so I went to a conference the other day and had a talk with a company at a booth about a position that really excited me. The recruiters there also really liked me and we struck up a really good conversation in which they implored me to apply to a specific position, and send them a direct email when I did so. They then said they didn't have any people on site for that position, but I could interview for a different position in my skill set as an additional thing.

I said why not and decided to take the opportunity to speak with someone from the company in a first round behavioral from this company, and it was a terrible decision. The air of the interview was very uncomfortable, the interviewer made some offhand snide remarks about my gender (I was a man at the Grace Hopper Conference, but I always explained how I did my hardest to volunteer and provide for the cause with even work experience to back it up), and even took a point at which I misspoke and called it a "Freudian Slip" about my bias of the interview.

The whole experience made me very upset to the point that it turned me off from the company as a whole, even though it was for a different position.

My question is should I still go ahead and apply? Should I apply but tell the recruiter about my experience? Should I not apply and tell the recruiter? Should I just not apply and not tell them?

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    If you don't like the company then maybe just forget about it and move on. You don't have to reply, respond, or take action on everything in your life that annoys, frustrates, or disappoints you. Life will be full of situations and circumstances that you'll dislike. You don't have to expend time and energy on all of them. It's not that big of a deal. – joeqwerty Oct 10 '19 at 1:39

Interviews are a two-way interaction. If you're left feeling upset at the interview stage, what guarantee do you have that it will be different if they employed you? They failed at the interview stage, not you.

I think good honest feedback to the recruiter is worthwhile in this case, but don't expect the company to make any changes.

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If I've got this right, the recruiters that you're considering talking to are the original people who impressed you at the company's booth. I'd recommend pushing past the disappointing behavioral interview and expressing continued interest in the original positions that were discussed.

If it comes up, you could mention that the behavioral interview presented a very different impression of the company's culture. It may have been something very situational, like the interviewer came to this women-in-tech conference with an agenda to recruit, well, women, and let their disappointment slip at being sent one of the few non-female attendees. Not professional, but possibly not indicative of the company. The interviewer may even have been a contractor for the event, and not a permanent member of the company's HR staff, so really not representative of the corporate culture.

It could also be that the nature of the "behavioral" interview was to gauge your response when faced with interpersonal negativity. Snarky little comments about how your choice of words, or pronunciation, or whether you fit in at this conference, could be to see how easily you get flustered, or how you act when stressed. Or even to see if you give up easily.


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  • "It could also be that the nature of the "behavioral" interview was to gauge your response when faced with interpersonal negativity." if you run into someone testing you like that don't walk - run. They are psychotic and uneven if they think that this somehow provides any value to torment a first round candidate. – Tymoteusz Paul 11 hours ago

It depends on how valuable the opportunity you'd be giving up is.

So, you spoke to a couple of people at the company who impressed you favorably, and one who treated you somewhat badly. Most likely, from the sounds of things, you wouldn't be interacting with any of them regularly as part of your job if you did get a position. So... overall, maybe not a good sign. If you have tons of opportunities, and are mostly limited by your own time and energy as far as going to interviews, customizing resumes, filling out applications, and so forth, then that might be a solid reason to drop this company off the list. The person who treated you poorly might be a sign of something deeper in the company, and if there are enough openings that you can afford to skip some for relatively mild reasons, then this is a mild reason you might wish to skip them for.

If your job opportunities are more constrained by available openings than by personal resources, though, it's probably not worth cutting this company out of your life. At the same time, it's a warning sign, and not to be ignored. If it looks like you're under serious consideration for a position, it might be worth verifying that the experience you had was a feature of the specific, toxic individual you interviewed with, rather than the company as a whole. It might well be worth reaching out to the recruiters you met at the job fair for reassurance and/or better understanding.

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