3

I am an engineer in Germany and currently working for a consulting company.

Last summer, as I was involved in company X project but had a bit a free time, a colleague (from the consulting company) came to me asking for help to learn about a tool and method (that I master). This colleague was going to have a meeting for possibly entering a project at company Y, an needed to show his knowledge in this tool and method. I helped him for a few hours and luckily enough, he landed the project.

Last month he calls me, explaining that he has found a job, directly working for Y, in a different department. He is still finishing his notice period and has a very good relationship with his current manager at Y, who actually also offered him to continue his work in his department, but switching to work directly for Y, which he refused.

As the project that he is carrying on should continue, he had to find a replacement for himself, in the consulting company. At this moment he thought about me, and I talked with his manager, but we could not agree on travel/accommodation conditions, as company Y is based in a different city as the one I live in, and did not want to move in this context. I was this manager's first choice, and it is possible that he already had introduced my profile and name to the customer. Now none of us knows what happened, but it looks like he did not find anyone else.

A few weeks later, I noticed a new job opening at company Y, matching exactly the description of the project that I could have been doing through the consulting company. I applied immediately(almost 2 weeks ago), as it is kind of my dream job.

I later talked with my colleague, informing him of this job opening. I did not ask him to recommend me, or drop my name to the department manager.

I am wondering whether I should ask it or not. My 3 concerns:

  • I guess that my colleague wants to keep a good relationship with his soon-to-be former manager (from consulting company), and I suppose that if this manager somehow gets the information that he tried to bypass the consulting company (for which I am still working), it might burn bridges for him
  • For the same reason, I am concerned that it backfires at me
  • If the manager of company Y (opening the position) already got my name through the consulting company, what would be his reaction f my colleague drops my name to him?

So I would like to have your opinion on what you think I should do (ask or not), and why. Thanks in advance, I hope it is clear enough.

  • 1
    I'm confused as to who is a consultant and who is an employee of company Y here, but I'm also unsure why your colleague would suddenly have a bad relationship with the consulting firm if he were to give you a reference. Also, it's not like you're asking your boss for a reference (at least not right now). – panoptical Feb 12 '15 at 21:31
  • Thanks for the answer. I am a consultant and so is my colleague. But this colleague will switch to work for company Y directly. I am afraid that if the consulting firm finds out about him recommending me (to work directly for Y), they would take it as bypassing them, as I am their employee. Maybe it is perfectly OK, but am not sure and thus want to have your opinions. – Puzzled Feb 13 '15 at 7:51
  • You should add the information in your comment to the post, and also add whether you are intending to stay at your consultancy company or not. Generally speaking though, I don't see how it would hurt if you ask your former colleague to put in a good word for you. To be fair, if you intend to work for Y directly you will be burning your bridge with your current company anyways. Depending on your relationship with your current boss, it might be worth talking to him directly and informing him of your intent. If they care about you more than your 'worth to the company' they could be supportive – Cronax Feb 23 '15 at 16:16
1

I spent my career in consulting companies and worked in Germany, as well. See my answers below:

guess that my colleague wants to keep a good relationship with his soon-to-be former manager (from consulting company), and I suppose that if this manager somehow gets the information that he tried to bypass the consulting company (for which I am still working), it might burn bridges for him

It will not burn bridges From the consulting company perspective it is always preferable if your consultants move to work for your clients and not for your competitors. If you move to your customer the consulting company will have you as a good relationship in the client organization. One day you may become the client CEO, who would want to burn that bridge?

For the same reason, I am concerned that it backfires at me

It won't backfire if you play openly. Professional consultants are always businessmen and represent their company. You should talk to the consulting manager directly in detail that you have this opportunity and the conditions are such that you prefer to work for Y. Make it clear to everybody that the two offers are not the same.

If the manager of company Y (opening the position) already got my name through the consulting company, what would be his reaction f my colleague drops my name to him?

You wrote that you applied for the position immediately. So he will get your name anyway. Your consultant friend may help you by explaining to the manager at Y why you prefer this job directly and why you did not take it in the consulting company.

Please not that you are playing a dangerous game. As a consultant or any professional you should never compromise your credibility. I turn down any offer that may harm my reputation. The solution is open communications from the first moment. And be flexible. Your consulting manager may change the conditions to make you stay. Share your problem with the consulting manager: How can I work on this assignment, because it is my dream job? Then you can work out the alternatives together considering also the job change option.

And please check your contract if it is legally possible at all. I believe it is since your friend is also moving there.

0

I don't see a problem with asking your colleague for the reference. He or she is not responsible for any business relationship between your consulting firm and "company Y", and doesn't appear to have anything to lose since they have already left the consultancy. Such matters should remain confidential, so the likelihood of the consulting firm learning that you are seeking employment should be close to nil.

I'm not sure about how this works in Germany, but in the U.S., "company Y" would likely be prohibited from hiring you or your colleague, due to its contract with your consulting company.

  • "He or she is not responsible for any business relationship between your consulting firm and "company Y", "the likelihood of the consulting firm learning that you are seeking employment should be close to nil" both statements are unacceptable for a consultant. They all work in the same environment and also will work with the same people on the same topic just in different companies. The whole thing is about this relationship. They will all sit at the same table in a month or two and they will all know how he has moved. He has to do it right. – Mark Mar 31 '15 at 10:20
-1

I don't think you should ask your colleague either to recommend you or to give you a reference. Unless he is your superior within the company you work for now. You should ask your line manager or another person higher up the chain of command, if s/he would be willing to write a positive reference ? Ask them if they are willing to show you such a reference before they post it to your prospective employer, so you know what they want to say about you.

If your colleague thinks you are a good worker then he might put a good word in for you, but he might NOT, it is not clear how much of a friend he is.

I'm not an employer, but I would not be impressed by a reference from a colleague working at the same level as an applicant, I'd think his superiors are not willing to recommend him.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.