35

In this round, we discussed the technical solutions I provided. I am confident in my expertise in this area.

While the interviewer pointed out some minor errors, which I anticipated due to the time constraints, but completely agreed that it can be better, he continued only negatively speaking and he did not allow me to speak throughout the one-hour interview. He focused solely on the negative aspects of my code. It felt like a monologue where he only highlighted the flaws. He got so much into it and got excited how he found mistakes there. By the end, he stated that I wasn't a strong candidate and that their decision would be “very, very“ challenging. He mentioned that they'd let me know next week, but hinted that the outcome might be more negative than positive.

I was not given an opportunity to explain my code, discuss the rationale behind my decisions, or mention that I am in talks with other companies and cannot wait for a week for their response. He just didn’t want to hear, interrupting me on the first word.

His behaviour was like I was desperate and that they were my only option for employment. I suspect his attitude was probably a bit influenced by our previous interview, where he mentioned I was asking for too high of a salary. However, my salary expectations are in line with the current market rates and even on a lower range.

He was overly rude, overly excited in a bad way, looking down on me. I stayed polite and thanked him in the end for the feedback and we finished the meeting. I cried for two hours afterwards. I was mistreated few times as a woman and foreigner in this country and I cannot handle it anymore.

Even though I wanted to join this company earlier, I am thinking to send them a polite email about to thank them and decline the further application process.

What’s your suggestion on this and how can I stop the application process? Or should I wait a week for them which I wouldn’t like to do to be honest. I would honestly rather be without work than to work with this guy, if by a miracle he accepts my application.

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    Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on The Workplace Meta, or in The Workplace Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 7:41
  • 11
    "cannot wait for a week for their response" what makes you think you have to? Have you promised them to wait for their answer before proceeding with other options?
    – njzk2
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 17:13

9 Answers 9

104

Call up/email the Hiring Manager/HR rep/Agent:

"Hi, I want to let you know that I am no longer interested in pursuing this opportunity. I don't believe this company is the right fit for me and don't want to waste your time, so I am letting you know that I am withdrawing my application. I wish you all the best in finding the right candidate for you"

1
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    I'd do this too, but I'd wait for a response first, just to make the interviewer waste his time writing it, then I'd drag my heels a bit before writing back and asking for detailed feedback (then I might email every two days asking for an update on that feedback), and then finally I'd tell them that I've taken another job and am not interested. Oh and the last thing I'd do is go to glassdoor.com and give feedback on the awful interview. 'Hell hath no fury like a jobseeker scorned' ;-) (actually in reality I'd stop writing to them as soon as I got a new job)
    – Aaron F
    Commented Oct 28, 2023 at 20:58
82

That person behaved like a jerk. We cannot possibly tell if that is what they are, or just a role they played to gain a tactical advantage to destroy your self esteem and make you accept a very lowball offer. In other words, whether the company accidentially sent a jerk, or intentionally sent a jerk. Either way, that's not a good company.

Anyway, declining is the right choice. Being professional is something I would advise, but I would also suggest to commmunicate your decision and it's reasons clearly.

What’s you suggestion on this and how I can stop the application process?

Write them a clear and concise email:

Dear $HRPERSON,

Yesterday's interview with Mr. $INTERVIEWER has shown me that your company will likely not be able to provide the mutual respect and cooperation I am looking for. I withdraw my application for $JOB.

Best Regards,

$ME

Done. Professional behaviour does not mean you have to lie and sugarcoat everything to everyone. You can be direct and still professional. After all, there is nothing you want from them. They have been jerks. The most professional things to do is to say "ah, no thank you."

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    For completeness - this may be the right approach, but it comes with cost. It is unfair that the victims of such unfair treatment bear this cost, but don't blame me. You may come across this bully interviewer again, or they may somehow be opining on your CV - in which case, if your legitimate complaint gets them in trouble, they may hold a grudge. You need to weight this against the potential benefit of recovering your interview process and the (unlikely) justice against the bully.
    – Bennet
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 7:31
  • 56
    @Bennet: If this were my company, I'd be more than interested to hear that a interviewer of mine is leaving potential candidates with a bad impression of my company. So... it can go both ways.
    – Heinzi
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 8:04
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    That's just sounding like the typical "sour grapes" from a rejected candidate. They are not going to believe it.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 12:22
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    @Hilmar If one person responds that way, maybe – but if they followed up on the complaint, they could easily distinguish. If multiple people respond this way, or there are a suspicious number of rejections in addition to one complaint, that suggests something's up.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 13:04
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    Being a jerk for tactical reasons sounds like the behaviour of a jerk to me.
    – Wossname
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 20:32
43

Just walk away and forget about it

You met a bad interviewer, they flunked their side of the interview as a result, and you now know you want nothing to do with them. The interview served its purpose for you, although probably not for them. Why waste another moment or thought on it? You don't need to "withdraw your application" or anything, you just don't contact them again, and in the event they offer you the job you either decline or try your arm on asking for way more money (after all, do you care if you don't get the job?).

Next time just politely leave the interview

There's no point wasting either of your time once you've determined you don't want to work for the company, just stand up say "okay, I think we're done here", politely thank them for their time, shake their hand and walk out.

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    I once had this kind of interviewer too, I was interviewed by 2 person that day, the first lady was a delight to talk with, sounds reasonable and nice to talk to. the second one was the nightmare, since he's the technical person I figured I might work closer to him than the first lady, he berates my decision to job hop to no end, even after I explained the reasoning behind it and after 15+ min of him complaining he can't even do a competent job of informing me about what next. I rejected the next interview call. If only I didn't met the 2nd person, I might accept if I was offered a position. Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 10:32
  • 3
    This is the perfect answer. The only person you owe anything to is yourself.
    – Nick
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 22:31
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    OP: The interviewer inadvertently did you a favor by showing you their true colors. You lost the time spent in the interview, but gained some perspective. This company is an example of where you don't want to work. As for whether this "jerk" is an accurate representative of the company culture as a whole - you at least know that the company culture isn't positively oriented enough or influential enough to prevent this kind of employee from behaving with a bullying attitude. That's all you need to know. +1 for "Just walk away".
    – Mentalist
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 0:32
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    @Mentalist the OP's interview experience was indeed a red flag. However, there are still scenarios in which such an interview is just an unhappy accident, such as the original interviewer getting sick and the actual interviewer being unprepared or simply unsuitable. Chances of thinigs working out despite the bad interview are low but not zero, so it's more a question of where to invest one's time.
    – toolforger
    Commented Oct 28, 2023 at 8:11
  • Don’t walk out of interviews, (especially if it’s over video conferencing) unless you’re 100% certain you never ever want to work at that company because there’s a very good chance HR will put you on a “do not hire” list. Of course if your safety is in danger or they’re engaging in sexual harassment that’s different. But if they’re just being obnoxious, while it might feel good to walk out, it’s a really bad idea. Why burn that bridge?
    – bob
    Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 2:43
40

Some people are just jerks and bullies. If the person is just clueless or is acting like that because he only wants people who'll accept his verbal abuse doesn't matter. Interviews go both directions and - however attractive this company may have appeared before the call - this company has just flunked your interview of them. Walk away and continue looking elsewhere.

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    Most important is that an interview goes both ways. I cannot judge how good OP was technically, but the interviewer’s behaviour was unacceptable. The company failed their interview.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 21:34
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    @Noblynoob you don't have to send an email. They said they would contact you within a week. Just let them do that. Pursue other options in the meantime. If they send you their decision: if it's a rejection, simply move on with your life, no further contact needed. If it's indeed an offer, simply write them a mail in the style of DemonLords answer. Don't overthink this ;) there a lots of interviews taking place all the time, you really don't owe this company that much time / bearing.
    – user112367
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 6:22
  • 2
    I have other options but even if I don’t, I’d never work there
    – Nobly noob
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 15:03
  • 5
    @Noblynoob Then just look for other positions and decline their offer if they make one - no need to waste your life on writing back to them. You're making this into a bigger deal than it needs to be.
    – xxbbcc
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 15:07
  • 2
    @Noblynoob, statistically, most recruiters who say they will call back do not call you back. If they call or email you, then you can simply say "I am no longer interested in this role, maybe another role at another time. Have a great day!" If you get buddy-buddy with the recruiter (if there is a separate recruiter), or they want honest feedback, then offer a phone call - but prepare what you want to say in advance, and stick to that. Do not offer any further comment about the interview. Look at Fortune 500 companies, governments, and Universities. Large organizations will treat you properly.
    – MikeP
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 19:30
26

In short, keep up the job search and when they eventually write back to you, you can do the polite thing and respond that you're thankful for their time but you're currently pursuing other offers.

As a woman dev, I don't know if this is because we're women, but I've definitely experienced this too. And I've spoken to male devs and I feel like they tend to not take similar situations personally (some don't take personally even things they should at least consider...). Personally, I don't think one or the other is "the correct way" to be, we just need to know where we're at and it's our job to align accordingly - try to be more receptive or more ignorant of other's opinions, whichever's the case.

What helps me in times like these is focusing on facts - what I've already accomplished. If you can afford money-wise to stick it out, just look for more opportunities. I promise you that kind of treatment is not normal. They're just fishing for people who don't have the boundaries to understand this is not OK treatment so they can abuse them for years - in lowball salaries, neverending overtimes etc. Your reaction and repulsion is a good thing - it's telling you to stay away if possible. Not all people have developed that ability.

If you want to put this frustration you're feeling somewhere - take some courses to improve your skill. Not because some weirdo said weird stuff but because you want to be the best you can be and programming is a pretty awesome skill where no one person will ever know everything.

Also, don't wait for companies to respond before starting to reach out to others, even if the process is going well. I know it's hard to when they assign homework but you don't have to accept their deadlines and set a different weekend for doing the work than offered. You lose out more by not applying to multiples than by stating you have other options. Plus it's easier to walk out mid bs like that interview you described when you have other things to do.

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    Thank you @vspmis, this meant a lot, and I am truly grateful for this advice.
    – pandabear
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 9:39
  • 1
    What do you mean by "walk out mid bs"? Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 18:44
  • 4
    I think it's more to do with my neurodiversity than masculinity but I just don't take things personally. For what it's worth, though, this interviewer as described does present multiple red flags and I wouldn't want to work for them on that basis alone. An interview is an opportunity for the candidate to show their skill, not for the interviewer to enjoy a power trip.
    – Tim B
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 10:49
  • 2
    @TimB Yeah, either direction can be a blessing in one case and a curse in another. I bet OPs very perceptive of others opinions and takes them into account, making it a breeze to work with them, but right now that openness is letting the bs get to them. I hope now that they see everyone agreeing it was not ok they get to breathe in and focus on their future job prospects without a worry about the mess of a dev they had the displeasure to encounter. Guys like that give the rest of us a bad name, he's like the arrogant loser cliché that plagues programming.
    – vspmis
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 11:34
  • 2
    @SimonCrase, as I wrote, I don't know if they were rude about it. And unless you were interviewed by an underage child, you were interviewed by a woman, not a girl.
    – vspmis
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 9:48
4

IMHO, concentrate on your other opportunities and leave this prospect in a rear view mirror.

Why would you want to proactively contact a company to withdraw your candidacy?

From your post it is still debatable if you will be chosen for next step.

Unless it is negative aftertaste from the meeting you want to mend, by actively stating that you will no longer be their candidate

1

My advice is approximately the opposite of most of the other answers.
This is crucial.
A correct decision may improve your life.
A less good one may make litte difference but lead to a missed opportunity.

Have confidence in yourself and your abilities.

Do not let a moron interviewer get you down or weaken your defences.

Instead - to quote several time honoured axioms that are based on long experience:

  • Do not "burn your boats".
  • Do not cross your bridges before you come to them.
  • Do not cut off your nose to spite your face.

You have nothing to lose by waiting to see what happemns.
By walking away before you see what happens you may feel that you have "saved face" BUT this is letting your pride take precedence over your best interests.

I'm "oldish".
I have been in situations where I 'walked away' to save face, and regretted it greatly afterwards.
I have also been in many situations where "I just got on with it", and in many cases things worked out better than I could reasonably have hoped, and in cases where this didn't happen it cost me nothing except maybe hurt pride to have waited to see what happens.

Over 20 years ago I was in a situation where essentially everyone in two groups thought badly of me. (I had acted to postpone the merging of two groups because I considered that the interests and rights of those with little authority or stature had not been properly addressed.)
And everyone in one of the groups essentially hated me - due to having been told lies about me by someone in a leadership position who I subsequently found out had mental health issues. (one group was almost solely Polynesian - they were told that I was racist and a troublemaker).

It was openly suggested that I did not belong and that I should leave.

I received valued advice to the effect that I should not abandon my position, but should continue to fill the role that was expected of me, and that doing so in a polite and non-confrontational manner could lead to superb outcomes. To my utter amazement (and that of many looking on to see what would happen), after an extrmely uncomfortable period it worked out beyond brilliantly for me. Utterly unbelievably well.

I suggest that it may for you also, and can do no obvious harm.

  • It MAY be that the company offers you a position.
  • It may be that the interviewer and interview were not a good indication of what the company is like.
  • If they do make an offer, and the remuneration offered is anything other than brilliant, you can turn them down.
    Or counteroffer at what you consider to be a superb rate.
    They may accept!
  • And if you decide that you may accept, THEN you can ask about the interview and ask why it was as it was.
  • In all cases you can be in control.
  • The only thing that may be hurt is your pride, and that only if you allow it to be.

And, if they do not make an offer you have still lost nothing.

So - "chin up", go for it! and God bless.


Note: While this answer is derived from my prior answer it is NOT a duplicate and I wish to offer both answers. It does not seem to be against site rules to do this.

0

Something I've done before (and with some fairly major companies) is email the CEO and HR team explaining my experience - informing them of who interviewed me and why I believed their behaviour was not appropriate.

The moment I sent said email, I accepted that the company almost certainly wasn't for me, but by giving the CEO all the information about how their company is run, it gives them a chance to improve it.

In my particular case, I was asked to re-interview with another person, with my expenses paid for. While I declined, it did result in what some would consider a positive outcome.

-2

My advice is approximately the opposite of most of the other answers.

Have confidence in yourself and your abilities.

Do not let a moron interviewer get you down or weaken your defences.

BUT - to quote several time honoured axioms that are based on long experience:

  • Do not "burn your boats".
  • Do not cross your bridges before you come to them.
  • Do not cut off your nose to spite your face.

You have nothing to lose by waiting to see what happemns.
By walking away before you see what happens you may feel that you have "saved face" BUT this is letting your pride take precedence over your best interests.

I'm "oldish".
I have been in situations where I 'walked away' to save face, and regretted it greatly afterwards.
I have also been in many situations where "I just got on with it", and in many cases things worked out better than I could reasonably have hoped, and in cases where this didn't happen it cost me nothing except maybe hurt pride to have waited to see what happens.

Over 20 years ago I was in a situation where essentially everyone in two groups thought badly of me. (I had acted to postpone the merging of two groups because I considered that the interests and rights of those with little authority or stature had not been properly addressed.)
And everyone in one of the groups essentially hated me - due to having been told lies about me by someone in a leadership position who I subsequently found out had mental health issues. (one group was almost solely Polynesian - they were told that I was racist and a troublemaker). It was openly suggested that I did not belong and that I should leave. In that case I turned to God for guidance. It's up to you whether you do the same, but in my case the result was stunning. I received advice in the form of a single bible verse. I'm not going to go into any detail how this happened - but it was essentially a random process from a human involvement point of view. I had never seen the verse before and could have searched for it for days without finding it.
It is Ecclesiastes 10:4 .
Here is one version - many variants at the above link

  • If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.

It worked out beyond brillianlty for me. Utterly unbelievably well. I suggest that it may for you also, and can do no obvious harm.


It MAY be that the company offers you a position.
It may be that the interviewer and interview were not a good indication of what the company is like.
If they do make an offer, and the remuneration offered is anything other than brilliant, you can turn them down. Or counteroffer at what you consider to be a superb rate. They may accept!
And if you decide that you may accept, THEN you can ask about the interview and ask why it was as it was.
In all cases you can be in control.
If they do not make an offer you have still lost nothing.

So - "chin up", go for it! and God bless.

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    I don't think mentioning God or the bible is nessesary here.
    – guest
    Commented Oct 28, 2023 at 15:12
  • @guest Necessary is such a strong word :-). I have a nmber of up votes (according to notifications) but -2 overall. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that's more to do with people's religious predilections than the quality of my advice overall. FWIW, I'm reasonablty confident after a long (73 years) & eventful lifetime (so far :-) ) that my advice is better than the "walk away" ones. ie apart from hurt pride she has nothing to lose by waiting to see. Menitoning God is fundamental to my experience - should that be missed out because it's not so for others? (Apparentl;y "yes" in your opinion) Commented Oct 28, 2023 at 23:58

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