I am happy at my current job, but I am considering moving to a new job (at a more risky startup). The interviews have all gone well, but I'm not sure about long hours and low pay. I have, however, asked a bunch of former colleagues to give me a reference, and they have all graciously given me glowing reviews. Now, I feel conflicted about turning down the job (though I haven't made up my mind either way).

Is it rude to my former colleagues to turn down a job that they tried to help me get?

Of course, I think highly of all of these colleagues (which is why I chose them as references) and I would like to remain on good terms with them, in case I need a reference in the future, or if they need mine, or if we end up working together again down the road.

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    Did they "just give a reference" or did they really go out of their way to possibly introduce you to the company and get involved more than normal to help you get the job?
    – user8365
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 12:31
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    If it was rude, no-one would ever apply for more than one job at the same time. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 12:43
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    @starplusplus: that's naive, inefficient and most probably ignorant, too. You HAVE to apply to more than one job at the same time because if they screen you out without notifying you, you'll be waiting and waiting for them to answer before you decide that your job app was a dud and file your next job app. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 13:49
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    @VietnhiPhuvan - I think that was exactly starplusplus's point.
    – aroth
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 10:49
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    @starpluplu: I owe you an apology. Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 11:06

3 Answers 3


No nothing wrong in that. They referred you but final decision needs to be taken in terms of your gaining as compare to your current company. If you are not satisfied with the offer you will not accept it. It's very practical thing.

There will be many times you pursue job opportunities that look good at first but over time you realize you aren't interested in. This can occur at any point in the process be it the recruiter interview, technical interview, offer, and even after the time of hire. That said sometimes you'll have professional favors such as references involved. It's nothing wrong as long as it's not a chronic problem. I'm a strong believer in one professional favor per person. You only ask and grant a favor professionally once per person. (Just to mutually avoid abusing connections)


Is it rude to my former colleagues to turn down a job that they tried to help me get?

No, certainly not.

This is your job, your career, your life. Just because your friends did you a favor by providing a reference, doesn't mean you are obliged to them such that you should take a job you don't want.

If they are your friends, they may be disappointed, but they will want only what is best for you.


No, that is ok. But in the future you should wait with giving references until you are sure you want the job. Usually for me references have been given after the interviews and before salary discussions.

You must remember to write your references to let them know what you decided and why, and also to thank them for their help. A beer at the local pub is generally the agreed upon price for being a reference :)

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    Many times companies will ask for references long before they extend a job offer, in order to make a better hiring decision. As a result, usually you don't know if you'll accept the job by the time you have to provide references.
    – panoptical
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 11:21

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