I had my friend interview for a professional role on my team (software engineer II) - he didn't quite meet the expectations during the interview. Later, it was announced that we're going to start trying to fill SE-I positions instead.
I brought it up that my friend is still super interested, even if it's a more junior role than he originally applied for. I was told by my manager that he'd definitely prefer to hire someone I know than someone straight out of uni.
After not hearing back for a bit, I asked if there were any updates on potentially offering my friend who'd interviewed before an SE-I role. The response I got was along the lines of I'm forced to only hire new grads because of tax breaks and stuff. My hands are tied, sorry
I'm not trying to call into question my manager's character - I'm just wondering if this is true, or if it's something he's been fed from above, with no real merit?
tl;dr are there tax breaks or other benefits to an employer in the U.S. for hiring new university grads over an experienced worker? Or am I being given the runaround because management doesn't want to just tell me they didn't want to hire my friend for reasons x-y-z, whatever they may be.