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I interviewed with a leading Swiss bank for a middle office role. I indicated both early on to the line manager and to a member of the HR (in an unscheduled call) that I wanted to be hired at the level of VP. The HR person asked me for a quote of salary, and I said 15% over what I earn currently. The HR said she will see what she could do and went ahead to schedule four more interviews two weeks later.

I was successful in all the technical interviews and another HR mailed me saying she had "good news" and asked me to fill a compensation history form (asking for 4 years of compensation history). As this was asking for unnecessary information, I filled in only my current salary and bonus (which I had told them before). I was scheduled for a video interview with this HR, and in this interview, I reiterated I was looking for a VP with 15-20% above my current salary.

The HR took this onboard, but called me the next day and said they were unable to offer me the role as the salary expectations were too high. Essentially the interview process dragged on for multiple rounds over a month, and despite being successful, I was rejected by the HR person.

I know companies and HR have their own way of doing things, but I would like to make my displeasure known and let people know of such bad experiences of interviewing with this company. What is my best recourse in this situation?

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  • You can post your experience on GlassDoor. With that said, this bank did nothing wrong. Nor did you do anything wrong either. Sometimes, these things just happen. There is no one to blame. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 16 at 3:10
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    Assume they had offered you (current salary + 5%) and you had walked away - should they make their displeasure known and let other employers know of such bad experience of interviewing you? – piet.t Apr 16 at 5:37
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As I see it, there are two possibilities, here:

  1. There was another candidate with the necessary skills and desired experience that had a lower salary requirement, and they went with that candidate. If that's the case, I would contact those you interviewed with, thank them for considering you, and wish them well.
  2. The HR staff/director was intending to use your application for salary market research, and took offense to you not handing over irrelevant information, and squashed your application. (Yes, some in HR are EXACTLY this petty.) If that's the case, I would contact those you interviewed with, thank them for considering you, and wish them well.

If it's #1, then the candidate may not be as good as they believed, and they may come back to you later on. If it's #2, then you either were spared a miserable stint at a company that tolerates that kind of behavior, or those that interviewed you will push to know why you were removed from consideration, and their behavior will be exposed and addressed.

Either way, the "High Road" is the only road, here.

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What is my best recourse in this situation?

Move on - it's frustrating to get so "close" and then not get there but that's the way the cookie crumbles. You aren't the first person this has happened to and you won't be the last.

Unless you want to attempt to negotiate a lower salary then at this point spending any more energy on this particular application is a waste.

Essentially the interview process dragged on for multiple rounds over a month

For a relatively senior role this really isn't that long a process.

I was rejected by the HR person

I think there's a good chance you're jumping to conclusions a bit there - you were rejected after talking to the HR person, but you were rejected by the company.

I would like to make my displeasure known and let people know of such bad experiences of interviewing with this company.

Unless I'm missing something here the only really "bad" experience is that you didn't get the job. Which, again, is not unusual. I completely get feeling a bit annoyed about it, after all if you didn't want the job you wouldn't have gone through the process in the first place, and it sucks to miss out on something you want

It's not something to make a stink about though, and any attempt to do so is only going to reflect badly on one party (you). There's nothing to be gained here.

So, have a beer/coffee/chocolate bar, have a bit of a grumble about your frustration to your spouse/partner/friend/pet and then put it out of your mind and move on to the next opportunity.

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  • I'll note that the rejection was actually one of the more inoffensive ones. It's uncommon for companies to give a real explanation of why you were rejected. Some companies don't even bother notifying candidates when they've been rejected. – Brian Apr 20 at 13:35
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Despite your thoughts, you were not successful in your job hunt - you didn't manage to persuade the whole business you were worth the salary you wanted. "Making your displeasure known" is only going to make you look bitter and burn bridges. Just move on.

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In my opinion, you should not do anything.

Hiring process went its course, technically you are a fit, but financially not. What do you need to be bitter about?

Negotiations are what they are, negotiations.

Each side weighs pros and cons of the offer and makes a decision if it's a good deal in their perspective.

For them, you at that position for that salary weren`t. You even got a reason, most of us don't and keep wondering.

You said your goal was to get hired to specific position at specific salary, it didn`t fit. Move on.

Edit:

Unless your goal was the position and salary was not a main motivator. In that case, you should have inquired about the salary budget and not stating your required one upfront

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  • I think it is not so simple and not even rational. The rational behavior (from the side of the HR would be) saying this: "I think you fit, but we can pay only ... for your work. Ok or not?" That would be negotiation. The thing that you need to divine, what they think you worth, is imho hilarious (but this is the practice). Yes, they have the reason to think that maybe you won't work very well with a lower wage, that is right, but imho it is not enough strong argument to automatically reject an otherways good applicant. – Gray Sheep Apr 15 at 18:39
  • @GraySheep HR may not be the one that rejected, – Strader Apr 16 at 12:33
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    @GraySheep: Many companies are hesitant to negotiate salary downwards when working with new hires. The concern is that a hire who makes a good-faith salary request will potentially be very unsatisfied at a lower salary and thus is at higher risk of being hired away. New hires are assumed to have low loyalty; this builds over time. – Brian Apr 20 at 13:41
  • @Brian That is right. Thus, for example, if the applicant says he wants X, but the company wants to offer only 0.8X, then the company might think that the additional risk of employing him for 0.8X makes his worth yet lesser. I agree that the Nash equilibrium of the case is to reject the applicant. But real life is not so easy than the finite state game theory. There are always various additional options (like offering 0.8X to the applicant and saying, what should he do to get X), these are not mostly not used. – Gray Sheep Apr 27 at 19:22
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TLDR: You priced yourself out of the market, let it go and move on

Interviewing is a complex series of events, and compensation discussions are one step. The interviews didn't drag out, they were ongoing through the salary negotiations, and to be blunt, you failed. Here's what you did wrong.

As this was asking for unnecessary information, I filled in only my current salary and bonus (which I had told them before).

You didn't follow simple instructions. Provided the information is legal to solicit, an employer can determine what information they think is necessary. An interviewee does not have to provide it, but this could result in the employer looking elsewhere. Many companies use salary histories to look for signs that you are worth the price you are asking. By refusing to provide this, you essentially told them you weren't worth the price.

If you want someone to blame for a month of wasted interviews, check the nearest mirror. You blew it, and you blew it badly by coming across as arrogant and entitled. If you pursue this with the company, all you will do is convince them that they've dodged a bullet, and give them a story to laugh about around the water cooler.

I know if someone complained about "bad experiences interviewing with the company" after the process you described, then years later we'd still be saying "Hey, remember that a-hole that whined about not getting hired".

Proceed, and you will burn bridges in a way where people will not forget, and may take it to future employers. The financial industry is known for it's whisper network. You'll get a reputation for being difficult that will spread. Let it go.

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  • +1. Company did nothing wrong. The only possible exception is if he was extremely clear that there was no way he'd take less than his requested amount AND they knew from the start that there was no way they'd be able to offer that. And even then, they'd only be minorly at fault as you never know when someone will change their mind – Kevin Apr 15 at 14:42
  • It's a +1, but the employee always gets to decide what information they think is necessary - on the understanding that if the employer has a different view, they are likely to look elsewhere (so I think we agree on principle, if not on terminology). – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Apr 15 at 15:17
  • @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Yeah, if I can think of a more elegant way to phrase that, I'll change it. If you can think of one, go ahead and edit it, I won't mind. – Old_Lamplighter Apr 15 at 15:20
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    @Old_Lamplighter - Edited. Does that work for you? – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Apr 15 at 15:29
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    "Provided the information is legal to solicit" - depending on location/culture, this may be risky advice. E.g. in Germany, I believe it's legal to ask, but answering might be a breach of confidentiality, depending on the specific workplace and contract. Traditionally, it is also considered unprofessional. – Ruther Rendommeleigh Apr 15 at 16:06

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