I recently started a new job, and my company is quickly growing and looking to hire more people. I want to refer one of my previous colleagues for a position in the company, but that person has not expressed (much) interest in the company. That person, however, has asked me what my experience has been like so far at the company. This person was also "keeping options open" and has told me that I would be a great person to work with again.

I offered to refer my colleague to out internal recruiting department, but that person has not responded even though said person has asked if I knew the hiring manager for a certain department. I have no doubt that this person could do a tremendous job at my current company and would fit in very well, but I do not know if I should send a referral to my company. I do not have this person's resume, but I can speak volumes about what this person had done at my previous company and give some meager background information to support it.

Should the referral be a two-way mutual agreement between me and my colleague or should I just choose to refer that person or not based on the conversation that has transpired?

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    Speaking purely from opinion, I think there should be a mutual agreement before you make the referral. It can be quite annoying to get an unexpected phone call at an inconvenient time concerning a job you've neither heard of or applied for because someone dropped your name/contact details to a company (or worse, recruiting firm) without your prior knowledge or consent.
    – aroth
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 2:06
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    Building on what @aroth said, not only is it annoying, but your friend might actually look bad if he/she isn't prepared.
    – jmort253
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 2:36
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    Seriously? I get calls and emails all the time from recruiters. If you can't handle it, don't answer the phone when you don't recognize the number. Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


I consider referring someone to a place where I work to be a very carefully-weighed decision reserved only for the people whom I know are qualified, will do a good job, and who will fit into the culture of the organization. A former hiring manager I knew, upon suggesting a referral, told me that it's "on me" if things don't work out. Needless to say, I didn't press the issue any farther, especially since the person I was referring wasn't that interested.

When you refer someone, you're basically vouching for this person and saying they're "good to go". In the movies, when a mafia member "vouches" for someone and that person doesn't work out, the mafia member may find himself six feet under :) While you're not in the mafia -- and this is real life -- the lesson learned is still the same although with significantly less consequences.

If this former colleague doesn't work out, it may have a less than desirable impact on your reputation with the company, and it may make the hiring managers, and even your boss, less likely to consider future referrals you submit.

Thus, if this person is simply not interested or not showing a great deal of interest, my concern is that he or she might "flake out" if the company decided to invest time, money, and other resources in this person.

It's great that you're willing to help friends and former colleagues, but I'd suggest passing in this case.

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    What are you talking about? In many cases the company you work for is the mafia, I mean you have a "boss" and "security guards" and the "weird guy everyone makes fun of because ..." just like your typical mafia family :-)
    – Donald
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 11:16
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    @Ramhound - My company doesnt have that wierd guy... wait a second what is that old poker adage? If you cant find the mark at the table... Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 12:56

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