So without going into great detail, I've spent approximately 8 hrs of my time meeting about a potential "jump up" (as stated by the hiring manager) in my career, simple department change in the tech field. This began in late March/early April. I feel as though I was being groomed for a position yet to be posted, and I was correct.

To date I have spent at least one hour of nine individuals workdays in the pseudo-interview and formal interview process. The hiring manager was absent for the formal interview for medical reasons but encouraged me to attend regardless.

The interview had only a few red flags but I feel they were big ones: near total lack of concern for tech related questions, asked if I was on drugs (seriously, this wasnt provoked), asked my age to which I had no problem answering confidently though I am young.

All that said, after all these hours spent I haven't heard yes/no/we'll follow up/you did good/you did poorly... nothing whatsoever. The formal interview was just over one week ago.

I'd like to know, from an HR perspective, is this acceptable? i.e. questions you technically aren't allowed to ask, hiring manager being absent for interview, lengthy drawn-out process with no communication channels.

  • I recommend rephrasing your post. Questions like "Is this a typical experience? strange? Am I in the wrong for continuing along this path?" are very subjective and would not provide other users with relevant useful information. We can't answer whether you are right or wrong, or give career advice. – Alex Jul 7 '15 at 14:16
  • "hiring manager was absent" so who was present? Maybe they don't normally do interviews? – nvoigt Jul 7 '15 at 15:08
  • For what it is worth, in some places, there are laws against discrimination by age. Employers normally don't ask questions where they would learn information that is related to a protected class such as age, in order to make extra sure they cannot be accused of discrimination. If you are in one of those areas where age is protected, then definitely I'd see it as a red flag that they don't know what they're doing. – Kai Jul 7 '15 at 15:39
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    a week is nothing. More importantly, what will you do with an answer? Say we all say it's perfectly normal, will you calm down and wait? Or we all say it's outrageous, will you quit on the spot? A better question is answerable in some action way. It's perfectly normal for the interview process to suck at many companies, but that doesn't mean you can't take some action in response to that suckage. – Kate Gregory Jul 7 '15 at 15:41
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    @KateGregory I'm simply polling this community to plot this scenario on some sort of risk/benefit scale that I have roughly set for myself. I'm not holding your answer or any other "answer" to be a catalyst in my decision-making. Your response was not helpful and probably took more effort than sharing something of value but thanks all the same – V1GG3N Jul 7 '15 at 17:42

If I were you I'd touch base with the hiring manager and ask if things are still progressing. Of course, if the hiring manager is still preoccupied with medical issues your polite inquiry might start the ball rolling again.

However, first determine if the oddball questions that seemed to come from nowhere were appropriate. If you find that the process is not moving forward then provide some "positive minded feedback" concerning how the interview process could be handled in a more professional manner to ensure things go smoothly for the company. Take some time to find an appropriate way to discuss such things or you risk closing the door.

This should elicit a question to which you can carefully respond in a way that doesn't implicate anyone in particular but will allow you to indicate that this and that threw you off and may have negatively impacted the process. Of course, if the questions were not inappropriate for your jurisdiction things are less clear. You'd also want to consider if the dev group spent time digging into what you may consider more relevant and appropriate areas. If they did not then they may not have given you a chance to receive an honest review (even if by mistake due to being overly familiar during the interview process).

When it comes to technical capabilities it will be the devs that are going to provide input into related skills. If you are comfortable with their view of your abilities, and their view of your readiness to move up, then it's possible that another group has some questions. Perhaps the "red flags" are a red herring and your responses in another area could be at issue.

As a general note, if the process does start moving forward keep in mind that you can't let yourself shorten your answers by relying on previous interviews to fill in the blanks. This might happen at times when many folks in the interview process share an interview history or common background while a few others do not.

Good luck!


While some of the questions are indeed odd, I don't believe any are illegal.

  • Certainly lack of concern for tech related questions is not illegal, but rather odd, assuming the "tech" in question is the same "tech" in which this new position exists. I assuming your new role isn't solely management, and would require such tech knowledge
  • Asking if you are on drugs isn't illegal in my part of the world, although it certainly comes across as blunt
  • Asking how old you are isn't illegal in my part of the world. If you were over 40 years old, you are in a class that is protected against age discrimination, so it would be an unusual question for older folks, but you indicate that you are "young" so that wouldn't apply in your case anyway.

So overall, not illegal, but rather odd, in my opinion. It's possible this is a sign of an odd culture at the company. Or (perhaps more likely) the interviewers are poorly trained in good interview practices.

Still only you can decide what "acceptable" means to you here - you can decide that it isn't acceptable and bow out of consideration for this position. You can decide that it is acceptable and continue.

The formal interview was just over one week ago.

While it would be nice if interviewing companies provided timely feedback, many do not. And one week is certainly not unusual.

It would make sense to get in touch with the hiring manager and reaffirm your interest in the position (if you are indeed still interested). And it's also reasonable to ask what is the next step, and when you might expect to hear back from them - those are two things I always ask at the end of an interview.

  • Out of curiosity, do you know if laws regarding age discrimination would apply to an internal interview for a position in another department, as described here? Or would they only apply to hiring decisions? Either way seems a bit odd that his employer wouldn't know his date of birth. – Carson63000 Jul 8 '15 at 1:16

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