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My current employer at company A is looking for experienced people in their field. They asked me if I knew anyone who could be a good fit that I could refer them. A few years before working at company A, I did an internship at company B, where I met a few people who could fit the criteria. However, I have not kept in touch with them neither professionally nor personally. It is possible that they do not work at company B anymore, and it is possible that they are not looking for a new job.

I wonder if there is any ethical or professional issue with giving their names to my current employer, who may then contact them to see if they are interested in some job opportunities at company A.

I do not want to directly contact them, since it has been a long time that I have not kept in touch, and I do not think it should be my responsibility to introduce company A to them.

  • Why the downvote? If it's a duplicate, I could not find it through the related questions or the search bar, but perhaps I did not use the right keywords. – Tob Ernack Apr 18 at 16:15
  • Are you from Quebec by any chance? – DJClayworth Apr 18 at 16:25
  • I am not sure why this should matter, since I am not asking for legal advice. Unless perhaps I am mistaken and there is some location-specific legality issue at play. – Tob Ernack Apr 18 at 16:28
  • It doesn't matter. Just a thought. – DJClayworth Apr 18 at 16:38
  • Welcome to Workplace.SE! If you open the Question page and do a tally, nearly every question is in the red or the naughts. "Be nice" does not apply here. I have no idea why all questions in this SE have a negative score, but this is how it is. I never asked or answered a question here; I'm browsing it when I'm lacking an inspiration for my next horror story. Academia.SE is quite inspiring, too – kkm Apr 20 at 8:41
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You should definitely not give out names of people to companies without their permission.

However while it is not technically "your responsibility" to introduce your company to them, there are good reasons why you might want to do so if you can.

First and least altruistically, companies often pay a referral fee to someone who introduces good employees to them. This can be thousands of dollars. Even if your company doesn't do that, referring a good employee makes you look good, as well as actually benefitting your company, and that can only help your career. Companies love referrals, as it hugely reduces the chance that they are are hiring an incompetent who just does well at interviews.

Secondly it is always a good thing to be working with good people. If you know good people, who you have worked well with in the past, then getting to work with them again will make your working life easier and more productive. Just for your own sake you should make an attempt to get them to join you.

Thirdly, assuming your company is a good one to work for, most people appreciate being given the opportunity to apply for a job if they want one. That's not to say you should pressure them or try to 'sell" your company, but giving them the opportunity to apply is rarely disliked.

Given that LinkedIn is fairly ubiquitous these days, it should be an easy job to find your former colleagues on it. It's a good idea to keep up with former colleagues, even if you don't have an actual conversation for years. Most good jobs are found through networking, and you never know when one of them is going to be in a position to recommend you for a job when you need one, as well as vica versa.

So find them on LinkedIn. Say hello. If they accept your connection tell them your company is looking for good XYZ workers, that you liked working with them and ask if they would be interested. If they say yes, ask if they want you to give their name to the company, or tell them where to apply. (Incidentally, if you make contact don't make it just about the job opportunity. Send half an hour chatting with them about what they are doing, what their new company is like, how their family is etc. )

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  • Thank you for the elaboration. I will give more thought to contacting them through Linkedin, although I am admittedly a bit nervous. – Tob Ernack Apr 18 at 16:48
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I wonder if there is any ethical or professional issue with giving their names to my current employer, who may then contact them to see if they are interested in some job opportunities at company A.

If they give you permission to pass their name along, then it's perfectly ethical and professional to do so.

Otherwise, don't. They may not want to be contacted by potential employers or hounded by recruiters.

I do not want to directly contact them, since it has been a long time that I have not kept in touch, and I do not think it should be my responsibility to introduce company A to them.

If you don't want to contact your former co-workers, then just tell company A that you don't know anyone that you can refer.

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You should get their permission before passing their names on. If you're not in touch with them and therefore can't get their permission then don't pass their names on.

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  • Thank you, I guess I will have to refrain from mentioning their names in that case. – Tob Ernack Apr 18 at 16:30

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