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Two weeks ago, I attended an interview for a software development position at a large multinational corporation. I did well in the tech test and Skype interview and the internal recruiter I've been dealing with had been very proactive, phoning me and answering my email queries within a couple of hours over a period of two to three weeks.

I drove 300 miles to attend the interview. The recruiter was aware of this and offered reimbursement for travel expenses and hotel fees.

After the interview (which went OK but not brilliantly) there was sudden and total radio silence. I assumed I had not got the job and moved on. Then I got an email from the recruiter:

The feedback from Tim and Rich was that you came across really well, great attitude and personality but felt that you would not get the challenges/technical challenge you want in [Department X], as its very legacy based Javascript and they said your Javascript is very good so wouldn’t want you to feel stifled.

So have recommended you are a great fit for [Company] and possibly some roles in Coventry, in the [Y or Z department]. So I have passed this on, as Tim was very keen to get you in the business but felt that [Department X] was too old tech for what you do.

Please let me know your thoughts.

I emailed back saying that despite the legacy code I was still very interested in the position because of certain factors. I got radio silence again for a few days, so I tried to phone her to discuss the matter. Got no response, so sent an email asking for a phone call. Got an autoresponder that she has gone on holiday as of today and won't be back for a week and to contact Bob while she was away. I sent Bob an email asking for a phone call and got a 'What can I help you with?' email within 5 minutes. I explained the situation and asked if I was outright rejected for the role or not? No reply for two days.

Despite the "your Javascript is very good and wouldn't want you to feel stifled" and the "great fit for [Company]" am I to conclude that they are not that in to me and are just fobbing me off with a lie to excuse themselves perhaps for asking me to make such a long trip to the interview?

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    1. Recruiters don't always tell the truth. 2. Interviewers don't always tell the truth. 3. Despite 1. and 2., a no is a no. – Peter Sep 29 '16 at 18:02
  • Hi @Peter, I agree with you. But I don't see an actual "no" anywhere in the feedback. That's the crux of my question. Where is the "no"? And if it is "no", what's the point of paragraphs 2 and 3 and of not replying to my thoughts after she asked for them? – AnotherSignIn Sep 29 '16 at 18:08
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    In summary you got a response to get you better job and you killed it. – paparazzo Sep 29 '16 at 18:12
  • The no is the "but" in the quoted text. The actual reasons could be many, for example they could have found a better candidate, they could have issues with their gender quota, they could have one person who liked you and another who vetoed you, etc. – Peter Sep 29 '16 at 18:12
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    Nobody wants to say, "No" these days for various reasons so they make up something to basically say "no" and hope you take the hint. That is precisely what is going on here. – Dan Sep 29 '16 at 19:34
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If you're still interested in pursuing the job then keep at it, especially if you're hard up for something, but at this point it sounds like you may just need to cut your losses and move on. Unfortunately this may also include travel expenses unless you got anything in writing saying they would pay you back, but even then it may not be a guarantee that you'll be reimbursed those costs.

There are good recruiters out there, but unfortunately plenty of them can be very lax or just uncaring in proper followup. Maybe they're just not on top of things the way they should be, maybe you're just not a big priority for them, who knows? Unfortunately there isn't much you can do about it other than to move on and not work with them going forward.

I went on an interview for one three years ago, and the recruiter who set everything up ended up landing a gig in another state and just dropped everything, so I literally never received feedback on that interview. The recruiter had even given me a contingent offer, and anyone from their office who called me weeks later made no mention of either this interview or the contingent offer, so I've since refused to entertain anyone from that recruiting firm.

  • I got the travel expenses back. – AnotherSignIn Sep 29 '16 at 18:18
  • It is not a recruitment firm, it's an internal recruiter who works for the company I interviewed with. – AnotherSignIn Sep 29 '16 at 18:19
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    @AnotherSignIn Gotcha. All the same, internal or external recruiter, it sounds like you simply need to move on. Either they're too disorganized or unconcerned to address you, or they've moved on and are already hoping you will do the same. – MattD Sep 29 '16 at 18:20
  • Yes @MattD I think you're right. It would be nice to just get a simple: "you are no longer being considered for this role or any other roles at our company". – AnotherSignIn Sep 29 '16 at 18:22
  • @AnotherSignIn I agree, it's never fun when a company seems to just ignore you and hopes you'll go away, but depending on where you live they may not be obligated to tell you that you're no longer being considered for a job or even why. All you can do is learn from it and move on. Sounds like your skill set is valuable and in-demand, so I'd just keep moving forward with other opportunities if you're still looking for a new gig. – MattD Sep 29 '16 at 18:27
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Consider that you're possibly being told the unvarnished truth. You're approaching it from "I want to work for this company" but they're approaching it from, "we want someone who won't leave when something better comes along." I know you've said that you're still interested and are basically disagreeing with their notion that you won't be happy but let's be fair. You honestly can't say that you'll find the job fulfilling. You honestly can't say that after 6 months of this you won't be thinking "wow, they weren't kidding".

For whatever reason, they see you as someone who needs to be challenged to be happy. Most of us do. It takes a certain kind of individual to maintain legacy code and be happy and content with not learning new skills all of the time. That's actually harder to find than a so-called "rockstar".

I don't agree with the comments that suggest they're trying to find another way to say no without saying no. When you're in HR, you say no all the time and there are a plethora of phrases to vaguely do so such as saying, "we don't think you would be a good cultural fit" which is completely unchallengeable. I believe you were being told the truth.

After a rejection like that, there's really nothing you should do except thank them and move on. You'll be hard pressed to ever find someone who says, "We rejected this one candidate but after he reassured us we were wrong, we decided to hire him." All you've done by pressing forward is risk burning a bridge should you ever come across the HR person again.

In other words, just let it go.

  • If what you say is true, would it be worth back-tracking and asking about the other roles? I'm open to them - it's just that I really wanted to work in that specific role because of certain technical reasons that aren't worth going into. – AnotherSignIn Sep 29 '16 at 20:19
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    It can't hurt. Perhaps send an email backtracking a bit and explaining why that specific role would have been ideal but then thank them for the opportunity and inquire about the other roles (assuming they haven't told you already). Unfortunately, by pestering you have have already soured them but at this stage it can't hurt. It's sometimes a delicate balance between interest and desperation. – Chris E Sep 29 '16 at 20:32
  • I really hope I haven't soured it if there's still a chance at the other roles. The ludicrousness of "he reassured us we were wrong, we decided to hire him" makes so much sense to me now. I was just very enthusiastic to reiterate my enthusiasm for the initial role. – AnotherSignIn Sep 29 '16 at 20:39
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    And enthusiasm is a great thing and THAT could cause a reconsideration at some point, or possibly consideration for another role (which gets back to bridge burning). I try to approach it with a combination of "I respectfully disagree because ___" followed by "But I respect your decision and I really appreciate the opportunity, hope you'll consider me for other roles in the future, etc." – Chris E Sep 29 '16 at 21:07

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