TLDR: Spent several hours applying to niche job I was excited about, got rejected with 0 details about why - is it bad form to ask for details?
We all face job application rejections all the time, and usually I don't think twice. But this recent one bothered me.
I applied to a software development position in a semi-niche field for one of the companies I've been tracking for awhile. They contacted me for a phone interview with the engineering manager, and we had a very nice 45ish minute conversation. At the end of the conversation, the interviewer said he'd like me to move on to the next stage, which is a coding challenge. He said he expected it to take 1-3 hours, based on previous experience with the libraries being used. He sent me the prompt and asked me to try to get it back to him within a week.
Despite having experience with the libraries involved, it took me about 5 hours. Maybe I put some extra time in because the subject matter is something I'm passionate about. I sent it back to him 5 days after recieving the prompt. After a week, I still had not heard back (not even a confirmation that they recieved my submission), so I emailed the interviewer just to make sure they at least received it. Still no response.
Another week later I received the general "Thanks but we have moved on in the process" noreply email, encouraging me to apply to other positions in the future.
Considering the amount of time I had comitted to the application, I felt this was rude. I feel that if you ask a prospective hire to sink several hours into the application process, you should at least have the courtesy to tell them personally that they're not being hired, and perhaps even give some detail, whether its "we're moving on with someone who was more qualified / further along in the process / taller than you", or "your code sample smelled like bad mozzarella".
I know as a prospective employer doesn't owe it to me at all to give any explanation. But I still believe in common courtesy. I feel a bit more detail is warranted given the amount of time the company asked me to put in to the application process. This experience made me question whether or not this is indeed a company I want to work for.
Would it be bad form to send a quick email to the interviewer asking why I was not selected? After all, I potentially want to apply again in the future, and it would be great to know what to improve on for next time. (The focus of the email would of course be thanking them for the opportunity and asking what I can improve on for next time.)