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I met someone recently who I originally thought was pleasant, smart and ambitious -- I still somewhat think that of her.

The problem is now I realize she is pushing me to give her all of my recent contacts, interview information, company details, etc.

Given my current, unexpected difficulties in my own job search, I don't feel I could afford to help her that much at the moment.

She's very thankful for my time and all of my insights and the contacts I've already given her, but the problem is that now she is asking for even more -- even my current interviews that are in-progress, and I feel somewhat overwhelmed and even a little alarmed, to be honest. I only just met this person, and my gut feeling is that she will drop me as soon as she has gotten what she wants from me.

How can I tactfully navigate this situation professionally, to help her while also providing a little pushback and saying that I can't just give her all of my current in-progress interview details?

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    I'm not really sure this has anything to do with the workplace. This person wants to know about workplace topic, but this may be a better fit on the interpersonal communication SE – SaggingRufus Oct 23 '18 at 15:48
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    @SaggingRufus We have so many questions about how to phrase something tactfully or professionally. While this question may be suitable for IPS as well, it is still most definitely on topic here. – David K Oct 23 '18 at 16:38
  • @JoeStrazzere possibly a romantic interest – Jalapeno Nachos Oct 23 '18 at 19:41
  • @JoeStrazzere though I can't tell what she wants; I am however alarmed by her digging so deeply at my in-progress work in my job search ... I literally cannot afford to miss an opportunity or give one away right now ... but at the same time, she's very thankful and whatnot, and I want to help, however I can. – Jalapeno Nachos Oct 23 '18 at 19:42
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I only just met this person, and my gut feeling is that she will drop me as soon as she has gotten what she wants from me.

I think your gut has it right here.. she's asking for information about your currently in-progress applications? Wow.. that's like she's not even trying to hide it.

If you still think there might be a connection that's worth preserving you could fob her off with something like

Sorry but I'm not able to discuss my current applications, confidentiality you understand. I'll be happy to fill you in once the process has concluded.

But I must admit personally I'd be dropping this person faster than a very fast thing.

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How can I tactfully navigate this situation professionally, to help her while also providing a little pushback and saying that I can't just give her all of my current in-progress interview details?

Something like "Sorry. I'm not comfortable giving out that sort of information." should work.

Since you consider her a "possible romantic interest", you want to find out sooner than later if she is only interested in your for your professional contacts, or is actually interested in you. This should help determine that one way or the other.

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Two knee-jerk responses...

  1. Sorry but my network and interviewing history is not public information.
  2. Is there an offer on the table? {and then don't say anything}

Is this person a company recruiter or an independent recruiter? If independant they may also be trying to determine how desperate you are and therefore how low a rate your can work for, and to get whatever dirt/info they can on who else is hiring. Either way it is totally not in your best interests to give up this information, especially if this person is less-than-credible as they may try to call THOSE hiring managers and say something like 'So... I hear you're hiring for x position and talking to y. I can present you with another guy for 20% less than what y will charge!'

I agree with motosubatsu's comment (+1) that personally I'd probably drop this person.

  • Hi Jim, this person is actually a new friend, not a recruiter, but your answer is really insightful nonetheless. Thanks! – Jalapeno Nachos Oct 23 '18 at 18:15
  • Ok. You'll probably want to describe what kind of new friend this is for us to give a more direct answer. In the industry and also looking for a job? In the industry for a long time, and would probably know these companies if not the hiring managers and recruiters? Not in the industry? Babe in a bar? Some absolute stranger? Our answers can wildly differ based on this info. – Jim Horn Oct 24 '18 at 14:59
  • A stranger from a coffee shop – Jalapeno Nachos Oct 24 '18 at 16:27
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    Hmm. Not enough information, as only you can determine if this person just wanted to 'chat you up' and be social or if they had some kind of other ulterior motive for knowing. Maybe he/she was also looking and was desperate enough to learn anything they could off of you. Lots of job interviews happen in coffee shops. Either way .. good luck. – Jim Horn Oct 24 '18 at 17:02
  • Coffees have now progressed to dinners and lots and lots of emails from her. But yes, I don't know her motives, she is job searching frantically though. Romance? I'm not sure, tbh. – Jalapeno Nachos Oct 24 '18 at 17:24
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Be blunt, ask her "are you going to apply for this job?"

How she answers might give you more insight as to the question, and will certainly give her insight as to your concerns in giving so much information.

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