Long story short:

A good colleague of mine (henceforth OC) from my previous company applied for a job in my current company. Manager showed me OC's CV and I told the manager that OC is good news. So they decided to go for a telephone interview with OC. After OC got the news and learned that I work there also, OC sends me an email wanting to come in contact with me (possibly for small talk? but I am not sure).

I am not sure if I should reply. I mean OC is a really good individual and I'd love to have him in the company, but I feel like I am in a difficult position. Should I tell my manager about OC's email? Should I talk to OC? Should I just do nothing? Did the manager tell OC that OC got my thumbs up? What if OC starts asking what are the interview questions? I just feel like not involving until the formal process is over.

What do you think I should do? I just want to be professional.


3 Answers 3


In my experience (US, high-tech) it's pretty normal to approach ex-colleagues at companies you're looking at. This is part of networking. OC isn't doing anything wrong or unusual. And so long as you don't create a conflict of interest, you won't be doing anything wrong by talking with him. Ignoring him, on the other hand, might make him think it's personal or that you don't want him to work there -- not what you want.

So go have coffee or whatever, and when the topic of his application comes up, avoid crossing boundaries on either side -- don't tell him company-confidential stuff and don't reveal anything private he tells you to your manager/HR/etc. You can't tell him about interview questions, but you can probably talk about what it's like to work there more generally, whether you're happy there, etc. Similarly, you can tell your boss that you used to work with OC and think highly of him, but shouldn't pass on that OC is nervous about some particular aspect of the interview process.


You should say you are Happy to Help to OC.

  1. OC is a great individual at your previous company. He would potentially be one in your current company.
  2. You could mention to your manager that you know OC. If he asks for a personal recommendation, please do give. As you already know OC is good person to have.
  3. You could be friendly and ethical. You can say no to requests of interview questions, but you can still provide non confidential information like company work culture, how you currently enjoy your work etc.

I would ask your manager if there's anything that you shouldn't discuss with applicants, beyond the normal company confidentiality. Based on what your manager tells you, you can decide whether you think it's okay to meet with this person. If you do, and the person asks you something that you can't disclose, just tell him, "I'm sorry, but I'm not able to discuss that." If you decide you cannot meet with him, simply tell him that you're sorry, but you can't meet with him while he's in the interview process, because you're afraid of disclosing something to him.

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