How are people supposed to learn and improve without knowing told what they did wrong?
We used to give specific details for things (ie, price is going up because x). People INTENTIONALLY misunderstand, selectively pay attention, and argue endlessly.
Same thing with job interviews and hires. Imagine a potential hire for a client facing role with poor communication skills. If asked point blank about any areas of challenge in their application you might say this was a high pressure customer facing role and so communication skills, as described in job post, would be a big factor in the analysis. You might then be repeatedly followed up and both re-assured by them that they have excellent communication skills (with lots of bad grammar, spelling errors and terrible tone) and threatened for evaluating them on their skills in this area (which may overlap various protected classes).
People sometimes take the worst possible interpretation of any action and nitpick every explanation. Read hackernews for plenty of examples here.
In many cases, particularly if someone is not paying you - it's really not worth getting into it with folks who love to argue endlessly. They usually have FAR more time then you do, and if you have 20 people arguing with you an entire day can be lost dealing with them.
If you send an Email with some reasons, you're not required to spend hours defending your position. But giving some feedback is beneficial to the applicant and potentially also to yourself because you're forced to think about the reasons and keep a record which might also be useful.
You screen 100 resumes - you talk to 20 people. If you give quick feedback in the response for those 20, and do 5 positions in a year that's 100 quick pieces of feedback - I agree - would be totally useful.
Didn't have required license, communication skills weaker, not familiar with industry, not local to area etc etc. I could do these very quickly.
BUT it only takes ONE person tweeting and being offended by the response to cause huge problems even BEFORE you get to litigation risk and folks going back and forth on topics.
Imagine this - even job references in the US have gone to almost no content. "Giving a negative reference may expose the company to legal liability if the former employee does not get a desired job and decides to sue for defamation or slander. But providing a positive reference or failing to disclose potentially damaging information can leave the company open to legal liability (negligent referral) as well." - Result - again, just very little info is disclosed.
Sometimes folks have an axe to grind or lots of time on their hands (unemployed).
I used to work at a prominent venture capital firm where I started an initiative that required everyone on the investing team to respond to all inbound emails from founders, even if the reply was "Sorry, this isn't a fit for us." We tried for several months to respond with atleast 2-3 sentences about why we passed on companies if a founder ever asked. About 10% of founders said 'Thank you, that's useful' and moved on, another 10-15% straight up said "You're assholes" but moved on. The remaining majority were just incapable of understanding what we were trying to say since they were so sheerly blinded by their self-belief. Example, I remember emailing one founder of a poker game app back to say we didn't invest in gaming, only to receive an angry email saying poker isn't a game, it was a social activity. Thinking it would help, I replied saying 'Hey, thanks for the note. Really, our issue is that gaming apps and apps where the primary social activity is gaming, are very hits driven and we don't think we have the necessary experience ore desire to predict hits in this space.' He then proceeded to tell me why I did in fact have the skills required, even though literally no one on our team had consumer or gaming experience, and that I in fact also did have the desire to predict hits in this space - how could I not?_____"I was a VC after all"_____(direct quote)
A few months later, cold inbound emails that were passes went straight to archive...
Occasionally we would get questions back. There is a point at which you have to stop answering questions, though. We're not a tutoring service. At that point we'd just say something like, "We don't have any more detailed feedback other than what we've given you. Good luck on your job search" kind of response. We never got beligerent replies from candidates, but sometimes got them from recruiters.
The recruiters are the real problem because they will sometimes (some of them even often) demand "partial payment" for candidates that they thought were "good enough" but who we rejected. We had to write a few strongly worded "Our decision is final and we believe it is justified" letters to those recruiters. Saying that we won't accept any more candidates from the recruiters if they persist shut up most of them, but not all of them.
Eventually we gave up using recruiters anyway because they were essentially giving us random candidates. I think if you can find good recruiters and you can build up a good rapport with them, this kind of feedback is as useful to them as it is to the candidate. If you can't, then you are better off without them.
So, if anyone is wondering if it's worth doing, I would say that my experience is generally positive.
I think we’re at risk of building up the ultimate faceless and inhumane bureaucracy that works well in most cases but if you have bad luck then you have no way to clarify things unless you have a lot of money for lawyers or can raise a stink on social media.
Corporations are especially guilty of this, given how pathologically focused they are on shareholders. Often their cost-cutting verges on customer abuse: (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21513556, for an example I recently read about).
The worst example of this I experienced was a purchaser buying parts that were not to the spec of the design and caused problems in the field. No one in engineering or support was told of this and it was discovered by our support team in the field. Then engineering had to step in and and say no, only to have to economically justify the increase in cost to meet the spec.
We hurt our customers, our product and lost future revenue due to a tarnished reputation. It is difficult to be proud of what you do when something like this happens. It is also unnerving to know that this could even happen in the first place.
All of this is due to short sited economics. Negative externalities be damned. Could it be better if we could measure negative externalities in dollars and cents? How does one economically measure trust?
As a general principle, conveying true information does not incur liability. In the specific case of job interviews, as long as the feedback is true and not of a legally discriminatory nature, there are no grounds to sue, and such a case would be thrown out by summary judgement. Any employment lawyer would laugh someone out of their office who came to them with a "case" like this.
I'm inclined to think it's primarily for the reasons mentioned elsewhere: avoiding back and forth arguments. Frivolous lawsuits from _pro se_ plaintiffs might be a minor consideration, but, as I said, those are easy to get thrown out, provided you're telling the truth and the reason isn't related to any protected classes in employment.
That said, providing explanations also invites arguments and hard feelings if they don't agree with your reasons or just think you're unfairly favoring someone else.
There are probably obvious things like "crash and burned on a whiteboard problem path-finding" or "requested more than was allocated for the position" (would be nice if possible compensation ranges were required in the posting); but past the obvious disqualifications (which candidates should get feedback on) there's that 'fits with the (a) team' phase. Having an 'exit value', even if generic / approved by legal, would be helpful for everyone including internal company metrics that might drive a better posting if the job isn't fulfilled.
Google has no legal obligation to provide you with Drive services, though. I believe they specifically disclaim any obligation in the EULA you agree to.
Google in particular seems to have a broad and well-established policy of refusing to talk to individual users, whether for bans or simple support, outside of a few specific categories. Someone did the math and decided that the cost of maintaining a review process and a customer service department was greater than the cost of the bad press from accidentally screwing over a few customers.
A few days ago there was a thing where someone had their Google account deleted without warning or recourse--including their Gmail--because they spammed emotes in someone's YouTube stream.
That's intolerable. I need to look into a convenient way to maintain a live local backup of my Google accounts; I've trusted Google for years to keep my data safe, and it seems like I've been naive.
It really is amazing how much power they have. In 19th century terms, if you're an ass to people at the tavern they can raid your home and burn all your personal documents and correspondences.
I think the lesson is when you rely on hosted services, you’re denying yourself the final say on who has access to your stuff and giving that say to someone else. Make sure you trust that entity.
That doesn't mean that the EULA is actually legally binding.
Nations with tougher consumer protections may actually allow recourse when Google decides to break a contract without what would be considered "good reason" under those same protections.
When I was first starting out, I found a job posting that I really wanted, so I applied and interviewed. I felt the interview went pretty well, but I got a call back that I wasn't what they were looking for. It was a small company, and the head of IT called me back to give me the bad news.
I really wanted the job, so I asked why. He told me I was too junior of a developer, and didn't understand OOP well enough. Being young and cocky as I was, I straight up told him I disagreed (looking back nearly 15 years, he was totally right). I didn't recall talking about OOP, per se, in the interview, and I had nothing to lose at this point, so I pressed the matter. I doubt it was OOP specifically that concerned him, and that it was more of a proxy for my inexperience. Either way, somehow I managed to get him to ask me about OOP over the phone. We talked a little about the vague concepts, and I have no fucking idea what happened, but he changed his mind and offered me the job. It was a great job, and I quickly learned how inexperienced I really was, but I grew a lot.
What am I getting at... in forums, you still _want_ them to participate, and come back. It is the opposite in an interview, you have essentially ended the relationship. Offering feedback starts the conversation again, and gives punks like me a chance to drag it out, disagree, and waste your time. We are just as likely to disagree with your assessment, if not more so, than to take it to heart.
Thank god he gave me another chance, I loved that job
Surprisingly enough, one of the places I least expected to get useful feedback from wasn't some small informal start-up, but a fintech giant Citadel. I already had a feeling about my weaknesses that led to failing their onsite, but their rejection email (with the feedback) helped me way more than that. Not only they pointed out those specific things I knew about already, they also pointed out a few others that I missed (that were all true) and gave me actually something useful to work with. Just wanted to express my gratitude for that, because I definitely (at least partially) attribute my improvement in those areas to that email.
In the end, it worked out for everyone. I spent 11 years there, finally leaving after we sold the company, and still keep in touch with many of them.
Why would they do an unpleasant task they don't really need to do?
It doesn't mean that their current behavior actually reduce risk.
When a company says, “we need to be opaque and evasive because liability” I immediately now assume the company is up to no good.
To shove this back into the 'online community' context, there are certain people who have no interest in learning what they're doing wrong; or even who fully understand that what they're doing is wrong, and have no interest in improving.
Examples: spammers, trolls, and the willingly-obtuse-slash-rules-lawyers (who are slightly separate from trolls, but are similarly un-educatable).
However, it is important to consider how bad actors will abuse your system if given the chance, because on the internet there will always be some trolls trying to burn your house down.
A community is better served by making gentle and public re directions that all can learn from where possible.
Because sometimes you're not hired because the person interviewing you can't imagine spending eight hours a day sitting across from someone who laughs like you do. We have increasingly open offices and then pretend that jobs are won and lost based on depersonalized notions of merit, completely without reference to the individuals who have the merit. Since we have to keep up the pretense of professionalism in the workplace, and can't, for example, walk over to someone and say that, while laughing is perfectly laudable, your specific laugh reaches into my skull and attempts to pith me by slow degrees, it's better to head those things off early.
Some of the biggest surprises and worst hires I've seen is people who are extremely slick in interviews. My mother has similar stories from working for a major financial institution for 35 years. She had consistently told me growing up over the years that half the time the best educated folks were all super slick in interviews and stellar on paper and then lazy as hell on the job.
The actually-good end up having to do precisely the covering-up you mention, because genuine and entirely fine attitudes and behaviors are, in interviewers' imaginations, often magnified to their worst possible extremes. It's very valuable information for a good employee to have that they need to cover up or avoid certain things in interviews that aren't actually a problem, because they do need to do that, and they may not realize how things that they think aren't a big deal and in fact are not are coming across in an interview context.
I write this as someone who is, I gather from feedback, pretty decent at that part of interviewing. Doesn't make it less gross-feeling and stressful.
Google's detection system is weak. Really everyone's is. So they use arbitrary ways to detect you have done something wrong. Sometimes it is a false positive. Sometimes they didn't think it through.
Like the guy who visited Iran and used his online account there only to get locked out because of being identified as belonging to a country on the export control list.
No point in giving that kind of feedback.
There is nothing new in this.