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? Jan 11, 2019 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, 2019 at 8:57
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    Ask them to leave and tell them you will call security of not.
    – Mawg
    Jan 15, 2019 at 8:29
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    funny how no one is even considering simply telling the person the truth. Has truth gone out of style in XXI century? Jan 17, 2019 at 8:56
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    It sounds like the candidate is young and does not understand how business operates. Eventually he or she will realize companies cannot be trusted, and any answer is probably a distortion or a lie.
    – user25792
    Oct 28, 2019 at 18:03

6 Answers 6


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.

  • 9
    Ask them to leave. If they don't, call security or the police.
    – Caleb Jay
    Jan 11, 2019 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, 2019 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, 2019 at 14:23
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    I've snuck into offices before, on multiple occasions (for non-nefarious reasons obviously). It isn't hard.
    – Nathan
    Oct 26, 2019 at 15:21
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    I wonder what the percentage of offices with an actual front desk really is. Oct 26, 2019 at 16:03

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.

  • 2
    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, 2019 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.

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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, 2019 at 20:49
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    @Blrfl: allowing them to know that they failed the interview because they were deemed not fit because of X (e.g., one of the requisites of the offer) or they failed an assignment because of Y (they did wrong this or that). These are objective replies that I fail to see how they could be used legally to claim anything like damage or abuse. Instead, it provides clarity on the process. They (should) have some KPIs, the candidate did not meet some of them. I know that in some kind of countries they love tending to legal matters, but even so I fail to see how they could "corrupt" such replies.
    – Kiddo
    Jan 11, 2019 at 20:58
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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, 2019 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. Jan 11, 2019 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, 2019 at 2:23

Where I work, they would be able to enter the building (yes, you can enter the building, and sit on a sofa, for example if it rains outside), but they wouldn't be able to enter the stairs or the lift or any office. They might be able to sneak in though and make it to our office door which involves following through at least two further doors.

They could then ring our door bell and someone would open the door. Not recognising them, they would ask who the person is and what the person wants, and not let them in. If the person pushes past them, I can tell you that you are in trouble which would involve police. If the person doesn't, someone in management would be called to check. If nobody with management responsibility is there, it might be me or some other senior developer going to the door.

Whoever goes to the door would not let him in. The person would be told that it is inappropriate to appear at the office after being rejected in a job interview. They might be told that turning up like this indicates that the decision was right. If you came through some recruiting agency, the agency would be told.

Just don't do it. In the best case it's a waste of everyone's time and not going to help you, and in the worst case you get yourself into trouble, may be remembered, and may have problems with your recruiting agency.


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; 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 likelihood of harm arising from having a conversation with them is overstated in the other responses.

I think the other answers are needlessly paranoid and too narrowly focused on solely fiduciary obligations. There are many 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 (which the other answers seem to be implying) is 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, 2019 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, 2019 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, 2019 at 12:28
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    @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, 2019 at 14:48
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    I think this is the right answer, but I think my explanation wasn't particularly good, so I've tried to clarify the rationale a bit. @motosubatsu I think your response is a bit arbitrary. Can you point to something other than social norms that would justify the way you're proposing to behave in this scenario?
    – quant
    Jan 13, 2019 at 14:59

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