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After 2 interviews with a hiring manager and a few members of the team, I have failed to learn long-term goals for the team (EX: What are the goals for the team over the next 2 years) or basic day to day information about the job (EX: What time do you come into the office). In the two interviews I had, we ran out of time before I got a chance to ask substantive questions.

I have yet to even learn basic benefits for the company which the recruiter refused to discuss; she said to direct all such questions to the hiring manager.

It's already clear to me that their hiring process and interviewing skills need work. However, after one of the interviews, the hiring manager passed over his business card and said if you have any questions, please get in touch.

The last time a hiring manager solicited questions via email, the hiring manager cut off the interview early; I didn't get the job. In this case, we repeatedly ran out of time and I didn't get a chance to ask substantive questions. In order to find out these answers, I would need to send a long list of questions. It simply seems inappropriate.

My question is aside from using the contact info to send a thank you message, how common is it for candidates to essentially have a long correspondence with the hiring manager outside of a structured interview process?

  • Let me also comment that there was no phone interview stage for this job, where many of these types of questions get discussed. – user70848 Oct 30 '19 at 17:04
  • Did they give you an offer? – Time4Tea Oct 30 '19 at 17:09
  • @Time4Tea No. I'm wouldn't be able to accept based on what I know so far, and given my experience in this process, I'm on the verge of withdrawing entirely. I guess sending emails back and forth would be a way to salvage the job, but on the other hand a) is that inappropriate and b) I have to decide if I even want to. – user70848 Oct 30 '19 at 17:12
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Given you have said they haven't yet made you an offer, in my mind there are two scenarios, depending on how you are feeling about the position:

If you know that you no longer want the position, based on what you have seen so far, then you may as well withdraw your application, as there is no point in wasting further time on it. However, I don't think you would have a lot to lose by waiting to see what their response is to the interview. You can always turn the position down at a later date. Once you have withdrawn, there is no going back.

If you think you might still be interested, based on the potential answers to your questions, my advice is to wait until they respond, before you fire your list of questions over to the Hiring Manager. Because, if they don't want you anyway, then you will be wasting your time and these questions will be academic. Besides, they might offer you another interview round, in which case you may yet get a chance to ask your questions in person (and seeing their body language may give you additional useful clues).

If they do give you an offer, then you can write an e-mail to the Hiring Manager, stating that you like the position and think it is a good fit; however, you have some questions that you would like them to answer, before you would accept.

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  • This isn't exactly my question, but I am grateful for the advice. I just want to make that clarifying statement before we fully go off-question. :) So, yes, I'm not sure I want to continue pursuing this job and I'm on the verge of withdrawing. I've read advice that says you should withdraw as soon as you know, but I'm not exactly sure how you know you know. Essentially, they have interviewed me, but I haven't interviewed them and I get the sense that their company culture is that they don't care. – user70848 Oct 30 '19 at 17:27
  • I also have reservations about a few other issues regarding their business decisions and how they choose to prioritize their work; as well as use of old technology or lack of technology, etc. – user70848 Oct 30 '19 at 17:28
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    @user70848 I see what you're saying. However, from what you have described, the ball seems to be in their court, in terms of how to proceed. I don't see what you have to lose by at waiting to see what they do with it. I don't agree with that advice about withdrawing as soon as you know - I would withdraw at the point that is most convenient for you. That is what the hiring company will do. – Time4Tea Oct 30 '19 at 17:31
  • I agree with Time4Tea in a sense, but if you're unsure about the company then I don't think there is a lot of point wasting theirs and your time. One of your questions could be a "stop-in-your-tracks" type of thing. I think there is little to loose asking with any reasonable employer – Bee Oct 30 '19 at 17:33
  • @user70848 I have edited my answer, based on your comments. – Time4Tea Oct 30 '19 at 17:49
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At the end of the day, if you have a list of questions to ask in order to make a decision about the job, you need to ask them! No point in joining and then realising you've made a huge mistake. I'd suggest something along these lines:

Dear Mr Manger-Man,

It was lovely to meet you the other day, and thank you for taking the time to interview me. I realise after I left that I didn't get a chance to ask a few questions that I had, I hope you don't mind if I ask these now.

  1. What are the usual office hours?
  2. What are the team objectives/goals for the next two year?
  3. ...

I do apologise for the long list, let me know if you'd prefer to discuss over the phone.

I look forward to hearing your reply.

I doubt there is much to loose by asking (as I said, you need to know if the company is a good fit for you).

Good luck!


In the future:

As @PlayerOne mentioned in the comments, the best course of action is usually not to think of an interview as them asking you a bunch of questions, but having a conversation with them. If they ask you something and you answer, but also have a question on that topic, just ask!

If you still have any outstanding questions at the end:

"I had a few questions I wanted to ask, if you have a moment, do you mind?"

At that point, the interviewer may say they are busy right now (and offer you the card as they did this time) or they will say "Go ahead" and you can ask away!

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  • Thanks for the answer. We were't rushed, though. The hiring manager just didn't manage time well and they didn't offer any opportunities for me to ask questions. – user70848 Oct 30 '19 at 17:04
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    I think it's still fine as is, if you want to take out the part about a follow-up call that is up to you. – Bee Oct 30 '19 at 17:26
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    Regarding you're "In the future" advice, I like to take it a step further and ask my questions at a natural point during the interview, rather than waiting till the end (i.e. if I want to know more about the area we're talking about I ask while we're talking about it rather than noting it and waiting till the end). This doesn't work for all questions obviously, but it works for a lot of them, and it changes the interview into more of a normal meeting rather than an exam. – Player One Oct 31 '19 at 0:29
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    @Bee strongly agree, and I agree even more with what you said in the question that "if you have a list of questions to ask in order to make a decision about the job, you need to ask them" – Player One Oct 31 '19 at 10:46
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    @user70848 We're saying you can turn an interview into a conversation – Bee Nov 1 '19 at 8:54

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