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Hesitation in recommending a friend for a job

(15 Posts)
Earlybird Mon 24-Aug-09 11:14:24

Over the past 2 years, I have become reasonably friendly with the Mum of a girl in dd's school class. We don't confide our deepest thoughts/feelings on things, but we do commiserate about our children, their school/teachers, etc. The girls have playdates and sleepovers regularly, so I see this family outside of school fairly frequently.

I like the Mum, though hold back a bit with her because she can be quite competitive and a bit gossip-y (not sure that is a word). But, she is kind, clever, thorough, dependable, and hard working.

This mum freelances, but has wanted a permanent position for quite a while. There is a position coming up at a large firm I know very well. My company is also a client of the firm, and the open position is working for a woman I work very closely with.

My friend tells me there are 16 semi-finalists for the position, and she is one of them (over 200 applicants). I know a word and/or recommendation from me would tip the scales heavily in her favour, and could possibly secure the job for her (she is qualified for the job, btw).

The issue? I am not sure I want to 'blur' the lines between my work life and my personal life. If she secures the job, my friend will suddenly know alot more about me, my work, how I do my job, work relationships, etc. I hesitate about her having access to that information due to aforementioned pushiness and gossip tendencies (though I cannot say she is professionally indiscreet). I am also quite a private person.

I feel torn about not stepping up to support her, but also have real hesitation.

WWYD? And aibu?

Tinfoil Mon 24-Aug-09 11:22:24

YANBU. It wouldn't really be fair to all the other applicants to have a private word and "tip the scales heavily in her favour".

stealthsquiggle Mon 24-Aug-09 11:26:21

Tricky. Has she mentioned the connection to the hiring manager? IIWY, if the hiring manager asked me I would say something positive but I wouldn't initiate it IYSWIM.

I think you have to trust to her ability to separate work and home lives - until proven otherwise - although I do know exactly where you are coming from.

OhBling Mon 24-Aug-09 11:26:33

I think this is the difference between men and women. A man wouldn't think twice - he would do this person the favour and then let it go, knowing that a) she is now in his debt and that b) her performance or behaviour in this role is not his problem or his issue.

Ultimately, you're judging this women and deciding she's not right for it or that you don't want her in your space - that's fine and asbolutely within your rights. But I think it's a bit sad and for me demonstrates how women don't really help each other.

londonartemis Mon 24-Aug-09 11:26:42

Are you her referee? Has she asked you to put a word in for her?
My gut feeling is just to wish her luck and let her application run its course. It's fairer all round. Let those who have to make the decision to hire get on with it themselves!

dilemma456 Mon 24-Aug-09 11:27:00

Message withdrawn

liahgen Mon 24-Aug-09 11:28:19

tbh, if she has got this far without your help then she might not need it at this point. (maybe she wouldn't want you to put a word in either, has she actually asked you to? )

kitbit Mon 24-Aug-09 11:38:20

As you have said she is qualified for the job, then in my opinion your involvement wouldn't "unfairly" tip the balance. However the best you can do, I think, is to offer to put forward a personal reference and leave the rest to chance and her abilities. Personal references are worth more these days because every other reference can only say "yes they worked here" and no more, because apparently reference-givers can be sued if their reference fails to secure a job. Bonkers, and very sad, as it renders references pointless. However this is why a personal reference offer would be valuable, if you think you can give one.

Earlybird Mon 24-Aug-09 11:57:59

Interesting feedback, and tbh it hadn't even occured to me that a word could be unfair to other applicants for the job.

She has not asked me to put in a word, but does speak about the process every time I see her, so I feel she is implying she would like my help. She has been saying for a long time that she needs/wants more stability than freelancing offers, and has just recently begun looking for a permanent position.

I do not know if she has mentioned me when applying or being interviewed, and has not asked if she can list me as a referee (that would be odd anyway, as we have never worked together and I know her only socially). I am in daily phone and/or email contact with the woman who would be her boss, and it has not been mentioned that they are looking to hire in the department (not something we would typically talk about though).

The especially tricky factor about this is we do help each other out relating to school life and our dds. I will have her dd (and vice versa) if schedules/conflicts require it, we pick up papers/packets for each other at school, she recently signed me up for something at school (at my request), when I was out of the country, etc. There is a history of helping each other as it relates to school life and our dds.

Finally, as Mums we are 'equals'. But, things would be quite different (and more complicated) if our professional paths crossed, as she is applying for a fairly junior position.

msrisotto Mon 24-Aug-09 12:02:29

Give her a hand! Why not!

FimbleHobbs Mon 24-Aug-09 12:12:56

**Not for the Daily Mail**

It can get so messy and you are right to be cautious.

It seems like you have two issues:
1. Should you recommend her
2. What happens to your friendship if she gets the job

re. 1, I would have said that you have no grounds to mention her really to your contact - if your contact said 'x has applied for a job - do you know her?' then fine (except not fine as that should be confidential, but fine in that you're doing nothing wrong). But as it is, you haven't ever worked with her so you can't really vouch for her professionally anyway.

re. 2, I have given freelance work to a friend (only when I could demonstrate that I have done so fairly and got other quotes etc etc, and always involved my boss so that I can't get accused of anything dodgy.) However, the friend's work is often late and/or contains mistakes and that is hard to tackle. I'm not as assertive with them as I would be with any other supplier. Outside of work, I tend to just pretend that we have no work relationship at all, and never mention it. Within work, I don't do personal chat in any work emails. I might send another straight after with chat/social arrangements, but they are always seperate emails.

Good luck - I hope it turns out well.

lisasimpson Mon 24-Aug-09 12:13:23

How would you feel if the postions were reversed - and you knew/suspected she could help you get a foot in the door? getting a job of any sort is hard at the moment and I would like to think someone who knew me and my capabilities could put a good word in..
They don't have to take your advice after all and you don't have to say she is better than the others.

Goblinchild Mon 24-Aug-09 12:17:41

FimbleHobbs is right, you don't have any knowledge or evidence of how good she is at her job. So how can you recommend her?
If they ask about her as a person, then your input would be valid.

lisasimpson Mon 24-Aug-09 12:20:29

Bloody hell I just re-read your second post - sixteen people shortlisted for a junior position! she will have to be something special to stand out in that lot. That's just for this job, there will be plenty more wasted hours on applicatons not even responded to if this one doesn't work out

AvengingGerbil Mon 24-Aug-09 12:23:20

Regardless of whether or not you intervene in the hiring process, she may still get the job.

People you meet sometimes turn into/out to be people you are in professional contact with. Get over it.

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