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Is there a sudden trend for companies to interview people when they're not a position to offer a job ?

I've had 3 interviews in the past 6 months where everything went really well, got positive feedback, got a verbal confirmation that they intend to make an offer, give them all the paperwork and then nothing.

Always with a similar story of the role got pulled after a review, or something along those lines. These are medium to large companies with significant financial resources.

There is a material cost to me attending these interviews and they've acted in bad faith by running a recruitment process without the intention of offering anyone a job.

Is this now a common thing and is there anything I can do to recover costs from these companies ?

closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, Monoandale, Rory Alsop, JazzmanJim, Twyxz May 7 at 11:36

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Were you given more definitive proof that the company never intended to offer someone a job to begin with? There can be numerous reasons why circumstances change between advertising a job and confirming their final candidate. – user34587 May 3 at 11:16
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    If you were interviewed, there will be a position. No company likes to waste its own time. However, it is not so uncommon for an "informal", non-binding, offer, as you describe, to be made to a second-choice candidate, to keep them hanging in case the first-choice falls through. – Joe Stevens May 3 at 12:26
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    "they've acted in bad faith by running a recruitment process without the intention of offering anyone a job." That sounds like an assumption and not a fact. – dwizum May 3 at 13:43
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    You might be surprised how often some part of a large company interviews people fully intending to make an offer only to find that higher levels of the company cancel the opening. – DJClayworth May 3 at 14:45
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    @user1450877 You are right,but the people interviewing you have wasted even more time and are even more frustrated.And don't forget that a cancelled opening can be uncancelled again, and if you performed well at the interview you will be first on the list when it reopens. – DJClayworth May 4 at 12:21
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Think of it this way: the company is also investing equivalent (if not more) amount of time and effort interviewing you (and may others), so if they have no intention of hiring, this would be a loss for them, too.

So, to answer:

Is this now a common thing and is there anything I can do to recover costs from these companies ?

No, this is not a common thing, and apart from the usual agreed upon cost-reimbursements cases (food, travel, lodging) - there is usually nothing more that you can get reimbursed for.

That said, a note: Not all the time companies convey the actual reason behind rejection. Also, another probable thing to consider, irrespective of the financial state of any organization, everyone wants "cheap n' best" solutions - just sayin'.

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    Your first paragraph is a very important point that cannot be under-emphasized. In fact, it's likely the company has invested more into this than the candidate has, if they're burning up the time of multiple people to review your resume, prepare questions, and attend interviews. – dwizum May 3 at 13:46
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The answers here are pretty good but I did want to offer an alternative from my experience that could explain things. I have worked for a couple of IT consulting firms that appeared, from the outside, to have strange interviewing and hiring tactics. These tactics make more sense once you are on the inside.

The first company never ever had a concrete open position to fill.. They subscribed to the "Hire really smart people and let them do their thing" mantra.. The business model was to get clients to pay for consultants by the hour so it was never "we need a web developer" it was "can we justify billing over $200 an hour for this person"... If the answer is yes, welcome to the team, if no, we dont need to create a position for this person. We would let just about anyone into the hiring process since the only requirement of "getting the job" was to impress the hell out of everyone in the interview.

The second company was similar except that they would get a request from a client and then scramble to fill the position. I interviewed with both the consulting firm and then the client. All went well except when I got the call back, the consulting firm informed me that their client was pulling out of the deal for an unrelated reason. The "open position" vaporized instantly. I incurred some expenses since this firm was in another city but I handled it well... they called back a year later and gave me a spot at a different client with no second interview.

I agree that this kind of example is pretty rare but also, I think, an understandable situation depending on industry and business type.

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Is this now a common thing

Assuming it indeed interviewed in bad faith (which is a big assumption), it is not a common thing. However, it is not unheard of as well. One reason from my experience is just to please the a referral. I was referred to positions in past by one of the senior executives. They interviewed and I thought I did very well but they simply declined me next day. I learnt later that they already had some other plans with that position but since I was referred from higher up, they wanted to complete a formality. So there could be weird reasons like that in large companies.

is there anything I can do to recover costs from these companies ?

Other than your travel & living cost (If you did travel and if they did agree earlier to pay for it ), no you cannot recover any other cost.

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The most likely explanation is bad luck. As others point out, hiring managers rarely want to waste their and their team's time on a hire they have no plan of making.

To round out the possibilities, I'll add a couple scenarios, but neither would explain why they'd go so far as to suggest they're going to offer you a job.

It's conceivable that meeting legal or corporate policy requirements might be in play. Say you are in a jurisdiction that has anti-discrimination laws. A company might interview from certain demographics to give the appearance of not discriminating, even if they already have a candidate in mind or (yikes!) actually are discriminating on illegal grounds.

There are even anecdotes that might be true or might be conspiracy theory like companies using "failed" interviews to demonstrate they need to be allowed to sponsor a visa or permanent resident because there are no viable local candidates.

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