After three rounds of interviews with a company, I heard back from the hiring manager that the position had been put on hold, but if I have a plan to travel in Asia any time, they'd love to meet me in person. I am currently living in the US, and the company is in Hong Kong.

Since I do have plans to go to HK soon, I asked them if they are available to meet me in person, and they said "yes", so we set the meeting schedule.

Today I received this email from the hiring manager (I've been communicating with her assistant):

Hope you are well. In the meantime we do not have any position available in the design team. If you will be in HK, will be a pleasure to know each other.

Since she reiterated that there are no positions available, I feel that she was annoyed at meeting me. I feel awkward meeting her. How can I handle this situation? Here is what I am thinking of replying:

Thank you for the email. Yes - I was told that there is no available position at this point as your previous email. I was planing to visit you since I will be in HK for my friends' wedding, it'd be a good opportunity to meet in person and know each other for future possible opportunities. If you feel uncomfortable having the meeting for the uncertain position, I totally understand if you want to cancel our meeting. Please let me know.

What do you think? Should I say this like that?

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    If you could add what part of Asia, if not country, it could help people with experience from these cultures to assist you – cbll Oct 18 '16 at 10:51
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    The phrasing of this part sounds a little awkward: "if you feel uncomfortable to have meeting for the uncertain position". You might try a phrasing like: "If it is not convenient to arrange a meeting on such terms, I will understand." – Brandin Oct 18 '16 at 12:53
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    Honestly I'd just avoid meeting them. I think the interviewer slipped up inviting you and now they have to follow through. It makes no sense to visit a workplace you'll never work at unless it is a very desired position. – Dan Oct 18 '16 at 13:16
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    I take the opposite view from @Dan. It costs the OP nothing to do some networking except a few hours of their time. The hiring manager is just making it 100% clear that there are no job vacancies right now, and the OP knew that already. What the payoff might be at some time in the future, nobody can predict. – alephzero Oct 18 '16 at 14:37
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    @Dan I have to respectfully disagree. They wouldn't want to meet for the sake of meeting. They meet because they have some sort of plan for you and want to make sure you fit that plan. – corsiKa Oct 18 '16 at 15:49

I'm not so sure you should read too much into the email you received other than it telling you that there aren't any positions open. It's basically a courtesy in case you treat this as an interview.

Since there's the opportunity to meet up, I'd treat this as a networking meeting if you still want to go ahead with it. From the email, it's implied that the hiring manager still wants to have the meeting with you, so I don't think there's a need to offer a cancellation (but if you want to cancel, you can do). If you offer a cancellation, it might be taken.

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    I think they'd find it annoying if after knowing all these facts you went there asking for a job anyway. – Dan Oct 18 '16 at 13:14
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    Honestly, I would not send that e-mail either. You have nothing to loose having this meeting, it just shows your interest for the company. – MopMop Oct 18 '16 at 13:55

Well, a lot of this depends on the culture of this society. I gather that in Japan, for example, people will be very indirect and it's necessary to read between the lines. I don't know much about any other Asian societies; you probably have more insight into this particular culture than I would.

Having said that, my interpretation of this is that the company has some interest in you, and would still like to meet you in person to get a better idea of what kind of person you are, but the particular position you were looking at has become unavailable for some reason. This is not unusual; their business priorities may have changed, or their budget, or something.

If it were me, I'd go ahead and meet them. You had already made arrangements to visit; changing those plans now would tend to cast you in a bad light. You're traveling there anyway, so it sounds like it would not be very difficult or expensive to go there, and it would lead to a contact and perhaps eventually a job. On the other hand, if you don't go, it would make pursuing anything at this company more difficult.

  • HK is not very much like the rest of South East Asia, though. – al. Oct 18 '16 at 14:30
  • From my personal experience of working with people who have moved from HK to the UK, they are more "in your face" than the average Brit or American - not at all like the Japanese. – alephzero Oct 18 '16 at 14:32
  • Shrug, the poster hadn't specified what part of Asia was being discussed when I posted. – Tom Zych Oct 18 '16 at 18:44

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