Suppose you have a few early rounds of successful interviews with a company: they seem to like you, you seem to like them, and the position seems mutually interesting to both parties.
While the interview process is on-going, you are still doing due-diligence research and you come across information which raises concerns. In my case, the issues are ethical in nature and involve legal issues with the company from a few years ago.
Questions in this situation:
How can I ask politely about the ethical concerns / legal issues, but also achieve two things at the same time: (a) not appearing confrontational or burning bridges, and (b) making it clear that I won't find HR-approved, watered-down, prepared statements to be convincing and need them to more candidly "level with me" about the realities of the issues.
Currently I am in the middle of a take-home skills assessment project. I have already spent a number of hours on it. If I submit the solution the company may waste time evaluating it when, pending the ethical issues, there might be no way they could convince me it is OK to take the job. Should I just tell them now that I am not interested? I'm happy to leave the ethical questions out of it entirely, but I worry that if I don't give a reason for dropping out of the interview process, it will reflect badly and burn bridges. At the same time, I do not want to make up a different "reason" for ending the interviewing process.