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So for some reference, I work at a large tech company. I have a friend who works for the same company in another group, and a while ago expressed their unhappiness with their current job and they are looking for a new position. Coincidentally, I just saw that my group is hiring for a position that my friend might be suited for/have the correct expertise.

I would love for my friend to find a job they like better, but I'm a little wary. I've been told that it's not a good idea "to mix business and pleasure" and I'm a little worried about possibly being on the same exact team. I have heard bad stories from another friend where competitive-ness came into play and soured the friendship.

While I don't think my friend would behave that way, I'm still worried. What are things to keep in mind when referring a friend to a position like this?

[edit] I did become friends with them at work just as interns, though I knew of them from my wider social circle earlier. I have never worked with them personally on any project, so I don't really know anything about their work style, other than them talking about their job to me.

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  • How was this friendship made? Is it someone who was a friend outside of work and you just so happen to both start working for the same company? Did you meet them in your role within the company and hit it off? I ask b/c the context of the friendship matters. Is this someone you have worked with and know what their work style is?
    – NDEthos
    Aug 19 '21 at 16:22
  • @NDEthos That's a good point, I just edited my question to include the details.
    – ocean800
    Aug 19 '21 at 16:27
  • Surely the friendly thing would be to tell them about a position they would be fitted for. How would they feel knowing you didn't tip them off about a job they could do? The fact that you don't want them around suggests they're not much of a friend, in which case, maybe don't inform them?
    – Stuart F
    Aug 23 '21 at 16:28
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"Mixing business with pleasure" is usually in the context of romantic relationships, not friendships. In general there's not a negative reaction to having friends work with you.

I have friends I would recommend in an instant, and friends who I wouldn't recommend if my life depended on it. This is because while there's overlap, what I look for in a friend and what I look for in a coworker are not the same. For example, my friend who's known for his ability to tell the filthiest jokes I've ever heard- blast to hang out with, not someone I want to recommend to work.

When thinking about doing this, I'd recommend you consider a few factors, and try to be as objective as possible:

  1. Are they professional? Or would having them there reflect badly on you?
  2. Are they good at the job?
  3. If you have professional disagreements, can they compartmentalize work from friendship?
  4. How badly do they need the job? This is a mitigating factor to the above, if they were about to lose their house I'd do more to help them than if they were just bored.
  5. How would your friendship change from this? Would you enjoy seeing them much more? Or would it make hanging out with them outside of work less enjoyable because its no longer a special event?
  6. How serious a job is this? A career office job requires a higher level of certainty on 2 than a retail job you don't expect to be at in a year.

Then once you have those answers, weight the pros and cons. I think everything here is too specific to the job, the friend, and the situation to give a firm answer to.

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    This is a stellar answer to a tough question. The issue has way too many personal factors involved for strangers on the internet to make the decision for you but this answer covers all the bases in figuring it out for yourself.
    – Myles
    Aug 19 '21 at 15:34
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The fact that they're your friend isn't the issue. The main issue is you will see your friend (also a colleague) outside of work.

If you have never worked on anything with your friend (academic, professional, backyard projects, etc.), this is a risk. People work very differently, and what they do at work will definitely impact your relationship if you do not agree with their work habits.

There is no hard and fast rule about having a friend as a colleague. I've had a friend as a colleague and we worked great together, and still hang out decades later. There are colleagues that I wouldn't want as friends though, due to seeing their behavior at after-work events at bars.

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Friends work together all the time, and in my best work groups, we were all friends. There might be some exceptions:

  1. Your friend is a slacker or unskilled, and you find that working with them destroys your relationship plus makes you look bad to the company for recommending a bad hire.
  2. You're a slacker or unskilled and working together destroys the relationship plus shows the company what a good worker looks like, getting you fired.
  3. There will be a boss-subordinate relationship, which is a risky proposition for an existing friendship.
  4. You are both competing for scarce promotion opportunities which could harm the friendship, though true friends would have no trouble with this.

If the friendship is strong, only 1 and 2 would be a problem. And 1 and 2 are only problems if you recommend someone for a job they aren't qualified for, or if you are already are bad at your job.

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I firmly believe is keeping my professional relationship and personal relationships separate. For me, this means we could have different opinions on professional front, we could compete with each other as well for the same promotion, but irrespective of whether its me or my friend gets it, I wont let it spoil my relations.Alternatively, we could fight in personal space but still work well together because you are professional.

I have been friends from my school academic competitor while we were competing for the first rank and we are still good friends 22 years later.

However, this is not easy to achieve.

If you can work in that state with your friend, by all means go for it. It wont matter what happens at work.

Another way of looking at it is your friend is unhappy. As a friend, if you can do something, you should.

Can this spoil your relation? May be. You both have to decide if you both value your friendship over material things. If you do, nothing can come in between.

Have an honest conversation with your friend and tell him what you are feeling. It will help you understand if you both can weather this.

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