative feedback, and in a situation where they've just randomly shown up and confronted you, they're already showing signs that they may not be the most stable, by-the-book person. Think of your own personal safety first and do what you can to de-escalate, end the discussion, and get outside help from security or police as needed.

  • And this is just one reason why interviewers generally do not give out their contact information to the interviewee. (Though sometimes it is easily guessable or discoverable, like an email address.) The interviewer is not the one on the hook for the legal elements that must be considered, nor is he typically trained on it - but if he volunteers something to the rejected candidate then he may become so, and there's no upside to him for that! – davidbak Jan 12 at 2:26

Provide feedback if you feel comfortable doing so. If you don't simply say you can't divulge that information or give them some sort of canned answer like "we felt other candidates were better suited for this position" and usher them out the door. If you're worried this candidate might get angry and come back with a machine gun or something then alert the appropriate authorities.

  • This answer seems the best. Even though it is not a typical behaviour for companies, every candidate should have the right to know why they were rejected -- ideally in their rejection letter. I wouldn't think upfront that such person is a threat or in a bad mental state or talking about weapons... Major words. I would say: try to address its request if you can and be polite to that person while doing so. Then, when leaving, apologise and make sure s/he leaves. – Kiddo Jan 11 at 19:31
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    @Kiddo "every candidate should have the right to know why they were rejected" Companies tend not to elaborate because it opens them up to all kinds of legal liability if the candidate doesn't like the answer. – Blrfl Jan 11 at 20:49
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    Providing specific feedback is a dangerous, slippery slope, which is why many (most?) employers won't do so, directly to a candidate. There's nothing for the employer to gain, and by saying anything specific, you're opening yourself up for potential backlash (ie you unintentionally give them ammo for a discrimination lawsuit). – dwizum Jan 11 at 21:13
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    Agree with @Blrfl on this, the company has zero upside and only potential downsides to even having this conversation. A rejected candidate randomly showing up at the office is very abnormal behavior, and is not the type of person you want to give any possible legal fodder to. – Nuclear Wang Jan 11 at 21:31
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    @Kiddo - this guy shows up at the office to ask why he was rejected? When has that ever been acceptable behavior? It's definitely a red flag - it may not be an actual threat but it is surely a caution you can't ignore. The person has a contact number or email for the recruiter or maybe the hiring manager: His question is properly asked by email or over the phone. Not in person. – davidbak Jan 12 at 2:23

Your organisation should have a process for this. Usually the information they can be given is exactly the same as that they would have received in the letter turning them down, or also quite commonly they will be turned away unless they have an appointment.

In the UK we have a requirement to provide interview notes to the interviewer if they ask, but typically that is all.


I think it goes without saying that this kind of behaviour is unusual and probably inappropriate in most cultures, but I don't think that needs to preclude giving the person the information that they're seeking. Perhaps even more so in this situation as the individual might not be aware that they're breaching social norms - in all likelihood their blind spots didn't help them during the interview process either.

You'd be well within your rights to turn them away, and in the absence of other responses I'd probably be emphasising that a bit more, but given the responses already cover this I'll focus on another option; I think the likelihood of harm arising from having a conversation with them is overstated in the other responses. Using the time to explain your decision and what they can do to improve their chances in future might be a hugely valuable experience for the candidate.

I think the other answers are needlessly paranoid and too narrowly focused on solely fiduciary obligations, to the point where they seem to amount to countering some perceived entitlement with fear or even more entitlement. There are plenty of completely innocent explanations for this behaviour and while a cursory assessment of their mental state wouldn't be a bad idea I also think the risk of some kind of violent derangement or an impending lawsuit at the slightest item of constructive feedback are just plain silly.

Having said that, this conversation would be a good time to point out how inappropriate it is for them to show up like this, and that they would have improved their chances by simply calling or sending an email for further clarification. This feedback might be more important and useful to the candidate than any constructive commentary on their interview performance.

I initially mentioned a disclaimer that I wasn't from the US, which I took out, but I'm starting to wonder whether the downvotes are related to a jurisdictional/cultural issue. I don't know whether the risk of someone arriving with a weapon or lawsuit are a realistic prospect elsewhere; they definitely are not where I am from.

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    -1 Someone who things turning up in this fashion after already being rejected, shouldn't be indulged – motosubatsu Jan 12 at 9:10
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    @motosubatsu I fail to see why this is a big deal. Obviously it's not appropriate or socially acceptable, but I don't think that should necessitate being rude to them or locking them out of the building. – quant Jan 12 at 10:44
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    Why reward rude and entitled behaviour? All that will do is encourage it. I'm not saying you should be rude to them or lock them out, but politely and firmly turn them away. – motosubatsu Jan 12 at 12:28
  • @motosubatsu locking someone out of a building and refusing to talk to them on the basis that their behaviour is outside of social norms strikes me as more "rude and entitled" than what the candidate is doing. – quant Jan 13 at 14:48
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    You don't see harm in a potential lawsuit? Yes, it's a worst case. But the best case is a waste of time so you're not missing out on anything. I'd never ever want to re-consider a candidate who behaves like this. The reason people are down-voting is because your answer is bluntly dangerous. – Jonast92 Jan 15 at 12:32

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