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I work for a big US-based IT firm in a project that requires special skill that I possess due to my particular type of education. I used to work in one of their international offices (say Paris) and was doing very well, collaborating on very good terms with my counterparts in the US. Eventually, they offered me a position in their headquarters at the US for the same work but reporting to a different manager. Personally and career-wise, it is a very good move and I, after discussing with my spouse, have decided to take it up.

The catch is that my spouse will also have to leave her current job and look for a new one in the US. An easier way to do so (rather than coming to US as my dependent and finding a job which has lot of complications) is to find a firm in Paris based out of US and has the facility of transferring their employees to US on their own independent visa (similar to what I was offered). So she started looking for openings in Paris in US-based IT firms which have an office in Paris and can transfer employees to US. Now, my previous manager at Paris (as I now report to the US manager), who is on very good terms with me and still works closely with me, is looking for a replacement for me. By a funny turn of fate, now my spouse is being interviewed for this position and it looks like she might clear.

Unfortunately, my old manager doesn't know that the original reason that my spouse is looking forward to this opportunity is to transfer to the US. Now my old manager may not make an offer (I presume) if he knows that in advance, as he will end up in the same situation (similar to losing me) after a year or so. It's pretty difficult to find candidates for this position and my old manager wouldn't want to be in a situation where he is recruiting and ramping up an employee only to transfer them to a different place.

Am I obligated to reveal to my old manager (given our good relation) that the candidate who seems to be good to replace me is my spouse and that my spouse intends to move out after a while (which is sort of obvious anyways)? I was not involved in the interview process or the referral process anyway.

PS: I met my spouse during our graduate studies for this special skill which is why we both are in same domain.

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    I don't really understand the scenario. You are transferring to the US, so your spouse is looking for a job in Paris? Why? Why aren't they looking for a job in or around the area you'll be moving to in the US? Oct 5, 2021 at 13:16
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    This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You know for a fact that your old manager is interviewing candidates to fill your old position in Paris. Why is your wife wasting her time and his by even going to the interview?
    – brhans
    Oct 5, 2021 at 13:39
  • @MarkRotteveel updated the question to response to your query. If my spouse is coming along with me and then tries to find a job in US, then it becomes a job on dependent visa which has lot of complications. Essentially, its much easier if my spouse finds a job in a firm based out of US and have office in Paris, which can transfer its employees to US by offering them an independent visa.
    – Dexter It
    Oct 5, 2021 at 13:54
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    I'd be more worried about not revealing the real reason why your spouse is applying for a job (a visa for the US) than not revealing she is your spouse. BTW, what's your plan B? What if she doesn't get the job, or doesn't get a transfer to the US any time soon?
    – Abigail
    Oct 5, 2021 at 14:34
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    "office in Paris, which can transfer its employees to US" - employing someone in Paris to replace you doesn't seem like a position that will be transferred to US. I guess it doesn't work like "oh you fooled us and are leaving right now, well fine then we can offer you an excellent job in US while this job here is vacant again, no problem at all". I also don't understand why your ex manager wouldn't know she is your spouse. Did you reflect on how your carreers can look like (or end) after performing this show on this company's cost? That again is something I don't understand :-)
    – puck
    Oct 5, 2021 at 16:04

3 Answers 3

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This is actually complicated.

  1. There may be legal or company policy reasons that require her to disclose that she has close relatives at the company. It's also sometimes asked directly in the application process.
  2. Given that your manager knows you well and that you probably have the same last name and/or address, he might already know that she is your wife. If not, he can easily guess it and ask about it.
  3. So hiding the fact that she is your wife, doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It's dishonest, there is good chance that it will come out and will reflect badly on both of you.

Once your manager knows she is your wife (if he doesn't already), he is bound ask her: "Your husband is going to the US, do you really want to stay here? " What will your wife answer ?

Generally I always recommend telling the truth and to never lie, but I honestly don't understand what your game plan is. The fact, that your company CAN sponsor a transfer visa doesn't mean that they will or have any incentive to do so. Even if they do, there is no guarantee that this Visa will actually be approved or how long this may take. In fact, some Visa types require you to have been a local employee for a considerable time (1 year, for example) before you are eligible for a transfer Visa.

How do you think this will work ?

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Am I obligated to reveal to my old manager (given our good relation) that the candidate who seems to be good to replace me is my spouse and that my spouse intends to move out after a while (which is sort of obvious anyways)? I was not involved in the interview process or the referral process anyway.

No, you are not obligated to reveal this information. Revealing this information would probably hurt your wife's chances at this position. If your former manager does not want to lose your replacement, he likely would not hire your wife if he knows that she will eventually transfer. You need to decide if your wife/family is more important than your relation with your former manager.

If you or your wife feel uncomfortable stringing along your former manager and eventually leaving him, then perhaps she should reconsider applying to this company.

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    "You need to decide if your wife/family is more important than your relation with your former manager." Hit the nail on the head..
    – iLuvLogix
    Oct 5, 2021 at 13:35
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    Disagree. There is little benefit in hiding it: It's dishonest and there is good chance it'll come out anyway. That can seriously harm both relationships to the new employer. It's also a plan that doesn't appear to be well thought out. Risking a good relationship for something that's unlikely to work anyway seems like a poor plan.
    – Hilmar
    Oct 5, 2021 at 17:24
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I beg to differ with the other answer. While the actual answer depends on the COBEC (Code of Conduct and Business Ethics) policy of your organization, in my experience, you need to disclose if you have any relative applying/working in the same organization, even if it's in different department.

The usual process that I know of is:

  • If you're the one who is already employed and your relative is the applicant, then you need to disclose that to your manager and the compliance team, and you need to ensure you have no part in the hiring process or hiring decision.

  • If you're the applicant and your relative is already occupying a position, then you need to mention that during the interview process. (Some organization may ask this info explicitly and as early as in the application form itself.)

Once again, the requirements may differ based on organization, but since you already have access to the company policy documents, please check if there's any specific mandate related to relatives getting hired.

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