I was just approached randomly in linked.in for a job offer.

However, having exchanged a couple of messages with the interviewer, and calling to arrange a meeting ASAP (today - it was booked for tomorrow), the interviewer did neither intend to make a screening call, nor was willing to talk about any detail at all of the nature of the project, or the required qualifications or technologies despite I (very) politely pointing it out the need.

After the call, despite I telling him my colleagues are in holidays, and I am busy until very late today, he demanded(!!) to have a detailed project form filled ASAP, that may take well 2 or 3 hours to fill properly for someone with my profile (I would understand asking for such a thing after a screening interview, not before one).

Now the thing is, I am not willing to do that interview, as I do not appreciate neither starting on the wrong foot, nor interviewing for a place where apparently as a cultural norm an individual and a professional is not respected.

I also do value my time, and between preparation, travelling there, meeting, coming back and filling that form, we may be very well talking about 6-8 hours at least, in a time I do badly need them, without even knowing if I am a fit for any position, or if there is one (alas, without knowing anything at all!).

How should I politely turn down that interview?

P.S. The interviewer has refused to say which position they want to interview for, which specific projects, pointing out the job specs/ advert and what technologies to deal with. Only that they need "Linux guys", which can be a quite broad subject. I have seen far friendlier professionals. I have just shown this article to a friend and he asked me "which position is the guy interviewing for?" -"I do not know..."

PPS: anecdotally, and funnily, whilst talking about the situation with my father, who is almost 80 years old and managed an office for many years, he said an obscenity about what I should answer to them.

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    I would like to withdraw my application from consideration. Thank you for your time
    – rath
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 13:31
  • 1
    Are you more concerned with getting respect from the recruiter as professional or how the company goes about handling their hiring process? Many recruiters are not personally in charge of setting policies or time frames.
    – user8365
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 14:04
  • @JeffO I would say both I think. But I agree with your point. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 14:06
  • @rath "....... please remove me from your contact list." - fixed it for you! Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 15:07
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    Disclaimer regarding the duplicate - "honesty pays off", but don't say any of this: "I do not appreciate neither starting on the wrong foot, nor interviewing for a place where apparently as a cultural norm an individual and a professional is not respected". It's perfectly fine to say you're not willing to commit that amount of time before knowing anything about the role. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


The core responsibilities for an open position must be clearly outlined by the Recruiter at the outset. If a Recruiter is dodging/evading the continual requests of sharing the work description, it raises red flags, and the integrity of the Recruiter/Company comes under question. Best HR practices encourage HRs and Hiring personnel to be transparent in the job market and clearly communicate the job description to the shortlisted applicant. In your case, just mentioning "Linux guys" is very vague. Linux technologies have a wide range of applications, and there are different distributors of Linux OS such as Red Hat, Ubuntu, CentOS, and others. Also, Linux technologies are not just related to Operating Systems anymore; they are spread across Middleware, Software-Defined Storage, and Cloud domains. How would you know that your area of expertise is being demanded without understanding the role and the work description? There have been instances where Hiring personnel lured candidates into lucrative offers by being pushy and making it sound urgent. After onboarding, the new employee is given a role that is in direct conflict with his expertise.

I am not sure about the level of the Recruiter/interviewer, but maybe you can try contacting the upper echelons of the Company like the Hiring Manager and discuss your concerns. In a nutshell, before getting engaged with any Employer for a prospective work relationship, clarifying the work responsibilities beforehand is crucial and no ethical business firm will deny you this.

About terminating the interview, you can be straightforward to the interviewer/recruiter. I would tell him that "though I appreciate the opportunity to be interviewed by your firm, I am uncomfortable going ahead as the job description is hazy. I would appreciate if you could clarify the roles and responsibilities but if you are not in the position to do so, I would be compelled to disengage."

All the best!

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    All pertinent observations, however I do not see as useful or a happy situation to pursue the situation up the chain of command; I did so in the past when I had to deal with a very rude interviewer; in this case either I am dealing with a rookie, or with a disfunctional organization. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 21:34

How should I politely turn down that interview?

Something like "Thanks, but I'm no longer interested." should suffice if you just want to turn down the interview. You don't need to justify your actions.

If instead, you want to change the recruiter's behavior you could start with "Sorry, but I won't proceed without first knowing far more about the nature of the project." (Personally, I never pursue a position without first knowing quite a lot about it.)

In general, if you don't like the way a recruitment is proceeding, just bow out. If you don't think it's worth 2-3 hours of your time to fill out a form - don't do it. And if you don't like a particular recruiter, stop working with him/her.

I do not appreciate neither starting on the wrong foot, nor interviewing for a place where apparently as a cultural norm an individual is not respected.

It's usually best not to generalize the actions of one recruiter as representative of a cultural norm for the company. In my experience, they might be related, but often are not.

I've worked in great companies that had a few poor individuals. And I know some great individuals in poor companies.

  • Thanks for the insight. A trusted workmate also expressed the opinion that I should not attend the interview. I also do not see as positive an organisation demanding work from you and investment in your time even without knowing wether we have a common starting point. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 13:43
  • IMO, it seems they think they are doing me any sort of favour, or that I am they only interested party. I often also know, and have dealt with immaturity from the part of recruiters, as firms often hire inexperienced people to shave costs. Neither of those possibilities cast a good light on any organization. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 13:49

Stop jumping to conclusions. Don't assume what the recruiter "should" know, because your assumption falling short is the actual source of your frustration. This has nothing to do with cultural norms. It has everything to do with you being willing to work the situation exactly as it is -- or not, if you choose.

Do you realize that your question uses the word "proper", or variants, three times?? (Read it again.) Your approach might be perceived as a little rigid, and it's going to turn people off. I don't get the idea that you're one to just go with the flow.

If I were you, I'd decline to fill out the lengthy form before the recruiter sends you a written job description to review. This way, you can determine whether completing the form is worthy of your time; this is fair. But don't turn away the opportunity just yet. And lighten up! Recruiters provide a valuable service, they don't all work in exactly the same way, and you must leave your high expectations behind if you're going to succeed.

  • All valid comments, sir. My time is valuable, the document is being demanded (unfortunately it is the proper wording) as a prequesite for the interview, and the interview is being asked for “yesterday”. It does not leave me much more wigle room than turning it down. On a side note, I am between two projects, have to put hours at work today to be able to attend that. and have in town someone I have not seen for 10 years that I risk missing... which is secondary for the problem at hand. Again, this is a business setting, and if they are not willing to show what they want to buy... Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:37

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