Abuse of power? Make the individual feel lesser of an individual because of his knowledge base? Served no useful purpose?
These are some of the opinions about e-mail sent to the interviewee that I definitely don't agree with. While there is little doubt about the fact that it was neither tactful nor politically correct, it could have served a useful purpose : It said precisely what is the reason for refusing the candidate. I hate those answers that are polite and say nothing ("we found a better candidate") and I would prefer to receive an e-mail like this one. I would not feel "lesser of an individual" because of it, IMHO precisely these prefabricated politically correct answers are what can one make feel like a wheel in a machinery. This answer was personal, individually written, and for me it would be a proof of the fact that they really considered my performance and found it bad.
True, a few of the formulations used were more personal and more harsh than necessary, but nobody is perfect. People should be able to hear the true opinion of other about themselves and take it. They can disagree with it, they can think that the interviewer was wrong, but they can learn a lot from it - either that they don't know enough, or that they have problems explaining things they in fact know, or that this position was entirely different from what they are looking for... or even that they wouldn't like to work under such boss anyway. Much, much better than simple "access denied" error message you get so often
Thanks for sharing your experience!