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One of my friends recently called me up asking to refer his wife for a open position in the organization where I work. Being in a small office, I am really careful about whom do I refer. The reason I am not willing to refer is that I don't know her personally and haven't seen her work as well.

I have told the same thing to my friend but I still wish to help his wife to possible extents.

In this context, what is the right way to share the profile with HR but at the same time making it clear that this is not a referral? Is it appropriate to mention that straight away or to hint towards it somehow?

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    are there currently openings in your organization? – DarkCygnus Sep 24 at 18:53
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In this context, what is the right way to share the profile with HR but at the same time making it clear that this is not a referral? Is it appropriate to mention that straight away or to hint towards it somehow?

In the past, I've forwarded the resume to HR as a candidate without referral.

I usually include verbiage something like this:

"I'm attaching a resume that may be of interest while filling the position for X. I don't know this person personally or professionally and so cannot vouch for her abilities, she is just the wife of a friend."

That gets her resume into the pipeline, but makes it clear that you are not referring her.

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    +1 Have done it exactly this way multiple times without issues, and have even been thanked by HR for helping them find candidates this way. – Bilkokuya Sep 24 at 19:44
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    Exactly this - I always say there is a difference between a referral and a recommendation. – David K Sep 25 at 15:44
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In this context, what is the right way to share the profile with HR but at the same time making it clear that this is not a referral? Is it appropriate to mention that straight away or to hint towards it somehow?

In this context (you don't want to refer her) I would not forward her profile to HR at all.

Doing that is in fact a form of referral and if you say you don't want to refer her then you are contradicting yourself.

Kindly suggest your friend that his wife applies directly to the organization instead, and that she is the one to send her resume.

This will give a better impression to HR and will allow them to judge and interview her by her own means, instead of you saying "Here is the CV of a friend's wife, I don't know her nor have worked with her, just passing the profile in case you need it". Doing that, even if phrased differently, could harm her chances of working in your organization.

If she eventually lands a job there, then you can help her by being supportive, bringing her up-to-speed with your company culture and ways, etc..

Side note: If you want, this reminded me of the first question I wrote here: Handling unusual email from possible recruit

  • Even with the "I have never worked with her", that is still a association between the OP and his friend, so this is the correct way to avoid any possible problem. – espindolaa Sep 24 at 19:02
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    @espindolaa indeed. HR will know OP is at least a bit biased about her, and that could harm her chances. Different case would be if there were an opening at the company and OP were asked if they know about anyone interested... (and thus why I asked for clarification in comments) – DarkCygnus Sep 24 at 19:04
  • I agree with this. I was in a similar situation in college. My roommate's boyfriend applied at my job. My boss asked me what I thought of the guy. I said I knew him and that he was a nice guy, but I knew nothing of his work ethic. They hired him and fired him within a month. Don't make my mistake. Go with @DarkCygnus's advice. It definitely sullied my reputation for any future references I wanted to make. – DWShore Sep 24 at 20:16
  • Having the person apply for their own job, will increase the chance, since your non-referral referral might actually hurt their chances – Donald Sep 27 at 14:13

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