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I learned about a position in my company in our customer service department today at work I think my wife could be a good fit for. I work in the engineering department (I'm a new hire by the way).

My wife has prior customer service experience and although she lacks the technical background of the products my company designs and manufactures, I believe she could fit into the position and do well at the job.

Is it inappropriate to ask the supervisor of that department about the position and recommend my wife? As I mentioned before, I'm brand new at the company and learned about the opening today while talking with one of our IT guys and he mentioned it after I said my wife has experience in customer support.

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    You want to work in the same place as your wife? There are so many ways this could be a bad thing and many companies therefore frown upon it. – Kilisi May 4 '16 at 6:08
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    @Kilisi: Working in the same place as the wife is often better than being the only person in the family who makes money. And some companies are big enough that you might not even see her at work all year. – gnasher729 May 4 '16 at 8:07
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    @kilisi: In an ideal world there would be no risk of conflict. Nothing is ever ideal. Whether sharing employer is a good/acceptable idea depends on the company --size, structure, policy. But asking if they can use her will never be a problem; the worst they can say is no. – keshlam May 4 '16 at 9:23
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    I have to agree with @keshlam. In my company, people have met their spouses here. And I know of other large companies where this is common. Most often, they don't work in the same department so they really don't see each other that often during the day (except maybe lunch). – Lexi May 4 '16 at 12:24
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    One thing not touched on yet is, did you relocate for this position? If your wife gave up a job for you two to move specifically for this job many companies would be more open to hiring her (especially if you filled a hard to fill role). I know universities will often assist with spousal hires of professors and my company will often do spousal hires of international transferees. – Myles May 4 '16 at 19:47
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Firstly, I would highly recommend against working in the same place as your wife. Especially if you could come into contact professionally during it. I have seen several marriages ruined this way, and even if between the both of you it works, its commonly seen as unsavory and an inherent conflict of interest.

Secondly, I would recommend against recommending her internally. If she wants the job, she should apply normally for it. In this stage for most companys your word will count against rather then for her. It may easily be seen as you just wanting to get your wife in there and exaggerating her skills because of it. (Even if you're not)

Additionally, as a new hire, doing something like this could easily count against you in the perception of your managers and the company's HR. This could be a career limiting move.

In general thats a mine field you absolutely do not want to tread.

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    I think this is too negative a take on spouses working for the same employer. I know of a number of examples from personal experience where this worked fine. Also at a larger employer the husband and wife might not even interact much. I agree that a recommendation is unlikely to be useful at this stage, though. – user45590 May 4 '16 at 13:02
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    Thanks, it sounded like a good idea at first glance but you make.some strong points – user138741 May 4 '16 at 13:58
  • At my last workplace it caused a lot of issues, at my current workplace it doesn't cause any and there are about 3 sets here. – Terry May 4 '16 at 16:00
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    @user138741 I highly encourage you to consider Joe's answer. Working in the same place as your spouse is not inherently bad, and I have seen it work successfully on multiple occasions, including a couple that shared a workbench at times. Only you know whether you and your spouse would get along at work together, assuming you would even have to interact. – David K May 4 '16 at 17:39
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Is it inappropriate to ask the supervisor of that department about the position and recommend my wife?

It's not inappropriate at all to ask.

Some companies frown on spouses working in the same group. Even though you are in development and this is customer service, it might still be that the company wouldn't like to see relatives together. So be sensitive to that.

Otherwise, just ask and be guided by the response you get. If your wife does apply, of course stay out of the way of the interview process.

In many companies, the best employees come from internal referrals. I know that's one way I've hired terrific people. And for that reason I'm always pleased when companies offer referral bonuses. I think it helps encourage behavior that builds a better company.

  • Be careful here. Many companies don't like spouses working together! – WorkerDrone May 9 '16 at 15:23
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Generally, the most suggested approach is not to recommend anyone when you're fresh into a company.

There are different reasons for that but you can consider at least that

  • you are not yet familiar with the company culture, so it would be hard to predict a good match with only partial understanding of that culture.
  • you haven't yet proven yourself, so your recommendation wouldn't have much weight, and might geopardize your own situation, if unfortunately it does not work as great as could be.

If your wife is unemployed, meaning that you have a need for her to get a job, you might consider asking your direct boss, or the person responsible for the new customer service hire, depending on the size of the company, and how familiar you are with people around.

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This is a bad idea, my friend. You will DEFINITELY bring any household conflict, which is inevitable, to the workplace. Also, you carry the workplace back into your home. I wouldn't want to hear about workplace drama every day once I left work, because I need the time away from the workplace to recuperate. So when your wife needs to decompress (and most women do this by talking) you'll have to endure daily conversations at home, or during your commute, about people you'd rather not even be thinking about "after 5 p.m.".

You also run the risk that if the company gets merged, bought, or sold, then both of your jobs are potentially up on the chopping block. Or, if the company policy changes adversely, then you're both in the hole without having any balance -- an example would be you carrying health insurance, and the rates suddenly skyrocket for you, and at the same time they'd be cheaper if she worked elsewhere. Spread your risk, don't consolidate it.

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    Mmm...as someone who worked with my husband, I will say that the first paragraph is not always true and based on some stereotypes. On the other hand, the risk of working at the same place when our company was bought was why we moved to different companies. – thursdaysgeek May 4 '16 at 21:15
  • I had an acquaintance who separated from his wife (at the time). She got involved with somebody else, before they divorced, and that other dude gave her a black eye. She went to work. And who was on the hot seat as the cause for the black eye? Riiight. – Xavier J May 4 '16 at 21:18
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    Yes, it can be a problem. Or it isn't. Both drama and conflict have happened and will happen. And no drama, no conflict, no decompress talking on the commute has happened and will happen. Your answer implies conflict and drama is inevitable, and it is not. It's merely possible, and in many cases likely. (BTW, I'm not the downvoter because I agreed with your second paragraph.) – thursdaysgeek May 4 '16 at 22:07

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