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Do You Tell a Job Candidate How Badly They Did?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the let-the-job-market-sort-it-out dept.

Businesses 702

skelter asks: "I have been lamenting with friends in the industry about interviewing woes and the candidates that we find. Consider a hypothetical job candidate comes in after some how making it through screening. In the team technical interview they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only is he (or she) not as adequate as he thinks he is, but has demonstrated that he is a danger to any code base. Do you tell them? Quietly step away, usher them out and say nothing? Play with them on the whiteboard the way your cat plays with injured mice? Should you leave them as their own warning to others? Is there any obligation to guide them to gaining real experience? Can you give them any advice or is it all liability?"

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Depends how much of a dick you are... (5, Insightful)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548716)

I say this for two reasons. There's a genuinely nice kind of feedback, no feedback, and a vicious kind too. If I interviewed someone and they weren't up to scratch for whatever reason, I could say that they're not up to scratch for what I want and I don't need to give a reason. I could be more specific, but only when it suits me, the employer. They haven't got the experience I need, I could tell them that. Not suited to the job? I could tell them that too. I can be as vague as I want, it's my choice. Maybe their asking salary is too high. These are all reasons I could genuinely give to a candidate when rejecting them. Would I be specific if they were a threat to my codebase? No. And if I was a complete dick, I'd just reject applications with no feedback whatsoever, not even a rejection letter. They're applying to me, I don't owe them anything, right?

Most of my job applications in the past have never got a response. It's a lot easier if you don't want to employ / deal with someone to simply ignore them after the failed interview etc. There's no obligation to respond to every application you get with helpful tips for next time. If you get as far as interview, it's nice to know why you didn't succeed but you shouldn't expect it.

As for playing with them like your cat plays with injured mice, I don't want to even apply for your company. What the hell? If you're asking about liability, that might be a sticking point. Or, more seriously, how do you think telling an applicant the reason for not getting the job would make you liable? Unless you don't employ people who are black, disabled, female and so on as a matter of course. If you told someone they were the best damn whatever you ever saw, and afterwards they didn't get a job as a whatever, maybe - just maybe you could be liable. It would be very, very weak though.

As a company, you don't owe anyone an explanation, at all in most countries. So long as you're doing things in accordance with law anyway.

Re:Depends how much of a dick you are... (0, Flamebait)

inKubus (199753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548914)

I'm sorry, we don't hire gay-female-Eskimo-single-parents at Acme Corporation.

Re:Depends how much of a dick you are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17548920)

How does this suit fit?

Re:Depends how much of a dick you are... (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549184)

They're gay-female-Inuit-single-parents, you insensitive clod!

Re:Depends how much of a dick you are... (0, Offtopic)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549824)

We QI Educated Brits know that Eskimos and Inuits are NOT the same thing. Inuits are a strict subset of Eskimos

Re:Depends how much of a dick you are... (4, Funny)

alienmole (15522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17550018)

As for playing with them like your cat plays with injured mice, I don't want to even apply for your company. What the hell?
Perhaps it's just my dry, ex-British-colony derived sense of humo(u)r, but I rather think that was an attempt at levity by the submitter, what?

Pass the trash... (2, Interesting)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548772)

I never tell a rejected candidate how badly they did. First off, once they're rejected (assuming they're really rejected rather "reply hazy, ask again later"), there is zero reason to spend another second more on them.

Second, from an employer's perspective, it may in the narrow self-interest of the company for such a person to go be a drain on its competitors. Where's the rational economic incentive to discourage that?

-Isaac

Re:Pass the trash... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17548902)

Second, from an employer's perspective, it may in the narrow self-interest of the company for such a person to go be a drain on its competitors. Where's the rational economic incentive to discourage that?

How about "I don't wish my shareholders to go to hell for owning shares in an evil company". ?
You can have self interest and still not be a dick. You lose very little, while this other person may get helped a lot. Furthermore, maybe the person will actually improve themselves and reapply for the job and you'll have a good employee then. Or, the person will work within the given industry and not bad mouth your company. The more good workers are in the economy the more services can be provided to each other and quality of life of people can improve.

Re:Pass the trash... (5, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549214)

First off, once they're rejected there is zero reason to spend another second more on them.

That opinion is just plain wrongheaded, and I'll tell you why.

Even if the candidate doesn't get the job because they weren't qualified, you want them to be excited about the company. It's good PR for *you* and that most certainly is a good reason to treat your candidates respectfully.

If they still like your company even though they didn't get the job, they will direct other people they know to you (many of whom may be more skilled than the person you turned away), and they may even try again down the road when they have more experience themselves.

You may not realize this, but even developers and other technical people are social animals (no matter how much we sometimes deny it) and word gets around pretty fast. The bad companies get pointed out to friends who point them out to their friends (and on down the line). That's something we all know too well. However, the other case is also true - the GOOD companies get pointed out too.

Treat your candidates poorly (and treating them as a disposable commodity that doesn't deserve "another second more" is treating them poorly), and after a while, you will only get poor candidates.

Re:Pass the trash... (4, Interesting)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549472)

Candidates that aren't quite there yet ("reply hazy, ask again later") may get a little guidance. I have certainly advised flawed but promising on what to study before they apply again (or we call them again) in the future. Candidates of the sort the article poster was asking about ("a danger to any code base") get a polite rejection from the recruiter and that is all.

I am not in the business of career counseling. I don't think that makes me evil.

-Isaac

Re:Pass the trash... (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17550022)

Even if the candidate doesn't get the job because they weren't qualified, you want them to be excited about the company. It's good PR for *you* and that most certainly is a good reason to treat your candidates respectfully.

Maybe, but offering criticism could just as easily turn into an incident that makes your company look bad. Even if you fully intend to offer kind, thoughtful, constructive criticism, the recipient might not take it well. Then, not only will you be dealing with a PR problem, but possibly a legal problem as well.

Re:Pass the trash... (2, Interesting)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17550034)

Its common courtesy to explain what you wanted from them what you were looking for and didnt find. Given that information they can either reassess what skills they need to work on or which roles they should be applying for. You might learn something useful about the efficiency of your own hiring processes and target it better. In these days of qualification inflation the skill list in job advertisements often looks more like a supermarket stock list than a job specification.
       

Re:Pass the trash... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549218)

Second, from an employer's perspective, it may in the narrow self-interest of the company for such a person to go be a drain on its competitors. Where's the rational economic incentive to discourage that?
Don't flatter your self. Half the time the slick tongued yuppie you picked over whomever you rejected is probably more of a liability to your self than the rejects are to the competition so their stupidity is on the whole cancelled out by your gullibility.

Re:Pass the trash... (4, Insightful)

Stile 65 (722451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549266)

> Second, from an employer's perspective, it may in the narrow self-interest of the company for such a person to go be a drain on its competitors. Where's the rational economic incentive to discourage that?

He COULD go to work for one of your vendors... :)

Re:Pass the trash... (1)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549994)

>> Second, from an employer's perspective, it may in the narrow self-interest of the company for such a person to go be a drain on its competitors. Where's the rational economic incentive to discourage that?

> He COULD go to work for one of your vendors... :)

That's true! In the spirit of Keep one's friends close and one's enemies closer, I should hire all these useless candidates to stop that from happening. I think I'm gonna need a bigger payroll...

-Isaac

Re:Pass the trash... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549786)

I never tell a rejected candidate how badly they did. First off, once they're rejected (assuming they're really rejected rather "reply hazy, ask again later"), there is zero reason to spend another second more on them.

Yep. And there's zero reason to keep old people around too. No use to society.

Re:Pass the trash... (1)

linear a (584575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549878)

Yeah, what if they get promoted to high position (Peter Principle) and drag your whole industry down with them? Huh?

Honesty would help (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548782)

There's a lot of competition for tech. jobs. Blunt honesty might push some people out who weren't sure anyway. What are you doing looking for work if you can't handle rejection? My experience with interviews is that they either don't tell you anything, or they make up something that sounds nice but isn't very specific. How you treat each candidate reflects more on your company than it does on the IT industry as a whole.

mandelbr0t

Re:Honesty would help (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549102)

"What are you doing looking for work if you can't handle rejection?"

People who don't deal with rejection well have bills to pay too, you know.

Re:Honesty would help (5, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549720)

What are you doing looking for work if you can't handle rejection?

You start believing crap from people less able then yourself because they have a job and you don't. I've seen very able people give up looking and take jobs in different feilds because each rejection makes them think they are less capable.

Nope (5, Interesting)

ryanr (30917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548786)

If I decide against a candidate, I've arrived at saying nothing beyond "Thank you for your time, we've decided not to extend an offer." Anything else, and I've had people keep bugging me with things like they can change, or give them another chance, or would I...

Mum's the word. (5, Insightful)

NNland (110498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548790)

Do whatever is standard for your organization when you decide not to hire someone. Doing anything else, from throwing their resume in the trash the next day to telling them that they should brush up on skill X, could be seen as litigation fodder.

Also, don't post on slashdot about it, he may be incompetent, but he may still read slashdot.

Re:Mum's the word. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549090)

s/may be/is/; s/but he may still read/so he probably reads/

Not a word! (3, Insightful)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548810)

Although it sucks, since the person will continue to bounce off potential employers until finding one with inadequate screening, it is not in your companies interests to give reasons for rejecting a candidate. You never know when some insecure geek is going to return with a weapon, based on his momma telling him he could code better than God, and anyone who doesnt know it, should die.

You thank them for coming in, validate their ticket, and hope you never see them again.

Re:Not a word! (5, Funny)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549882)

based on his momma telling him he could code better than God, and anyone who doesnt know it, should die.
Oh, don't be so cocky. I am fortunate to know a guy who awhile back was told -in writing- that his research sucked and was a complete waste of time.

That guy went on to get a Nobel Prize for the said research in 2005 and now he opens his talks by showing the "fuckoff" rejection letter...

Luckily for the idiot that wrote the letter, Dr. Marshall magnanimously blacks out the name and the sig!

The lesson here is: be nice to "insecure geeks."

Ask your HR person... (1)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548832)

before doing anything drastic. If someone is qualified on paper and you choose to interview them, it's not really your place to lambast them. If you mention things that aren't in the job ad for a reason they weren't picked, that seems kinda dangerous to me, this day and age.

To answer your question, though, yes, you can do so. Don't offer them the job. :)

some how? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17548848)

"somehow" is one word, not two. grammar ought to be a prerequisite for getting jobs too.

Uhhh.... (1, Funny)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549022)

Oh NO YOU DIDN'T!! You DID NOT just correct someone's grammer using two sentences starting with uncapitalized words. SNAP!

Re:Uhhh.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549182)

Whatever HE did or didn't do, you just spelled "grammar" as "grammer." AFTER the parent spelled it correctly.

You can stop correcting people now, having illustrated how poorly you perform the task.

Re:Uhhh.... (0)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549752)

I don't give a WRAT SASS about your opinion!!! I wasn't the one claiming to be the grammAr guru. By the way, mine wasn't a grammatical mistake, it was a speeling misteak. LOok up grammar in the dictionary, fool: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grammar [reference.com]

Re:Uhhh.... (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549728)

The initial character was a quote mark, and it was properly capitalized. :-)

Re:Uhhh.... (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549988)

I believe it is spelled "DI'EHNT."

Re:some how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549246)

Capitalization should be, too.

Just... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17548858)

act crazy... bitch slap one of your coworkers in front of him. Cut up some fruit in the kitchen and use a really sharp knife. Grin while you're doing it. Then show him your scarification.

Scream something random to people in the next room at unpredictable intervals.

By the time the interview's over, a callback will be the last thing they're wondering about.

Liability (1)

CrazyClimber (469251) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548876)

What if you tell him he's miserably unqualified and he hires a lawyer? Is your job in jeopardy?

Discrimination? (2, Interesting)

Zonnald (182951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548906)

I saw a job ad yesterday that clearly stated that the application must have 2-6 years experience. Then went on to state "Candidates with 7 years or more of commercial IT experience are unlikely to be considered by this particular organisation".
Knowing that 18 years experience was just a little over that, I opted not to try.
I can imagine that they probably would have stated the reason for rejecting my application. (This was not advertised as a junior role).
It seems a fairly disturbing trend that most IT jobs now insist on candidates having experience that would seem to preclude anyone over 30.

Re:Discrimination? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549048)

Yes, Discrimination. Legally so, in some jurisdictions, IIRC.

Re:Discrimination? (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549782)

Then went on to state "Candidates with 7 years or more of commercial IT experience are unlikely to be considered by this particular organisation".

Depending on how sweet the job sounded - Just whittle your experience down to the upper end of their range (some might call that "lying", but I've heard (IANAL) that employers can sue for everything they've paid you if you outright lie about your qualifications, so you might want to avoid outright lies; You can say a lot without actually lying, though).

Do they want six years of Java? Well, if you worked a decade in "general IT" doing mostly Java, just "conservatively" pro-rate your actual time spent coding to get somewhere around 5.5 years experience. In the example you give, what exactly counts as "commercial?" Plenty of room for interpretation.

That works the other way as well, BTW, but I'll warn all those hoping to get a "better" job by "overestimating" - Even if you make it through the interview, you can fake stupidity; you can't fake competence.



Most likely, you won't want to stay there anyway. Companies that post upper limits usually have serious problems (either they don't want to pay for more experience, or management has so little clue they fear for their own jobs). But if you need to put food on the table next week and you can either "underestimate" or starve - Screw 'em. You can put up with a lot, short-term, for a paycheck.

Depends on the situation (4, Funny)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548910)

Certainly, I think an interviewer has zero obligation to spend his time explaining to somebody what they did wrong. Certainly not for free.

That said, I think in many circumstances, it can be a good thing to explain to somebody why they didn't get the gig. If they undertake a course of self improvement, they could potentially apply for a different position in a few years and prove a really valuable asset. Before I left my last job, there was a huge amount of bitterness related to internal job applications for position transfers. People would be rejected with no idea why. It was killing morale. I don't know if they ever improved the situation, but it would have been really easy to say,
"Look, Suzie Q, when we open up to public applications, most of the people applying for this type of position have qualifications X,Y, and Z in these amounts. You only have X, and only in this amount. So, it's not personal, but I think we are going to keep looking. If you really want to move into this position, we really think that only A and not B will be the best route to getting Y and Z."

Instead, with really vague requirements, people thought they were perfectly qualified, and had no idea how to get better-qualified. They also thought that it was just a matter of personal grudges.

With external applicants, I think it is less important, but it doesn't usually hurt. I suppose you might consider it valuable to keep some of the stunning idiots in the industry in hopes that they will work with your competitors. But, you may eventually work with them too. And, you will have to maintain their code. Probably safer for everybody just to point out to them how clueless they are.

And, when I'm away from my day job, I do theater stuff. I was recently involved in some auditions to expand an improv troupe I am in. Not everybody got individual commentary, but the folks dismissed in the first round did at least get a general explanation. Everybody who made it past the first cut got an explanation of what impressed the director, and what he thought they could most work on - both the folks who made it and those who didn't. Personally, I wish we could have taken a little more time to offer personal advice to some of the folks in the first round. I would have liked suggesting that the hot chicks take classes that I can sit in on and watch them learn. Especially one blonde. I tried to convince the director that she should join the troupe and just not be allowed to say anything. I would have been cool with that.

Re:Depends on the situation (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549842)

It can be counterproductive and depressing. I had HR people say to me - "we didn't hire you becuae we wanted someone who knows about somewidget" and then I correct the way they pronounce it or some other glaring error that showed they didn't understand the selection criteria. There is no way you can still get the job in this situation even if the decision is wrong since it makes the contact person look incompetant - if they have already told others you do not have the job so they can't go back on it. If recruitment agencies or HR is not involved it can be a different story.

Re:Depends on the situation (2, Funny)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549854)

I would have liked suggesting that the hot chicks take classes that I can sit in on and watch them learn. Especially one blonde.

from insightful to offtopic in 3 paragraphs

No! There's always management. (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548918)

They almost always seem to zone in on the technically inept.

He could end up the CEO of the company that buys out your company..

Burning bridges, that sort of thing.

You definitely should not (4, Insightful)

Clay_Culver (583328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548930)

You should definitely not say anything to this prospective employee. I am not a lawyer, but the reason that these interviews are setup in such a manor that the interviewer is not the person telling the interviewee that they do not get the job is for legal reasons. Telling them this would potentially open up your company to a lawsuit (frivolous or otherwise). This is not to mention the hot water you could be in for stepping around HR in the interview process.

You may feel you have an ethical obligation to set this guy straight, but you also have an ethical obligation to your company to not expose them to a potential lawsuit (or to bad PR from this guy telling others what you have said). Also, as crass as this may sound, would this action result in increasing shareholder value for your company? Professional ethics requires that you at least consider that question before taking an action such as this.

It sounds like your heart is in the right place for wanting to tell this guy the truth, but really it isn't your job. It's the job of this guy's professors in school (through grades), and the job of his colleagues when he does land a job (through peer review or otherwise) to tell him that he is not as good as he thinks he is. Besides, if someone is that full of them self, do you really believe he would listen and not take offense?

Re:You definitely should not (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549406)

Alright, this is already like the 10th time I'm reading "legal reasons" or "liability." IANAL either. Still...

Quote a damn law for crying out loud. Give a case. Anyone got anything concrete?

Otherwise, you're just guessing, and worse, suggesting there is *additional* legal protection with keeping your mouth shut.

Further, a person who is going to sue because you gave a suggestion is akin to a person suing for whatever or whichever reason, that's including you being silent (gave them a cold shoulder).

What are they going to sue you on? There's no tort claim here unless you brutally lay into them. There's no law or liability for giving rejectees reason. You can imagine all sorts of convoluted crap, but any sort of scenario you imagine would be the same as a person making stuff up and suing you, suing you because they don't know why or because of a negative perception because you said nothing, etc.

Note I'm not that you can or should give them advice, but if folks are saying say nothing to protect yourself, so please state the law, the case, or the study supporting this claim of additional protection. There are certainly federal, state, and local dicrimination laws, but you have to know those already prior to hiring anyways, so I'm left wondering what the hell you people are thinking that *opens* you up to liabilty beyond the normal scope of the hiring process.

Re:You definitely should not (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549540)

This is an absurd response. Major corporations, in particular Citigroup, Microsoft, and IBM (we're talking Fortune 100 here) routinely have their interviewers -- nay, ENCOURAGE their interviewers -- to give feedback to job candidates who are interviewed but turned down. This is true on the private side too, at major law firms and at consulting and accounting firms (I personally know this to be true at McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers -- though one of them eventually hired me). Anybody with a degree from a top b-school will tell you that recruiter/interviewer feedback is ESSENTIAL to the process.

True Story (4, Interesting)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548948)

I was hiring a programmer for a project, and had one I liked. I Googled his name, email address, got nothin'. Then I Googled the *newsgroups*. This guy posted on alt.drugs.hard that he had just moved to my city, and was lamenting how hard it was to find good heroin. He had also posted to something like alt.alien.contact, how aliens had been contacting him, and he had picture proof, in the dust patterns on his T.V. He linked to the pic on the web, but it was less than convincing.

So what did I tell him? Nothing. Just that I had hired someone else, and thanks for his time.

Re:True Story (1)

thehickcoder (620326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549202)

Ummm... shouldn't your sig either be:

There are 10 kinds of cars in the world. The General Lee, and everything else.
-or-
There is 01 kind of car in the world. The General Lee.

10 binary = 2 decimal
01 binary = 01 decimal

Re:True Story (2, Informative)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549334)

Apparently you were never a Dukes of Hazard fan as a kid.

The number painted on the side of the General Lee was 01

Re:True Story (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549212)

and what if someone posted fake information about you on the web and employers used that as a reason to not hire you?

I call B.S. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549254)

I suppose someone is dumb enough not to hire based on that.

You ARE aware that people post there using other people's names? Just for this very reason? Any posting there with a real name ought to be viewed under a large cloud of suspicion.

I guess not. Good thing you posted here under a nym, otherwise I'd guarantee that your name with be in that group tomorrow.

Re:True Story (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549658)

Let the record show that Sean McLachlan:

Is addicted to crack.
Fucks his mom.
Can't program worth a shit.
Is a fucking idiot.

I'm too lazy to make an account, but do you see how that works?

Asshole.

Re:True Story (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17550040)

Well done, but I urge you to NOT make an example out of GP's author.

Other idiots like GP won't get a clue anyways, so you'll just mess up this guy's life for nothing...

Re:True Story (3, Insightful)

siufish (814496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549702)

How did you look him up in newsgroups? Using his REAL name and REAL email address?

If he really posted his REAL name and REAL email address on public newsgroups, he should never be a programmer anyway.

 

Touchy subject and legal ramifications (4, Interesting)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548950)

I, like others have posted, typically don't tell the interviewee how they did. The standard line I use for those that inquire is "after the interview, I make an assessment of your skill level and appropriateness for the job, I then give this to the hiring manager (which sometimes is myself) and it's up to them to figure out if those variables meet their criteria". While it would be nice to tell everyone how they did, from a practical standpoint it often leads to bigger troubles (I know this from experience). One other aspect is that this day and age, one has to be very careful about what you tell a candidate, it could be that "you didn't think they were a good fit", which often means that you thought they were a putz, but of course you can't say that (that they were a putz). So I just leave the legaleeze to those that are trained in it (HR).

BTW, I never "toy" with candidates. AAMOF, I try to go out of my way to keep them relaxed and not discouraged if things aren't going well. The point of the interview is to try to assess their abilities and appropriateness for the job, not to make myself feel superiour or have a team of folks that "interview well" but can't code worth a darn. I also don't want to exclude people because they "don't interview well". Some folks just get nervous, and I would hate to pass on someone good just because of that (after all, how many of us know other techies that are awesome at what they do, but have a few issues with their "social graces").

I just wish to be contacted AT ALL (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17548958)

A lot of employers are not even contacting you AT ALL after the interview. I mean, I can understand why you can't contact everyone that sends in a resume, but jeeze... if you've shown enough interest to interview a person, you should at least tell them that they DIDN'T get the job.

Don't worry about it (1)

abradsn (542213) | more than 7 years ago | (#17548964)

Eventually they will get more experience and a job, and may even do well at it eventually. Let recruiters tell people what mistakes they have made. Besides that, some people come away knowing where they had trouble in an interview/job/contract and do their best to get better in the deficient areas. Unless you are there coach or teacher, then just let them be.

How do people get jobs these days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17548978)

For the past seven months, I have been applying for jobs. I would take anything, even a retail job or mopping floors at a fast food place. I have applied to twelve different fast food places and at least fifteen different retail stores, including Circuit City and Wal-Mart. I fill out the application to the best of my ability, but I have no previous job experience. I've never worked before. I have had two interviews. In both, they called me back and said they weren't interested. I have done very well in high school, but they don't seem to care. How do you get your first job? I am fairly technically inclined (C/C++/Java) and have done well in the programming classes at high school. I do well in German and use excellent English grammar. I do well in all activities and have many awards, I am the student of the semester, but I can't get a job. I think job candidates should be told more than "you aren't a final candidate for the position!"

Re:How do people get jobs these days? (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549210)

Have you considered a breath mint?

no offence, but if you cant get hired to do fast food work, it may not be your technique. Plenty of people have bad breath, but NO ONE ever tells them. Sad but true. Use of deoderant is also a plus.

Re:How do people get jobs these days? (1)

desertfool (21262) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549224)

If you are a programmer, then a High School Education won't get you in the door-- you need more schooling. The fast food places and the people that do the hiring there know that you are out the door the first time you get a better offer, so you get nothing there. I hate to say it, I know my degree means nothing in my chosen field, but it means something to employers.

Get yourself in to your local 2 year school at least and suffer through it. Once you are in school you can get the job mopping floors at the fast food joint: they think you need the work and will give you a job knowing you have a least a couple of years with them. Then you can go on to bigger and better things.

Re:How do people get jobs these days? (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549476)

Good point, and too true. What about those of us who can't afford two years more schooling? Especially without a job?

My advice is to find a small company, be honest and express that you're more than happy to show your experience and even spend an hour coding something up as a proof of your skills. Some places will be happy to take you on.

If not, try applying to these fast-food places with a 'lower' skilled CV, some basic interests but come across as a fairly average boring person. You might end up doing better.

Me? I'm stuck in a crappy little company, only part-time, fairly average money but just not enjoying IT anymore. I can't afford to go back to college or uni, so its either find somewhere that appreciates me -- schools have often been a favourite of mine so far because of the sense of achievement there (but the low pay), start my own business (which I'm trying -- see sig!), or to move out of IT -- which would feel a real shame as I know I'm quite proficient in some odd areas. Maybe I'll just be a postman.

DugUK

Liability, of course (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17548988)

Every job interview is a potential lawsuit waiting to happen. Your job interviewing candidates is to minimize that threat. You should already know all this if you are interviewing candidates. For example, you might think asking about somebody's kids is a polite thing to do, but actually it's a legal liability because you might trying to figure out whether a female candidate is planning to have children in the future (...because if they are, it would be a bad idea to hire them because of huge costs you have to bear due to maternity leave).

And yes, it means that you really can't provide constructive criticism. Frankly, it's not your place to provide such criticism anyway. Just because a candidate is not appropriate for your position doesn't mean they aren't competent for another.

I suggest that you talk to your HR department and get the answers to these sorts of questions.

Re:Liability, of course (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549462)

I think this is important... You can ask questions like "Tell me about yourself" but it would be dangerous to ask "Tell me about your family / are you married" etc. One way of finding out about some of the "don't ask" questions is to volunteer your own info in an informal conversation, and see if that prompts them into releasing theirs on their own accord.

But in general, giving feed back is not a good idea due to the potential liability you mentioned. If you feel you must say something, keep it generic like: "we are not going to extend an employment offer to you at this time but will keep your resume on file for possible future positions." If they ask why, it's best to have something ready like: "Company policy prohibits us from discussing internal decisions and deliberations with people outside the company" (assuming that you have a company policy of course.)

Re:Liability, of course (1)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549984)

Actually, I had an HR briefing not too long ago and they didn't even really want us to ask things like "So tell me about yourself". If it wasn't related to the job, they don't want us to discuss it. There was a whole list of things that sounded fairly harmless, but which they wanted to be phrased in a particular way so as to be as completely innocuous as possible. It's too bad really, because an individuals personality means a lot about how they're going to fit into a team, and apparently now we're not allowed to find out about that. Bleh.

why does ask slashdot get questions like this? (0)

dopaz (148229) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549024)

The answer is no. I think you should consult your lawyer or your HR department. Why would you look for input on slashdot for a question like this?

Re:why does ask slashdot get questions like this? (1)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549194)

Usually to start a discussion. I'm guessing the majority of Slashdot's readership is on the younger side of the general population, and are probably just getting to the point where they help interview at their company.

Re:why does ask slashdot get questions like this? (1)

eis271828 (842849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549596)

Not everyone works for a large company. Small programming companies have only a few people, typically not divided into one-person departments.

I wouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549038)

These days anybody will sue anyone else for anything. If you provide any information, you may be providing grounds for a lawsuit. The usual thing to do is provide a letter that says, "Although we were impressed with your qualifications, we found someone else better suited for the job." Then, if the candidate insists on knowing why they didn't get the job you can tell them that, unfortunately, you can't discuss the qualifications of the winning candidate because of privacy concerns.

It does sound not very nice but our organization has suffered big time because someone was nice and provided too much information. (It was when someone was let go before they had completed their probation. The principle is the same though.)

Re:I wouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549108)

It does sound not very nice but our organization has suffered big time because someone was nice and provided too much information. (It was when someone was let go before they had completed their probation. The principle is the same though.)

No, it's not nice, and I have to work hard and bite my tongue to keep from being the nice guy.

I can see why companies do it, but I have to wonder how many women were sued for telling their boyfriends/husbands what they did wrong to get to where they are now.

Hey look, it's the Prima donna developer! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549066)

In the team technical interview they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only is he (or she) not as adequate as he thinks he is, but has demonstrated that he is a danger to any code base.

Hey look, it's the Prima donna developer! Your code must be PERFECT! All of your opinions are CORRECT!

Chances are you aren't qualified enough to really tell if "he is a danger to any code base".

Really, it sounds like you want to talk about how your sills are utterly superior to the job candidate.

(I'm not a developer, but I deal with your types wayy too often).

Dont tell them! (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549068)

Tell them? No way! Instead give him a list of competitors and say he might have a better shot there...

It's your responsibility to tell them. (5, Insightful)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549076)

There's a story about Art Rooney, long-time owner of an American football franchise in Pittsburgh -- the Steelers. He had to fire his quarterback, who wasn't getting the job done. As the QB was leaving, Rooney saw him from his limo and shouted at him: "I hope you become the greatest QB who ever lived!"

The QB's name? Johnny Unitas [wikipedia.org] .

If I've learned nothing else in life, it's that building good relationships with people will get you further than anything else. I've also learned that it's important to serve as a mentor to people.

If you tell them in a kindly manner that they're not applying for a job they're qualified for, and that they should modify their job searches to meet their existing skill sets, you saved them tons of job-hunting trouble. (If you express it well and they still don't pay you any heed, it's their own damned fault.)

Having been on both sides of that interview table, I know how much it matters to that individual. And both your personal success and your company's success depend on the relationships you build.

The key thing about building relationships is that you have to have that function activated all the time; you can't just turn it on selectively. If you're selective, you become a two-faced suck-up, and people will know that's what you are -- to say nothing of the opportunities you'll miss when you treat someone like shit and they one day turn out to be big-time.

Every person who ever succeeded faced rejection at some point by someone else. Be damned sure that they remember those things. They remember who gave them assistance along the way, and those who did not.

Moreover, when that one rejectee does succeed, and tells all his admirers and fans about that time you shot him down for a job, is he going to talk about how you helped steer him in the right direction, or how you were an asshole?

Don't be that asshole. Be like Art Rooney. Help the candidate out.

As someone who is searching/interviewing now... (4, Insightful)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549084)

...I would love to get feedback from employers. It's too bad that we live in such a litigious society where you can't even give advice to people who don't make the cut.

Re:As someone who is searching/interviewing now... (2, Funny)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549274)

Well, the link in your signature is something like http: //adultmediaboard.com, so sorry but you have not been successful this time. We welcome your application in future.

Best regards,

Lois, file this under recycling please.

Re:As someone who is searching/interviewing now... (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549546)

I feel for you man. You're having problems in the job market but you can get +5 interesting on slashdot!

Why not try putting that on your Resumé/CV?

Best of luck :) -DugUK

Good Manners (1)

aphxtwn (702841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549196)

If we removed all levels of efficiency and legality and boiled it down to basic human behavior and manners, yeah, you should be nice to everyone and send personalized responses to what the needs were and how the applicant didn't meet them. As an applicant, if I don't get a response and it's a position I am hyped about, I try to reach them until I do get a response, good or bad. The only time I told an applicant specific reasons why they weren't hired was when a friend applied but didn't make the cut. On a side note, I think it's kinda sad that you can't always be polite because of legal reasons.

Rejecting failed applicants? (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549222)

That's not the way to go about it. You hire these failures, and then you slowly crush their soul and destroy their lives, then sue them. Isn't that what business is all about? As if I'm going to hire the best and brightest. That's no fun.

Constructive feedback is not your job... (1)

Binder (2829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549226)


I once had a candidate apply for a senior software positon. Their resume looked good, 10 years industry experience, c, c++, yadda yadda. When I started asking questions we got some interesting information though. First of all he had recieved a degree in EE 18 years ago. Since then he had taken exactly one CS course, in C++. To top if off here is how the questioning went wrt. hash tables.

Are you familiar with hash tables?
Yes.
When would you use a hash table?
When you needed to put things into it and take things out.
What are the performance characteristics of a hash table?
They are fast.
When would you use a hash table instead of another data structure?
When you wanted to put things into it and take things out.
Could you give me an example of when a hash table would be a bad choice?
They are always fast.

It went on from there.

Even though it was obvious he wasn't suitable for a software positons it isn't your job as a prospective employer to help him with his interviewing skills.

Now I have been known to make exceptions for recent college grads or foreigners who aren't familiar with the country.

Your job is to fill a position in your company. Nothing else. Mean, but thats the way it is.

Yes, but not right there (3, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549230)

Definitely tell them - in a nice, constructive way - that they sucked. Just do it afterwards, in a post-interview follow up email. You should always do this anyway, as it is the right thing to do. Even if they simply weren't a fit for the job and didn't necessarily suck. But don't do it immediately after the interview.

When I was starting out I would have appreciated employers contacting me after an interview and telling me "you're good, but you got to get better at X and Y". I do the same now every time I go through a hiring cycle. I've found that most developers (that's who I hire, obviously) are by and large grateful at you for doing that. There's always going to be the occasional dick that replies with "well fuck you I didn't want to work at your stupid company anyway", but I could really care less.

At least be somewhat diplomatic about it. (1)

WobindWonderdog (1049538) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549244)

When I came back after a year overseas to look for a job, I ended up with two offers. One of them (found through direct contact) offered about 20k more than the other (through a hiring agency). I spoke to the latter, asking if they could better their offer, and the agency basically flat out told me "You're not worth it. This is a great salary!" (granted, for a graduate, which I have most definitely not been, for quite a few years) "You'll come crawling back to me in two months just -begging- for a job!".

Naturally I declined their generous offer, and five months later, am still in the other job and quite happy with my decision.

I've also been warning everyone I can get my hands on to avoid using that employment agency.

Re:At least be somewhat diplomatic about it. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549890)

I've also been warning everyone I can get my hands on to avoid using that employment agency.

I think I know the agency you're talking about. Is it that one with all the worthless, low-life scumbags? Oh wait, that's just about all of them.

It's okay, I'm not bitter.

Do I detect some arrogance? (3, Insightful)

mark99 (459508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549292)

1. You might be wrong. Maybe what you think is important is really not the key factor in other jobs that are related. For example there are many very successful VB shops, but few Java and C# people out there who will give them the time of day. And programming techniques and methodologies vary widely.

2. The candiate may have had a bad day. I know I have had some bad ones, where I was tongue-tied on occasion and just did not see what my interviewer (or customer) was getting at, though it was clear as daylight later.

3. There are misunderstandings. People hear one word, and understand another. Accents, culture, word usage vary widely and interviews are usually too short to establish contexts and get used to one another.

Once we hired a guy who interviewed brilliantly, even had fanstastic code samples (impresive video games he had written on a basic PC - that later turned out to be very buggy). After a year we concluded that he could never write enough "if" statements to special case his bugs out of existence, and he would never be able to tackle problems in any other way. But we missed it in the interview.

Basically hiring people is risky business :)

google hiring practices (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549332)

I wonder what would happen if google tried to give every person who applied to google criticism.

Seinfeld (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549348)

Not only no, but HELL no.

Did you see that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry's uncle thought everyone in the world who expressed any opinion at all was an anti-Semite?

You will run into people who, no matter how bad they were and how well meaning you are (as hiring manager) will not believe one word of what you say. They didn't get a job because you are a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, homosexual, threatened by their l33t skillz or any one of another defensive fantasy where you have an unreasoning prejudice.

You are just asking for trouble.

  Charles

carefull not to crush them (3, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549468)

I've had an interview, was nervous but relieved when I got the job. Then shortly after saying I had the positions he said "you were the worst interviewee I've had in a long time, I almost didn't give you the job". I was completely crushed by that, especially considering it was a pretty crappy job (night filler at tescos) and it made me feel down for a long long time. It was just such a nasty thing to say to someone whether it was true or not (I'm extremely shy and introverted and that kinda thing does nothing for my confidence).

First of all: Tell people they haven't got the job, in a letter preferably. Nothing worse then not knowing. If you have critisism, disguise it and make it in regards to other candidates (the successfull applicant showed a much stronger knowledge of xyz). Chances are they know their skill shortcomings but occasionally they won't and you have to be sure that you don't critisize something so heavily it destroys them.

Tell them how they could improve (1)

mrobin604 (70201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549504)

If they are underqualified for the position, or are very junior, sometimes I will tell them that they did not get the job, and talk to them about why, and how they could become a more qualified applicant in the future. Sometimes people apply for jobs in an industry that they are new to, and I think the information about what we are looking for in potential candidates is more useful to someone than just being told "Thank you for your time, we'll get back to you if we're interested."

If the person is just not a good fit for whatever reason, and it's not a matter of improving their skills, then usually a "We don't have a position that would fit with your qualifications" would do. Or possibly just thanking them for their time.

If the interview is just bizarrely bad, then a quick "thank you" is probably about the best I can do :P

Ask them if they want your advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549526)

In the team technical interview they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only is he (or she) not as adequate as he thinks he is, but has demonstrated that he is a danger to any code base. Do you tell them?

I'd only tell them if three conditions were met:

  1. You have the authority to tell them (eg. you own the company). It goes without saying that you should definitely not tell them if it's explicitly against HR policy.
  2. There are compelling reasons to think your advice will be beneficial. It's easy to tell someone what's wrong with them. It's much harder to show them a path to self-improvement that they can actually follow.
  3. They want your advice. You don't have to (and you shouldn't) guess here. You can (and should) ask directly: "Would you like me to suggest ways to make yourself more qualified for a job in this field?" If they say "yes", then focus on specific practical suggestions. "You need to be smarter." just isn't helpful.

Sometimes its difficult .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549552)

I had an interview years ago with a dot-com company, lets say Mr. X interviewed me.

They had it all, funding, free food, good salary, nice people. Sounded great.
Then for whatever reason an offer wasn't extended.

Years later at a new company, I work my way up from peon to managing a team of 20 people, making not to bad a pay.

One day I'm doing interviews. Mr. X comes in looking for a job.

I never did really tell him why we didn't hire him ..
Though I believe when he got the "oh f-ck" expression on his face half-way through he remembered who I was.

Its no why he didn't get the job though.
I actually wanted to hire him, he hasn't to bad, I think he botched the interview when his tone changed after he knew who I was though ..

For him I wanted to tell him, if only to let him know I didn't hold a grudge, but I'm not sure which was worse ..
Me telling him hes a bumbling idiot, mumbling, slurring, ranting, would-scare-the-team, vs. him thinking he didn't get the job because he didn't hire me ..

It did take all I had though not to have fun with the situation ..

YES!!! (3, Interesting)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549580)

Please, as a candidate for interviews, I hate it when companies have some sort of super secret policy regarding how well I did in interviews.

This is especially true given us poor college candidates. Understanding the finer points of interview etiquette is not accomplished instantly. (I have been criticized for dressing up too much and for not dressing up enough!)

Also, think about it: Don't you want other companies doing the same thing, so that you get better candidates coming in through your doors as well?

We did it only once (5, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549632)

One time we had a candidate that looked good on paper, but when we brought him in to meet with the team, it was oil and water. Very badly. This guy was absolutely the wrong personality for the rest of the team even though he brought the technical goods.

He emailed us and asked why he hadn't gotten the position. We made the mistake of politely explaining what our issues with him were. He used that explanation to kick off some sort of lawsuit against our company.

I actually have no idea how it ultimately turned out. HR told us never to do that again, legal took charge of the matters with every expectation to fight this tooth and nail (especially to avoid a precedent against our company). I presume it's either still outstanding, he lost, or he gave up, because I think I would have heard if it had gone against us.

If someone asks us how they did in an interview now (and we're not planning on offering them a job), it's, "Well, we have a lot of candidates to examine, we'll contact you if we're interested in a second interview or need more information. If you have questions about your performance in the interview, we suggest you contact a career counselor who is better equipped and has the appropriate training to answer questions like that."

Some advice to a candidate is needed.... (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549656)

I once had a person come in to interview for a Testing position. Unfortunately, HR had passed me the resume late in the process and I really hadn't had time to take a look at their resume before I met the candidate ( at our company, the first interview was done by HR ). The resume had four spelling mistakes on the first page alone. For a Testing position, this wasn't going to work and I politely told the candidate why they weren't going to be hired.

I did have more blunt talk with HR and got really ticked when they didn't see what the big deal was.

The nice thing to do... (1)

WK1 (987981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549740)

The nice thing to do would be to tell them you won't hire them, exactly why you won't hire them, and tell them what they would need to work on so you would hire them next year. There are plenty of selfish reasons to be vague / unhelpful / untruthful, some of which have been mentioned by others.

However, there are plenty of self-serving reasons to be nice. It makes your company look bad if others in the industry openly discuss what a dick the interviewers are. Also, the person you are lying to might be a psychopath, and come back the next day with a machine gun. Depending on what you sell, your employees/potential employees might also be your customers. Pissing customers off is never good; it is sometimes cheaper, but never good.

When in doubt, be nice. In my experience, things just work out better when you do it that way.

Taking Advice (5, Insightful)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549822)

I like to give candidates some feedback during the interview, even if it's only in the layout of their resume.


The lesser reason is that they deserve some help in their job seeking, given that they have gone to the trouble of attending the interview.

But reason #1: I want to see how they respond to friendly advice. I don't want to hire people who can't take advice.

Consider the source of the problem (4, Insightful)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549830)

Consider that the problem could be you. When I've been "corrected" on coding problems in the past; it typically indicated that the interviewer was asking the wrong questions. Don't expect people to write perfect error-checking, choose your favorite algorithm, naming convention, ect.

For example, I once had to write an algorithm that had to handle money. I chose a slow and reliable algorithm, and the interviewer chastised me to not writing the fastest once possible. (He never told me he was looking for speed.) When I politley explained that I always choose a reliable algorithm that can be replaced with a fast one, as needed, he refused to listen to me, and probably thought that I was a risk to his code base.

In another internview, I was chastised for not performing extensive (and redundant) input checking. Typically, in whiteboard coding where the goal is to demonstrate an algorithm, one does not worry about minor details. Again, the interviewer probably though that I was a risk to his code base because my first reaction to his problem wasn't to follow his error-checking style.

So, perhaps instead of correcting someone's code, ask them why they wrote it the way they did. The answer to, "Why did you choose a slow algorithm?" or "Why aren't you performing null checking?" could be valid because the interviewer thinks you're looking for something else.

Poor candidate, or unrealistic interview ? (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549848)

In the team technical interview they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only is he (or she) not as adequate as he thinks he is, but has demonstrated that he is a danger to any code base.
Or you just proved that the candidate does not perform well in environments that are unrelated to actual job requirement. Really: "team technical interview"? Most programmer positions require an analytical mind which is unrelated to the quick-fire response situations most interviews (and especially team interviews) create.

It's all up to you (1)

zizzo (86200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549884)

It's a judgment call. You aren't obligated to say anything other than "Thank you for your time." If I'm busy or the person is hopelessly mismatched or defective, I won't say anything. If they seem like they could grow into someone who has a future I might say something like, "Perhaps you should spend a little time looking into that XML standard. I hear it's going to be big someday."

To put it another way, I treat them like I think I would like to be treated. If I know I flunked it and I know why, the interviewer doesn't need to tell me anything. If I'm mystified why I was passed over, some feedback would be nice.

It's tricky... (3, Insightful)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549886)

On the one hand you want to be a nice person and help others improve their weak spots.

On the other hand, a lot of the time you'd just be inviting the person to come back with, "Ah, great! So if I go learn more about XYZ, then I'm hired?" Maybe you can't really fully grok this until you've been on the hiring side for a while, but most often the lack of a particular skill or expertise is not the problem in and of itself. It's an indication of deeper problems, which are not usually easy (or even possible) to give people constructive feedback on without taking lots of time talking it over with them.

For example, if I'm interviewing an engineer who claims to have both Java and C++ experience, one of my typical initial easy questions is, "Tell me some of the differences between the Java and C++ object models." The ultimate point of that question is not to find out how much you know about the differences between Java and C++. If your answer goes no further than describing which keywords are used in which language, then chances are you aren't the type who likes to dig beneath the surface of the tools you use and think about why things work the way they do. And if you give me a really thorough answer without having to stop and think about it, it tells me you probably know what you're talking about, at which point I dispense with most of the other easy questions on my list.

The trouble is, if someone completely flubs that question (and I don't get the sense it's just due to nerves or whatever) then what am I supposed to tell them? "Sorry, come back when you're more inquisitive" doesn't exactly work as constructive criticism. And "Sorry, you don't know the difference between these object models" is even less useful because that was never the point of the question to begin with -- and what's more, it implies that if only they had skimmed that chapter of their "Java for C++ Programmers" book the night before, they'd be walking away with a job offer.

It sucks to be turned down for a job without knowing why. I have very smart friends to whom that happens over and over again and they find it intensely frustrating. But at the same time, the "why" is not always easy to describe, and is even less easy to describe in a way that doesn't come off rude or condescending and that doesn't give people false hope. And of course as an interviewer, you're trying to fill a job position, which probably means that every minute spent helping out a rejected candidate is one you're not spending reading the next resume in the stack on your desk.

At least, tell him that he didn't get the job. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17549900)

As someone who is currently looking for work (I'm a legacy IVR guy looking to be a cutting-edge IVR guy), I have found myself in quite a few positions where I didn't get the job. At least, I assume that I didn't get the job, because no one ever got back to me.

One of the most infuriating places to be is in limbo. I took time out of my day because I wanted to work for *your* company, and give you a huge chunk of my time so you can turn my work into cost savings. At bare minimum, you *owe* me a, "No, thanks." That way, every time my phone rings or my gmail alert chimes I, I'm not assuming that my key to the executive washroom is in the mail.

At some point in the future, I'm going to run for office. One of the salient items on my platform is that employers are required, by law, to let candidates know that they have not been selected. It's a courtesy that's not carried out enough, so I'll make it a law.

-AC

Reasons are nice... (4, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17549970)

I've been in the position of not getting a position several times, the form "sorry you have not been successful at this time" letter is one of the most annoying things in the world. I want to know why I wasn't successful. Did my interview technique suck? Did I lack confidence? Was I presenting a bad attitude? Was I plain under qualified for the role? Was I over qualified? OK that last one has probably never been a reason for me, but you get the idea. There are so many reasons why you might not get a job it would be nice if they'd narrow it down.

Knowing what's wrong helps you to address the problem. If you're aiming for roles that are above your ability you need to know, so you can aim lower. If you lack confidence - as I know I do; one employer did have the decency to tell me that was why they decided not to hire me, even though I got through the HR interview, tech interview and the second sift - it's moderatly annoying, but at least it means you know you're not unqualified for that kind of role, you just need to work on presenting a more confidence persona.

If the candidate refuses to accept the reason then it really should be their problem, not the company's. Unfortunatly giving someone a reason as to why you didn't hire them, especially those with a bad attitude, just gives them an excuse to blame you. But to be honest, they're probably going to try and blame you anyway.

It always kind of amused me that, if you apply for a civilian role at Essex Police, and you're registered disabled, you're guaranteed an interview and will also get a debrief on your interview if you're not succesful. Of course they're only doing it so that they can't be accused of descrimination. Which is exactly why other employers won't give you a reason.

Only one time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17550020)

I don't tell candidates why they weren't accepted because it doesn't serve me or the company any good to do so. But there was one instance where I felt SO BAD for the guy, I had to call him back and tell him what happened.

A guy applied as a developer. He had six or more years of developing experience. He started as a QA, went to junior developer, and then spent many years as a developer. I was impressed - at least on paper. After a phone interview, I decided he probably didn't fit the culture, but what really sank the deal was how much he asked for. He warned me he had just moved to the US and didn't know what the going rate was:

Me: How much are you expecting?
Him: 20.
Me: An hour?
Him: No, a year.
Me: *silence*
Him: Is that too much?
Me: No.

I was worried that he had put so little effort into looking up a reasonable salary range (takes 5 minutes on salary.com), but maybe he didn't know? After extensive interviewing we ended up hiring someone else. But a few days later, I couldn't shake that conversation so I called him up and let him know that he needs to be asking for a minimum of double, perhaps triple, what he requested of me.

I don't know if he understood why I called. He sounded annoyed I didn't call with a job offer, but he eventually followed up with an email thanking me for the advice.


True story.

I told an interviewer he was a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17550026)

I interviewed last year for a Java job in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a contractor working with the Air force. The guy was looking for aged Java technology. Struts 1.0, etc. During the interview I asked how he felt about JavaServer Faces, Struts 1.2, Struts 1.3, Shale, AJAX, and the direction Sun and others were going with Java web technology. The guy got very hostile with me...."if it ain't broke don't fix it" he said. From that moment on the guy treated me like I was some dirt bag who was too interested in newer technology. I could tell he must be having arguments with his personnel about newer directions, etc. He got so hostile with me I told him the job wasn't for me and he was a total dick.
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