#Working Wisdom

HR Responds to Employee's Request for Coffee Fees from Applicant

Syafiqah Razani
by Syafiqah Razani
May 23, 2023 at 10:39 AM

In a recent incident that has gained widespread attention, a job seeker in Singapore found himself in an unexpected situation after declining a job offer. The interviewer from a marketing company contacted him and requested repayment of SGD6.50 or RM22 for the coffee he had during the interview. The job applicant, Sriram Suresh, took to Facebook to share his experience and the conversation screenshots, which quickly went viral. This incident has sparked discussions about fair recruitment practices and professionalism in the hiring process.

Sriram expressed his surprise in his Facebook post, mentioning that he had never encountered such a situation. He revealed that the company had taken him to a coffee shop during the interview. However, after he declined the job offer, the interviewer asked him to reimburse the cost of the coffee. Sriram found the request unprofessional and highlighted the importance of transparency during the hiring process.

In response to the request, Sriram straightforwardly expressed his disbelief. He mentioned that in his previous interview experiences, no one had ever asked him to pay for a cup of coffee. He stated that he would have paid on the spot if he had known about this requirement. Sriram concluded by thanking the interviewer for the opportunity but emphasized that the incident left a negative impression.


Company Responds Quickly to Coffee Reimbursement Issue

Following the Facebook post's viral spread, a manager from the company reached out to Sriram to apologize for the entire ordeal. The interviewer also refunded the money, and the manager assured Sriram they would address the matter professionally. Sriram believes this incident may have been an honest mistake, not a standard company practice.

This incident has raised important questions about fair recruitment practices and professionalism. Job seekers should know their rights and what to expect during the hiring process. Transparency, open communication, and respect for candidates are crucial for maintaining a positive candidate experience. Employers should ensure their recruitment procedures align with ethical standards and treat candidates fairly and reasonably.


Suggestions for employers to enhance hiring experience

  • Be transparent in your communication and outline any candidate expenses clearly.
  • Review and align hiring procedures with ethical standards.
  • Provide training to interviewers on professionalism and respectful conduct.
  • Emphasize company values of transparency, fairness, and respect.
  • Handle mistakes professionally by acknowledging them and offering solutions.
  • Seek feedback from candidates to improve the hiring process.
  • Foster a positive candidate experience to enhance your employer's reputation. Treating candidates fairly and respectfully contribute to a more robust talent pool and employer brand.

A job seeker being asked to repay for coffee after rejecting a job offer has sparked significant attention on social media. Sriram Suresh's Facebook post highlighted this unusual situation and the need for ethical recruitment practices. The subsequent apology from the company's manager and the refund of the coffee expense indicates a resolution. This incident serves as a reminder for employers and job seekers to prioritize professionalism and transparency in the hiring process for a better candidate experience.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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3. Why HR must do interview feedback after rejection?