I occasionally get recruiters emailing me. I usually politely decline. But I have a friend looking for a job, and I like to recommend him if he is a good fit.

So in my most recent email turning down the interview, I suggested the recruiter talk to him. I don't think there is anything wrong with this.

But I CC'ed my friend on this email, and let the recruiter know he was CC'ed in the email body. Is this an acceptable thing to do? I know it's a bit pushy towards the recruiter to talk to my friend, but that was intentional.

(I only refer my friend if he tells me he would like to be referred.)

  • That really sounds like splitting hairs. They're recruiters, they always want to know more candidates.
    – Magisch
    May 23, 2016 at 6:11
  • This is a common Thing to do. It is uncommon for me to see a recruiter without the line "Not the job for you? Why not refer this Job to your friends!" May 23, 2016 at 8:25
  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere: sometimes in cases like these I prefer a forward of the sent mail. That way you can add one line to your friend ("here, this recruiter is searching") without him having the "original" mail. Some people don't like finding out a mail was also BCC'd - and a "reply all" can mess that up.
    – Konerak
    May 23, 2016 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


I would not have cc'ed my friend on the "no, I don't want that job" email. It detracts from the main focus. I typically do introductions two ways:

  1. To: A, B. Body: A, meet B, who is a [great person with such and such skills and experience.] B, meet A, who [is looking for a whatever.] I wanted you two to meet because [as many sentences as you like.]
  2. To: A. Body: I think you should know about B. Links to website, public resume, twitter handle, blog, careers.SE profile, etc etc. B would be a great fit for the opportunity we discussed today. [Sentence or two about things you know personally about B.]

The first lets the two of them do all the exchanging of information directly. The second provides what you know. It's forwardable - the recruiter can send it straight to someone else without having a bunch of "junk" at the beginning about how you don't want the job, or a long email trail afterwards of the other messages you exchanged.

Don't mix and match. If B is cc'ed, don't provide all that contact stuff, leave it for B to do. Don't write a long bio of B either - a smart B hits reply all and say "Thanks, Evorlor, and great to meet you A," then launches into a paragraph or two about themselves.

So in your case, the decline email should be all about the declining. You can mention in passing you know someone who would be a better fit. Then send a separate email, with a different subject line, using one of the two formats above. Then step away and see what happens.


Yes, this is acceptable, nay desirable.

All parties involved benefit from this action. The recruiter grows his network of candidates, your friend could potentially find a job sooner, you have the warm and fuzzy feeling of having helped your friend.

There are a couple ways this could go wrong:

  1. The position, company, or manager are a bad fit for your friend and he only finds out after having accepted. Though this is not your fault, you may feel guilty and your friend may point some of the blame for his discontent in your direction.

  2. Your friend could be unable to perform the job. This again could reflect negatively on you.

If you know your friend could do the work and the organization, I wouldn't hesitate. If you're unclear as to the compatibility, then I would frame the recommendation as such and try to avoid over advertising the position to your friend or your friend to the recruiter.

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