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RedPowerLady's avatar

How Ethical Is This? This question is about helping a friend get a job.

Asked by RedPowerLady (12598points) April 24th, 2009

A friend of mine is applying for a job where I now work. I was hired about two weeks ago. My boss told me that if I know anyone looking for a job to let them know but to my surprise my friend had already applied. So my boss doesn’t know we are friends because I didn’t get a chance to tell her to use me as a reference. Anyhow she got an interview!!

So I let her know a little about what they expect for the job. For example they place importance on experience organizing events. I also let her know that my boss values appropriate interview attire. I did not tell her any specific interview questions although I probably could have because I was only interviewed a few weeks ago.

I think it is a nice thing to do for my friend but at the same time it seems unfair for others. However I do think that the other people could come up with the same information themselves by reading the job description.


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22 Answers

seekingwolf's avatar

You’re fine.

There’s nothing wrong with advising your friend. Getting an “edge” when it comes to getting a job is something that many people want! That’s why they want to get referrals and know people within the company, etc. etc. There’s nothing unfair about it. It’s your boss’s job to employ fairly but how your friend or others applying learns the “ups and downs” and “tips” is totally up to them. It’s called “having connections” and I have no idea how that would be considered “unfair”. Why should people be punished for simply being resourceful with people skills and learning more about the job? I think that’s beneficial!

I myself have used my parent’s and friend’s connections to get into different opportunities and work. I see nothing unethical about utilizing the good help I have to better myself.

chyna's avatar

If you feel your friend would be an asset to the company, then why not give your friend a “heads up”?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Yeah, I see absolutely nothing wrong with it as long as you believe that your friend is qualified for the job. No worries. :)

tigran's avatar

You’re thinking way too much into it!!! If you can do a nice thing then just do it.

fireside's avatar

If you feel awkward about the boss finding out that the two of you are friends, you could always say something to him before or after the interview like, “So-and-so just told me they were interviewing here. What a small world.”

Otherwise, I don’t think it’s like a test where you can get caught cheating.

chyna's avatar

@redpowerlady Although same said friend must be told that you would laugh at them if they ordered lunch and their styrofome lid said fuck you. :)

TaoSan's avatar

perfectly alright thing to do…

LessNoise's avatar

What about saying to the boss that you know your friend X is applying and that you’d be happy to give her an excellent recommendation? Your boss already thinks well enough of you to express interest in having your friends apply. Why not even just tell your boss what you told us? The boss’s interest in hiring is to find the best candidate for the position, and that is the opposite goal to seeing all candidates as undifferentiated equals.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Getting jobs is all about who you know. It’s not nepotism.

Judi's avatar

Networking! That’s a good thing and you have nothing to feel guilty about!

creativejuices's avatar

sound like your are doing a good thing for a friend. I have been in the same position a few times before and have done the same thing… although I did tell the what type of questions they were asking. I just think you friend is doing their homework by tapping a resource who is so knowledgeable of the situation. Good looking out!

Jeruba's avatar

I have referred a number of people in to the place where I work. I was quite open about telling them what things were considered important and what skills were valued—and right along with that, I said, “I know you have those capabilities, and that’s why I am so confident in referring you.”

I have also interviewed people who were friends of co-workers, and because such referrals are common there, I never had any problem with them, except the time that someone referred her former boss in to a position under her. I went to her and asked her my questions about the role reversal, and her answers satisfied me.

Sometimes these friends get hired and sometimes they don’t. It is always on their merits. Even if you know all the questions beforehand, I don’t think you can really fake good answers. You couldn’t for my questions!

If your friend gets the job, it is going to come out anyway that you were friends, even if you didn’t refer her. So I would think being open about it beforehand would be the best and wisest course. That way no eyebrow will be raised later when your boss finds out you’ve known each other a long time. Don’t you think she’ll say “Why didn’t you tell me?”

RedPowerLady's avatar

@fireside Ya if it comes up or if there is an appropriate moment I’ll definitely say something.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@chyna shhh… they must not know… haha

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jeruba Oh I’m not trying to hide that I know her, I just found out today about the interview so if it comes up or there is an appropriate moment I would certainly tell my boss we are friends.

asmonet's avatar

I kind of thought everyone shared interview tips, my friend mentioned that my interviewer was an avid horse breeder and rider, I brought up that I had worked on a stable in my teens and how it taught me the value of hard work and cooperating with others as a team to maintain the animals health and whatnot. Without that tidbit I don’t know how I would have managed to stand out – I’d have to find some other way but it was an easy in, and with interview questions I consider it to be almost the same thing.

But remember, people don’t interview like machines. They may not ask the same questions over and over to every candidate, your friend may be asked different questions than you.

All the questions I’ve ever been given ahead of time have been useless save for one. I think the benefit isn’t as much in the question itself but that it gives insight to the type of interviewer they plan to meet.

Go ahead and give her the run down, it’s not her fault she’s got an employee on her side.

YARNLADY's avatar

The only time this would be a problem would be if you knew a reason she wouldn’t be a good fit, and didn’t say something. Since you would recommend her, then do so with a clear conscience.

ubersiren's avatar

Nah… a lot of the world is run on “who you know.” And lucky for your friend, she knows you! Doesn’t seem like you’re cheating for her- it’s mostly common sense anyway. :)

jo_with_no_space's avatar

A lot of people find jobs that way. I don’t think you’ve done anything to feel bad about.

filmfann's avatar

You have done nothing wrong. I hope your friend gets the job!
Also, it wouldn’t do any harm to tell your boss you know this person. If he is asking you about friends, he is happy with you, and looking for someone with similar attitudes. You are giving your friend an advantage, but you earned it!

mamabeverley's avatar

In this market, any help is a bonus. You did nothing wrong by helping. There are people that get paid to do more than what you did!

SarasWhimsy's avatar

I think what you did for your friend is marvelous! Really all you did was coach someone on what to do for an interview. If the person saw an ad for the position, organizing events was probably mentioned. And in this day and age anyone who does not know how to dress for an interview NEEDS coaching.

They only way you would’ve crossed the line is if you gave inside information and told her how to answer specific questions.

As an HR person, I say BRAVO!

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