I had an initial phone interview with a HR guy (a recruiter from that company; let's call him "Bob") from a company that I was interested in. It went well, so Bob and I agreed that he'd send me a few time options for a 2nd phone interview with a more senior HR guy. (Company is in a different state, so everything is via phone/skype until later stages).

Instead of sending a few time options, Bob just sent me a Google Cal invite for a specific time. I didn't make a big deal since that time happened to work out for me.

A day and half before the specified time, I realized we hadn't discussed travel enough, since jobs which require traveling are an immediate "no" for me. I sent Bob a quick email asking him if this job requires travel.

Bob didn't reply, so I figured I'll just ask the more senior fellow during our phone conversation. The arranged time came and no one called me. (We had arranged that they would call my number, rather than me call them.) After about 10 minutes, I sent an email to both HR guys asking if they're still available to talk. This was around lunchtime. The senior HR guy never replied in any form, and Bob only replied at 6pm that day. Bob's reply was that he left me a voicemail and also tried calling again later in the afternoon to discuss the travel, but I hadn't picked up. Bob suggested that we touch base the following week.

However, I didn't have any missed calls or messages from him. I replied to him, trying to keep it positive, saying that I didn't see any missed calls or messages, and could he check that he called the right number for my cell - XXX-XXX-XXXX?

Bob replied that he did indeed call that number. Apparently he doesn't believe me that I didn't get his calls/messages. But from my side, he had called me on that same number for my initial phone interview, so I find this whole thing a bit fishy.

Either way, now he wants to reconnect to continue our discussions.

I'm not interested anymore, though, thanks to his communication (or lack thereof). I also highly suspect he was going to try to talk me into agreeing to a minimal amount of travel occasionally (even though I haven't heard a solid confirmation that travel is required). Again, I'm not interested in having that type of conversation.

What's a nice, diplomatic way to end this without burning bridges or making myself look bad?

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    You really need to consider if it is worthwhile withdrawng because of the actions of a recruiter. You may be missing out on a good opportunity. If there are other reasons, that's fine. Sometimes HR gives the wrong impression about what a company is like. Jul 9, 2019 at 1:51
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    @GregoryCurrie Either way it's a huge red flag. If they hire people that incompetent, what else are they doing? Jul 9, 2019 at 4:09
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    @GregoryCurrie: good companies tend to have good HR. Bad companies tend to have bad HR. Because HR people are recruited by the managers who run the show.
    – virolino
    Jul 9, 2019 at 5:33
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    @GregoryCurrie: "it's something the OP needs to consider" - I fully agree. But he should consider everything from the point of view of his own objective reality. And the fact in his objective reality is that even the front-end of the company is broken. Your experiences and my experiences are most useful to us - for him, they are just opinions.
    – virolino
    Jul 9, 2019 at 5:58
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    @GregoryCurrie: if Op has a friend inside the company, then OP can get more information about what is going on, without relying only on the front-end image. But if there is no inside information, the front-end is the only hard evidence in hand about his own particular problem. It is useless information if I had a different experience. Me or anyone else on Earth. Question: would you buy an expensive fragile item with a damaged box? Hoping that the valuable stuff inside is not damaged? The item is the company. The box is HR.
    – virolino
    Jul 9, 2019 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


What's a nice, diplomatic way to end this without burning bridges or making myself look bad?

A simple statement, something like the one below, should do the trick:

Thank you Mr. XYZ for the job opportunity you presented to me. However, because of some changes in my life, I am temporarily not looking for a new job any more. Maybe we shall have the opportunity to cooperate in the future again. Kind regards...

Of course, you will not tell him that the "changes in your life" are exactly the recruiter's actions.

Regarding the parallel the quality of a company vs the quality of the HR people in the said company

While there might be bad HR people in a good company, usually the HR department is a good face for what happens in he company. From my experience, I can tell that even good HR specialists have to show a "sh&tty face" because of the internal rules of the company.

Of course, you can get lucky, and end up with a great team in there, but when things will change inside, the reality will hit you. Sooner or later.

Bottom line: take the experience as a ed flag. If they show you an unfriendly face even before you go there, they will have no reason to improve after you join them.

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