My spouse applied to a position at the company I work at, albeit in a completely different department. I anticipate since I was listed as a referral that I might be asked about him, but we have different last names. Should I disclose that he is my spouse or instead focus on times we have worked together professionally?

I don't want to make it unnecessarily personal, since this is purely professional. But I could also see potential consequences if not divulging that information would be considered a conflict of interest or dishonest. I can't see any reason my job would overlap with his or any instance where I would come into contact with his potential hiring manager, as it hasn't the last couple of years thus far.

I am in the United States.

  • @JoelEtherton This is in the US. I added the tag.
    – q-compute
    Dec 7, 2020 at 22:13

3 Answers 3


I would recommend disclosing your relationship, and you're right to keep all commentary to professional topics and delivery. Not disclosing the relationship would present the appearance of dishonesty, and ultimately that would reflect poorly on both of you.

I would also recommend keeping all comments to answering the questions asked of you. Do not offer things just because you think it "might help". Just be factual and to the point when asked.


Should I disclose that he is my spouse or instead focus on times we have worked together professionally?

I sense some assumptions in your question (if they decide to ask about referrals, if they decide to ask about your spouse, if they ask what is your relationship with them).

Anyways, when asked about what is your relationship with him, you should answer with the truth, and to the point. Don't hide it or bend your words as it might get you in trouble as you already suspect if you don't mention it.

Truth is that they may even be aware that he is your spouse, if they do some checking and asking before the interview (or if your husband listed you as spouse in any form they filled when starting their job there).

  • 1
    "..if they do some checking and asking before the interview.." or when HR or payroll accounting realize that they have the same main-residence address.
    – iLuvLogix
    Dec 9, 2020 at 14:16

If the company cares, one of the questions on the application would be if your spouse is related to or knows anyone at the company. Your spouse would presumably answer the question honestly. In the unlikely event there are further questions, they will be directed at either your spouse or your manager.

I think worries about them asking you questions is a waste of time, just too unlikely to consider.

Now, that’s not the end of the story, if your spouse is picked you both may have to sign a ethics and/or nepotism form.

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