Aside from the generic risks of providing a referral, are there any specific risks to helping your employer find your new boss?

My boss (2 levels up) is trying to fill a senior role(my manager or possibly second manager). I guess I know a few great candidates, though my relationship with them is not super strong.

I'm wondering if I might be risking anything by supporting the org. My referrals would be really strong folks who might themselves bring very senior direct reports possibly impacting my chances of promotion.

  • 5
    So you'd prefer that your boss gets replaced by someone incompetent? That alternative doesn't sound great either. Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 22:53
  • 3
    Why didn't your company promote internally before looking for external hires? Why not apply to those positions yourself?
    – Nelson
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 1:02
  • It depends. Probably not - and probably you have no saying in that. If they ask you, so you have a saying, then try to answer in their view and not in yours.
    – Gray Sheep
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 11:43

1 Answer 1


are there any specific risks to helping your employer find your new boss?

Not really. A new boss will be found with or without your input: it's better to be part of the process than flying blind. Referring someone you know and generally feel ok about is often better than getting someone you've never met before. Helping a new boss getting a foot in the door will more likely than not make them feel that you are a strong and valuable resource.

If they bring strong people with them, that's great! It makes the team stronger and maybe there are more things you can learn yourself.

Personally, I've always felt that it's best to hire the strongest people you can get: as direct reports, as peers, as bosses. Everybody wins, it's a lot more fun this way and your career will take care of it itself.

Last time we hired a new boss (for me), my boss-boss made sure I was part of the interview team and I had two long and intense interview sessions with the final candidate. I gave him an enthusiastic thumbs up and he turned out to be a great boss, is now a senior VP (under the CEO) and we are still good friends.

  • So it sounds like that was a new, and unknown person to you. So I think you id'd one risk of providing a referral, not expanding your network with a new working relationship.
    – somedude
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 11:33
  • True. But I think the risk of a referral is minimal. All you do is tell your boss boss is "hey, it may worth checking out this person" and the rest is up to the hiring manager. If your referral gets hired, they will probably be thankful for the referral, which is a good start. If it goes sideways later on, it's not your fault.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 13:09

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