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I had interviews for 3 months with a big company similar to Google/Apple/.... In total I had 1 technical challenge (that took me about 50 hours to do) followed by 8 interviews. The last one with the VP of the department I was applying for. We had a good discussion (I feel) and I received, in general, positive feedbacks.

Then 2 weeks later, I receive a generic rejection email by HR without any feedbacks whatsoever on why I got rejected. When I asked HR for details, they of course did not answer.

I'm a little bit frustrated to not know why I was rejected (and therefore what I can do better next time) and was wondering: is it a common way of doing for big "silicon valley type" companies? If not, what would you do in my situation? As I'm not from there, I would be interested to know if it is the norm or if I had an unfortunate experience.

The company is from US but the department / job position I applied for is in Japan. I'm neither American or Japanese hence this question. Relocation would be involved.


Mostly this question came in as I feel a lot of these "silicon valley type" of companies have this overly positive attitude about everything (in their branding, communication, etc.). Therefore I was wondering if they act as well this way during the interview process by giving constantly good feedbacks (even mentioning what you could work on when you join)? Being from Europe, my experience here is that usually people will tell you during the interview if something does not work out or if they got any concerns. Then you can somehow manage your expectation regarding the answer you will get.

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  • 37
    Wow. 8 rounds, 50 hour long technical challenge? I hope this position is for a highly esoteric knowledge space. Both of those would be absolute "nopes" for me. Apr 30 at 14:08
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    I would mention it on Glassdoor review.
    – CodePanda
    Apr 30 at 15:33
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    It's possible they rejected you because they discovered it took you 50 hours to do a task that should have taken 15 minutes, of course. But more positively, if they have 1000 applications for one job, that doesn't mean that every one of the 999 rejected candidates couldn't do the job.
    – alephzero
    May 1 at 0:15
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    @Mari-Lou, all the more reason to offer some personalised feedback if it was just down to OP and maybe one or two others. “You were great but another candidate just had a bit more experience” or something.
    – Darren
    May 1 at 7:45
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    I posted an answer to a related question some time ago that may be somewhat helpful: Confused about interview outcome; how can I gauge my performance? May 1 at 14:43
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Due to liability (more in some locales than others) you will almost never get a good reason why you are rejected. I joke that I once got rejected because my socks were untied.

The reasons why you are rejected can vary from them finding someone who is just a better candidate to the interviewer just not liking you.

Don't focus so much on trying to learn something for the next time because the feedback could come down to taste. What might bother one interviewer might not bother another. The important thing is that you end up in a company that is right for YOU.

Here are some real reasons why I have seen candidates fail:

  • Too talented and high-energy for our group.
  • Too old
  • Too young
  • She wore a perfume that the interviewer was allergic to.
  • Hair too long
  • Hair too short
  • He lived in another state and interviewer was afraid he'd be using us to leapfrog to another job once he moved back.
  • Interviewer thought he was too much like me. (yes, that happened)
  • Not energetic enough.

As you can see, some of those reasons were contradictory, some were based on immutable characteristics, and while illegal to screen someone out for that reason, it happens.

But, even if they have a good reason, they are loath to give feedback because labor laws make it fairly easy to sue. Rather than risk giving meaningful feedback, they just say nothing.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – motosubatsu
    May 1 at 17:07
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is it a common way of doing for big "silicon valley type" companies?

This is better than than usual. The most common behavior is to "ghost" you, i.e. they never even get back to you with a rejection. It's a very bad habit and quite disrespectful, but unfortunately it's the norm.

If not, what would you do in my situation?

Move on. The rejection is NOT a judgement of your skills or personality. There are 100 other possible reasons that have nothing to do with you.

When I asked HR for details, they of course did not answer.

And they never will. It's a legal exposure risk and very few companies allow this to happen.

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    IDK where you interview but that is not usual. May 1 at 6:49
  • "It's a legal exposure risk and very few companies allow this to happen." citation needed. May 1 at 6:52
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    I would think that if you've actually been invited to an interview, ghosting is not really the norm afterwards. And asking for feedback can sometimes be worth a try.
    – Peter
    May 1 at 10:38
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The best you can do is ask any of the human beings you interviewed with what their thoughts are. You might get lucky and someone will tell you something, but the odds are still slim. Don't persist. The company has nothing to gain and something to lose by providing you with feedback. Sounds like a tough interview, so be proud you made it that far.

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    If people get rejected at the company I work for, they do get a reason. However, it would be absolutely unthinkable for an individual interviewer to voice his/her opinion directly to a candidate. Positive and negative points are collected by the recruiter handling the candidate, phrased in a positive way and send to the candidate, typically with the message that if they improve, they're welcome to apply again after 12 months.
    – Abigail
    Apr 30 at 20:04
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To be more specific, the company is from US but the department / job position I applied for is in Japan. I'm neither American or Japanese hence this question.

I think this question is pretty easy to answer based on this statement. Since you're in the US and have to relocate or work remotely, perhaps they are looking to see if you're a good fit for them.

I think 8 rounds of interview is rather harsh but maybe they weren't sure if they wanted to hire you so they wanted to give you the best shot as they could. Perhaps after 8 rounds of interview, for whatever reason, they felt it wasn't best for them (and to a lesser extent you) for them to work with you. Relocation requires a lot of resources and maybe they got the vibe you weren't committed in a reasonable time, or perhaps they felt you wanted help from them and maybe they figure they could hire locally better. Even for remote position, perhaps timezone difference, or anything really. Also maybe a language barrier if you don't speak Japanese fluently.

Best to move on in my opinion. My advice is that unless you're going for a big tech company interview, don't invest too much time into the hiring process. If they ask you to come for 8 rounds of interviews and tech issues and it isn't a huge company, my sincere advice is to move on.

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  • I don't see OP mentioning anywhere that he is in the US, was there a comment that's now been deleted? That would just be weird he he is applying for a Japanese position.
    – pipe
    Apr 30 at 23:10

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