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I am early in the interview process with a company, which is hiring for multiple roles.

I suggested one role (not the same one I am interviewing for) to a former colleague of mine as I thought he would be a good fit and I know he is looking for new employment. I also told him that I would try to put in a good word for him.

When in the interview process (if ever) is it appropriate to recommend a colleague for a position?

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Since you are interviewing, I doubt that your recommendations as an outsider to the company would have any weight unless you are a legend or luminary in the field.

I'd say that your colleague should initiate contact with the company on his own, and mention in his cover letter that he is interested in applying because you are saying some nice things about the company, from your good experience of interviewing with the company.

  • I love it. That not only gives you a positive light if you're in the interview process when they read it, but it may provide some loyalty feeling with the company. Recommending others while interviewing may not come off in the best light, unless they bring it up directly in some way. – Xrylite Oct 1 '14 at 23:03
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In my opinion it never hurts to ask, the worst thing that can happen is that you get a no.

So, instead of making it look like a forced recommendation, I'd turn it into a question:

..Oh yeah, concerning the x position you're trying to fill in, I happen to know a guy who has great potential, I can give you his contact information or ask him to contact you, if you're interested?

So, when? It's appropriate the moment you've finished your first part of the interview process, either before you leave after your first interview or by email, email is less pushy but word by mouth is always more personal and more effective.

Also note that you're not only doing your colleague a favor, you might be doing the company a favor, so don't be too shy. Just note that your recommendation doesn't mean much since the company doesn't really know you, yet, but asking should not hurt your position as long as you're not pushy.

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First - if you are interviewing, keep yourself focused on the fact that you want to make a great impression. Trying to work in a bid for a collegue could potentially distract from the fact that you would be great for the role you are interviewing for. Let that be the primary purpose.

Next - even if you work there, most work places will require that your colleague actually submit a resume or application. If your colleague isn't ready to do that, or hasn't done it - stay out of it, there's no point distracting folks with a potential that is unlikely to be realized.

I'll say that I believe I have, or would, mention a potentially good recruit, but only in certain cases:

1 - I'm talking to the recruiter and it's going well - the recruiter is most interested in helping get good recruits, so he may be more networked than anyone you interview with. If you see the recruiter at the of the day - mention it there. If not - mention it when you get a chance, if there is time.

2 - I'm talking to a manager who has expressly mentioned the need. I don't try to work it in. Admittedly, because I myself interview for management jobs, it's not unusual for a good conversation with a boss or boss-peer to involve the discussion of the challenge of finding great people. I can remember at least one time where a potential colleague said "yeah, we have so much trouble hiring XYZ". I was able to say "do you need A or B or C, too?" - we clarified the need and I actually knew someone. I gave the info, and then never followed up. It's not my business if I'm not actually working there. This was a good case, in that I was also showing that I have a great network, and I'm interested in helping -- but it would have seemed different if I had done the same thing without the intro from the interviewer.

Avoid if it you feel you have to reach for it awkwardly. The awkwardness will show, and won't leave a great impression.

Do have the colleague's contact info - business card or resume - that you can give if you actually get some interest. If you don't fit it in, then at least you were prepared, no harm done.

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