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A friend of mine recently interviewed at my workplace, and was shown around town ( we don't currently live in the same city) by myself and a few co-workers. After a week of not hearing any news from her whether she was hired or not, I decided to privately ask my manager, who conducted part of her interview, what her status was. He said that it was unlikely that she would be hired, and gave me the reason, which I won't share publicly. Another week later, and my friend got back to me saying that she got the official "thanks but no thanks" letter.

My question: should I tell my friend the reason why she was not hired, in order to help her with any future interviews that she will have?

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Will knowing the reason help my friend improve herself for future applications/interviews? -> Yes -> Will the reason portray my company negatively and/or get my company sued? -> No -> Then tell her. Any other case, keep it to yourself. (Example cases: My friend wasn't hired for reasons related to discrimination -> I wouldn't tell her, and I'd question myself working for such a workplace. My friend wasn't hired because she lacks skills in area B, C, and D. -> I'd tell her so she can work on those areas) –  Adnan Mar 22 at 14:18
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Since you were not involved in the decision, you don't actually know the real reason(s), only what you were told was the reason. Keep that in mind too, especially if harm could be caused to anyone by disclosing it. –  Spehro Pefhany Mar 23 at 22:13

9 Answers 9

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Be careful if you decide to tell you friend the reason. There are many legal requirements around hiring and almost every company I know of will not give you a reason for risk of being sued. If the company gets sued you will likely be terminated. Consider your risks first.

Since you say you cannot share the reason publicly you likely do not want to share it with your friend and do not want to communicate it to your friend in a medium that creates a record.

This should not prevent you from helping your friend for future interviews. It certainly can be done tactfully.

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My question: should I tell my friend the reason why she was not hired, in order to help her with any future interviews that she will have?

It's rather sketchy that your manager shared the reasons for not hiring your friend with you. For me, that's a very questionable practice. Unless your friend explicitly indicated that this sort of information could be shared with you, it feels inappropriate.

It seems like it would compound the problem even more for you to then pass on this information to your friend.

Why didn't your manager convey the reasons to your friend? If he wasn't willing to do that, why would you think it is okay for you to do so? Would you feel comfortable asking his permission to pass along the reasons for her not getting hired? If not, why would you think it's okay to tell her?

Give her job searching advice. Give her career advice. But don't relay the specifics of this job.

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It really, really depends on a number of issues:

  • How close you are to this person (including how well they can keep a secret, particularly one which is hurtful to them)
  • The nature of the reason they did not get the job (not experienced enough? OK. "We didn't feel that a woman would be okay for the job?" Not unless you are about to leave the job yourself (frankly I wouldn't blame you) and wanted to give your friend ammunition for a lawsuit)
  • How otherwise possible it might be for the fact that you told them to come back to you (in this case, you have other friends at this place, it sounds like, and I'm not sure you can even trust a close friend to not commiserate with her buddies)
  • How constructive to future job offers the answer might be (if she misspoke in the interview or did something that can be coached, that's one thing. If the reasoning speaks to a deep character flaw which your friend is never going to be able to change, what's the benefit in telling them?)

I don't think this is an easy decision to make in any case but there are at least some criteria you can use to help decide.

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I would say no, do not tell your friend why she was not hired unless your manager approves of you doing so. Separate the confidential company information from helping your friend.

You could ask your manager what, if anything, you could share. You may be pleased...or not.

If you still feel that you have constructive knowledge that can help her in the future, then try to find the best way to communicate suggestions to her without breaking your company confidentiality.

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If you think you can spin it in a way that might help your friend get a job next time, then it's probably Ok. For example, if the reason was poor interview skills, you could try to offer constructive tips that could help in the future.

If the reason is something that will only anger them to hear it because there's nothing they can do, then don't tell them since it won't help.

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Back when I was last looking for a job, it was perfectly acceptable for a rejected candidate to contact the lead interviewer or hiring manager and ask them for feedback on why they were unsuccessful. Not all replied of course, for various reasons, but I'd have no qualms about doing it still, and that's what I'd recommend to a friend in your situation as a first course of action.

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You could make a general statement like "In my experience, some people don't get hired because ..." and state the specific reason why she was not hired without implicating either you or your firm. If she starts to dig, simply tell her "I am making a general statement, that's it" If the reason is interesting such as she is short on an objective not subjective qualification that she would have to meet on other interviews, then it's worth it to say something to her.

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Yes though be sure that you ask her if she wants the help. Not everyone will be open to feedback and so it can be useful to ask about this first. If she believes she'll find the right job at the right time and doesn't want to hear things, then it may be better to keep it to yourself.

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No don't, tell your friend the truth.

You can say something like, "You did Very well, but there's too much completion out there and the company is fussy, personally id hire you on the spot"

That way you keep things simple, boost your friends confidence, and if their is anything else you can help your friend to improve her chances of a getting a job, somewhere else, now at least you got some pointers from your manager you can use.

No one wants to hear bad news, and your friend got some already, so why give her more.

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Saying nothing is better than saying something that isn't true. –  alroc Mar 22 at 11:35

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