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Two years ago, while I was working with my previous company, I happened to stay with a person in a shared apartment. Whilst staying with him, there were a lot of personal conflicts.

  • He was not transparent in money matters. He didn't talk terms clearly at the beginning and accepted all the terms, however at the end he raised different points and concerns and argued.
  • When it came to helping or to sharing responsibility, he escaped or he only concentrated on things that mattered to him and abandoned other things which didn't impact him, arguing if we asked any questions.
  • He didn't respect personal privacy and personal weaknesses and tried to take advantage of others' weaknesses for his benefit.

Now I have changed my organization and am working as a senior developer. He is planning to quit his company, and has asked a favor of me, to refer him to some of the job openings in my current organization. I don't know much about him professionally, as I am not working with him.

Is it good idea to refer him to my company's job opening that suits his profile?

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Never refer anyone whose work you don't know or whose work is not very good to excellent. THe referral will reflect on you. – HLGEM Apr 14 '14 at 18:34
Do you feel that having an argumentative, disrespectful and Machiavellian employee will enable your company to better meet its goals, or make it harder for them to meet their goals? It's a serious question; perhaps your organization needs someone with those attributes. – Eric Lippert Apr 14 '14 at 22:27
Careful with that reference thing. I got burned for having hired someone on the basis of a former employee's referral - She later admitted that she didn't know a thing about him other than he was an acquaintance. In turn, I burned a former employer of mine when I referred a fellow grad student without suspecting that he was a total incompetent and a jerk to his employer, too. The problem with me giving references that turn out bad is that I pay a price in terms of relationships damaged and credibility lost. Don't do this to yourself. And don't feel guilty about it: he is trying to use you. – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 15 '14 at 2:31
Why would you refer him for anything, unless you owe him or feel guilty for something, or he's manipulating you? Let alone to your current place, where a) sounds like he won't be reliable or honest and b) then you'll be blamed. In fact why do you still even talk to him? It all sounds nuts to me. – smci Apr 15 '14 at 5:03
If you don't like somebody then refer them. You shouldn't refer people you dislike. – Ramhound Apr 15 '14 at 12:15

I don't know much about him professionally as I am not working with him. Hence my question is Is it good idea to refer him to current job openings those suits to his profile?

No, it's not a good idea.

You cannot really serve as a professional reference, since you haven't worked with him.

You cannot serve as a positive personal reference, since you had conflicts with him personally.

It doesn't sound like you would want to work with this person.

Since you cannot give him a good reference, you should try to avoid giving any reference at all.

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Plus why would you want to potentially work with this person? – HLGEM Apr 14 '14 at 19:03
If this person asks how it went, the safe option is to say simply "your CV/résumé will be reviewed and someone will get back to you if you are suitable". This is completely true, no need to mention you were the reviewer, though... – yochannah Apr 14 '14 at 19:50
And if you are worried about damaging your relationship with this person (though it sounds like that's not the case here) you can always point them to your company's careers page without actually giving them a reference. – David K Apr 14 '14 at 20:12
@dukeling yep, absolutely must be careful to avoid lying if at all possible. – yochannah Apr 14 '14 at 20:30
"Worse yet, they may volunteer your name some time during the process". Indeed, you can't actually stop someone giving your name as a reference. Especially if they are sneaky and manipulative and think this will put you in a position where you'll say whatever you can that's nice about them. So what you can do is tell them that you can't provide a reference because you've never worked with them, and then if they give your name anyway tell your employer the same thing. At least, one hopes the employer would bother to follow up on internal references. They might not. – Steve Jessop Apr 15 '14 at 9:10

•He was not transparent in money matters. He didn't talk terms clearly at the beginning and accepted all the terms, however at the end he raised different points and concerns and argued.

He will not be transparent when it comes to any projects. He will mislead his team members

•When I came to helping or to sharing responsibility, he escaped or he only concentrated on things that matter to him and abandoned other things which didn't impact him, arguing if we asked any question.

He won't go the extra mile to help the team or organization

•He doesn't respect personal privacy and personal weaknesses and tries to take advantage of others' weaknesses for his benefit.

He will make it uncomfortable for others to work around him.

He may be qualified, but his personality will ruin things for everyone, and make you look bad for referring him.

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More to the point, OP seems to have no idea whether or not the roommate is qualified. – bdesham Apr 14 '14 at 22:34
@bdesham even if the roommate is most qualified, its the personality traits that the ruin the team and ruin his reputation. Things on paper are not enough. These experiences the OP had with the roommate were red flags for things to come... – Glowie Apr 14 '14 at 22:39
Sure. My point was that—without even considering the roommate’s personality—the OP is not in a position to recommend the roommate for a position. – bdesham Apr 14 '14 at 22:43
@bdesham now I understand – Glowie Apr 14 '14 at 22:44


First, put simply, the way it is written in your question, your ex-roommate seems to be trying to get advantage again from where he had tried it many times previously. You allow it this one time and then it will be very hard to put a stop to it once he's on the same ship with you.

Second, you are now one of the people responsible for success of your company (as are all other employees and managers, you see), and in this position, you need to make decisions that are in best interest of you and your company (if you are lucky enough these two sets have a considerable mutual subset). And you don't want somebody whose interests you know to often pose clear contradiction to the interest of his social group.

Third, professionals like, say, Jeff Atwood, the co-founder of this very site never forget to emphasize that it's all about the personality of every single developer, regardless of type of project or product.

Fourth, a real-life example. The company I work for has several hundred employees yet still retains its flexible and open internal culture from the start-up times thirty years ago. When looking for new colleagues, personal recommendations and invitations from within the company are always sought for. I suspect that the main idea behind this is the best thing to do to keep this sort of people as far away from the company as possible.

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Would you be his roommate (deskmate) again?

Regarding the question, the answer to my question is no, which is the answer I'd give in this situation You don't know your former flatmate professionally, so you can't say anything about it. Since you would not live with him again, referring him could lead you to sharing an office. Is that really what you want? If so you could refer him but again, but the answer, based on what you've said, seems to be no.

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This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. – Michael Grubey Apr 15 '14 at 15:50
Regarding the question, the answer to my question is no, which is the answer I'd give... Ramya doesn't know his former flatmate professionaly so he can't say anything about it, and he would NOT live with him again... Refering him could lead them to sharing an office; is that what Ramya wants? If so he could refer him but again, the answer seems to be NO. Sorry for the undertext! – Aname Apr 15 '14 at 16:14
Hey Aname, to avoid leaving people guessing, I beefed up your answer by adding in your comment. The explanation brings it more in line with our answer guidelines in the help center. Please feel free to edit and put in your own words if needed. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Apr 16 '14 at 0:57

I had a similar experience. I had a bad experience about my roommate. During our stay together (we did not work together), I observed that he was cunning, shying away from responsibility, very dis-organized and selfish. He asked me to refer him for a job in my company.

Initially I thought it may be my bias towards him, but later I learnt from our common friends (who worked with him) that he behaved similarly in his workplace as well.

Few things I learnt were:

  1. Personal behavior matters a lot. You cannot be a different person in your personal and professional lives.
  2. If you do not find someone compatible outside work, it is more likely you won't be compatible in workplace.
  3. Referring someone in your company is not just a trivial act, but it carries a lot of responsibility.

So, IMHO, if you do not like him, do not refer him. Period.

It will create more problems for you. Imagine in future he joining your project team and doing all those things at workplace!

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