I work for a company where it is the general practice when an requisition opens for a position, you contact the hiring manager for details about the jobs, especially if you aren't familiar with the area.

I recently did this for several positions but the last one threw me for a loop. I met with the hiring manager and in my request to meet I specifically requested to get additional details about the job. During our meeting, though, it slowly turned into an interview. I was asked questions like

  • Where you you see yourself in 5 years?
  • How do you engage?
  • When do you feel de-motivated?
  • Tell me about a time that you had issues in a project and how you dealt with them.

Let me say that I was totally thrown off guard because I was expecting a casual conversation about the job and what it entailed. I was not at all prepared for this interview and I feel as if my shot at the job has been greatly diminished.

So I am trying to figure out how best to approach this with the hiring manager. I would like to pursue this position but I think my poor performance may prevent that.

Of course, I will send them a 'Hey thanks for meeting with me to discuss the opening' message, but should I include something that says 'I look forward to the next steps', or 'sorry I was unprepared for the meeting'? How should I proceed with this? Or should I just accept the fact that I screwed up?

  • 2
    Really nice question I wish to know answer too. One thing I can say is that I don't think it's a good idea to say "sorry I was unprepared for the meeting" because they might think that you are not able to make decisions in extreme situations.
    – Leri
    Jun 5, 2012 at 12:30
  • Is the "general practice" documented somewhere in the job application process? If so, what does it say? Did it say the employee would provide the hiring manager with details? If not, you could duck those questions. The best you can do right now is to send a short thanks note without saying too much. If he is interested in you, he will contact you - he knows how to find you.
    – Nobody
    Jun 5, 2012 at 12:34
  • Was that part of the job spec for being able to think and execute on the fly, especially on un-suspecting issues?
    – tehnyit
    Jun 5, 2012 at 12:35
  • @PLB I wouldn't say that, even though I might like too. :)
    – Taryn
    Jun 5, 2012 at 13:07
  • @scaaahu the job description is the basic 'this is the role and here are the qualifications.' I am definitely sending a note, I was just thrown off by the interview questions in a non-interview.
    – Taryn
    Jun 5, 2012 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


Based on the comment OP wrote, the company he works for lacks detailed standard HR procedures/process for internal job transfer.

The "general practice" allows an informal meeting between the hiring manager and the job applicant. That's how the trouble began. To be fair, if the hiring manager is supposed to tell the applicant the details of the job, he can of course ask the applicant those questions. Thus, an infomal meeting became an interview. It's not your fault for this unprepared "interview". There is something wrong with HR of your company. They should have prepared for standard procedure/process for the employees/hiring managers to follow.

There is not much you can do. You do want to send a short thanks note to that manager without saying much (you already said too much). You want to make an inquiry to HR for internal transfer procedures. You get prepared before next "non-interview" interview, i.e. learn a lesson.

  • 9
    Truth is anytime you take any steps to do with being hired, you are in an interview situation. Always be prepared to answer interview questions or know that how you approach someone (even informally) will make an impression on them favorable or unfavorable.
    – HLGEM
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:25
  • @HLGEM I totally agree with that statement. Since I had previously done this same thing with other hiring managers, I was caught off-guard by the difference.
    – Taryn
    Jun 6, 2012 at 11:43
  • I agree with you that it shouldn't be general practice via HR and they probably have zero idea that this is what internal candidates are advised to do. Basically the standard is to reach out to the hiring manager so they know who you are before you apply. It gets you in front of them so they know about you before applying.
    – Taryn
    Jun 6, 2012 at 11:45

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