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This always struck me as absurdly cautious behavior relative to the exposure. By this logic we basically shouldn’t do or say anything ever because it could get us sued.

It’s just some kind of wisdom passed down arbitrarily. If you have a remotely ethical candidate criteria feedback should be simple, and the goodwill you could get for doing it seems like it could far outpace the legal exposure issue.

 

I dunno, it also seems bad to say something like: "I don't have any negative feedback. We didn't hire you because we think someone else we interviewed was a better fit." (e.g. The team uses Angular, and the other candidate had Angular experience.) This might be the honest truth, but it has various unhealthy turns it can take.

I find interview feedback to be weird from the other side too. As a candidate, my experience is my experience. Maybe it's not what you are looking for right now, but that doesn't make it wrong or lacking. It might be exactly what another team is looking for. It is completely asinine to tell me to learn a skill for a particular job I wasn't offered.

It seems better just to not give feedback IMO.

 

The "Avoid Lawsuits" is the operative part of the title.

But, more generally, I think this comment focuses too much on the "Why we didn't hire you" part of interview feedback. Sure, no matter how well your interview goes, you can be matched against your anti-candidate who just does better than you in all areas and gets the job. "Someone else was better" is not helpful feedback, yet it is currently the norm if you get any response at all.

Consider if we, instead or in addition, created a norm of providing positive feedback about what parts of the interview went well. Not only would this go a long way towards making the interview process less soul-sucking, it would incentivise the interviewer to be on the look out for such positive cues.

It would also also go a long, long way towards creating a counternarrative against racial/sexual stereotypes, even if those are caught before sharing with the interviewee. That creeps on the hiring discrimination lawsuits that the companies fear (however remote that possibility is), but those problems can be caught. Instead, their solution is Don't Ask Don't Tell. Meanwhile, the biases remain obvious from the outside and the people who do discriminate face no penalty. If your company has illegal hiring criteria, the response should be to root it out, not defend against the possibility of it being noticed.

 

"Why we didn't hire you" is the elephant in the room. What I did well isn't as interesting since it didn't have the desired effect. (Or maybe it did, and after a while I realize it's a blessing I didn't get hired. I felt that way after one interview when they balked after I asked about work-life balance.)

In any case, I just find it weird to ask for meta feedback on the interview itself. Like the interviewer is also doubling as an interviewing coach.

 
Classic DEV Post from Feb 9

What do you have to Google? Every. Single. Time.

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Mike Overby is a software developer looking for work, a co-host of a technology podcast called whiletruefm, and a moderator of Programming Discussions (invite.progdisc.club). Follow me on Twitter!