I applied for a dream job before the-other-half's former classmate [who's a senior in this company] got back to us saying that he's happy to refer me! In the mean time I happened to get an automated "Thanks, but no" response from the company for my application! So I told this friend about it and asked him to see if he could get some feedback on the negative response. He said he will, and a few days later I got an email from the company's recruiter saying that there was a mistake, and they would like me to proceed with the job interviews. It's been several weeks now, and I'm making progress at each stage of the interviews.

I've sent a thank-you email to the referring person, and also two other emails with some questions, and he hasn't bothered to respond anymore.

I'm going to have my last set of interviews that are face-to-face in the office tomorrow, and I was thinking of getting a gift for the guy and finding him and giving it to him as well as thanking in person.

I'm thinking of getting a bigger gift later (a card and a whiskey or a dinner?), if I happen to get the job, but I'm not sure what to get for tomorrow. And I hope that it's not creepy to find him in his office and meet him?

Any suggestions?

P.S. Some more info if it helps at all: He hasn't met my husband in a long while and he hasn't met me in person yet, but had seen my CV and so on.


  1. The question I had sent was not creepy. He himself had initially told me that he can put me in touch with the relevant person so that I can ask my questions, and my follow up email was exactly in this regard, asking him to do so acknowledging that I had passed two more stages.

  2. SO believes that a whiskey is perfectly fine at this stage (I don't agree).

  3. All of this is happening in Ireland and these people are Irish, who are known for being friendly, etc.

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    No. A gift is not appropriate. Tracking him down is not appropriate. When he did not reply to the first email question you should not have sent a second. – paparazzo Sep 25 '16 at 14:24
  • Have you not thanked this person yet for sorting out the mistake in the hiring process? That's all you needed to do at this point. – Lilienthal Sep 25 '16 at 17:13
  • @Lilienthal I have, by email. As I mentioned below, husband thinks a whiskey is a good idea at this stage, where I think it's too much for a job that I yet haven't got. – Neeku Sep 25 '16 at 17:14
  • Now, what was the downvote for, exactly? – Neeku Sep 25 '16 at 21:16

What's an Appropriate Gift for the Person Who Referred? I'm still Being Interviewed

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. In most Western workplace cultures this would be too much unless you knew the person involved at a personal level. While your SO does, you don't know him and this situation does not call for you to give him a gift.

Now, while the person you're talking about can consider you a referral (for the purposes of referral bonuses), he is not a reference for you in the traditional sense because he can't speak to your work or otherwise vouch for you. He only made the initial connection between your profile and whoever's handling the hiring process on their end. You already saw the main advantage of this type of referral: you've got someone who can check on the status of the process and get more information than you could get as a normal candidate. But that's all you can expect here. Sending follow-up questions to someone who is not involved with hiring you is very presumptuous and it's understandable that he would not respond. It gives the impression that you're trying to bypass the company's normal hiring process.

Gifts are not appropriate in this context. Remember: people who refer you like this are not really doing you any special favour. If the company ends up hiring you they get a great employee, you get a new job and the person who referred you might get a referral bonus or at least some brownie points. If not, then so be it. Either way it's not something that calls for gifts.

From now on, don't contact this person at all unless he initiates a conversation. Go through the normal hiring process. If you get the job, great: send an honest thank-you email to the person who referred you from your company mail. Don't offer gifts, don't demand anything further, do not visit him. If you're applying at a very small company and get a tour then by all means say hi during it. But if he's working two departments or a building over it would be very weird to just show up. If you end up not taking or getting the job then you can still send one (1!) email to thank him for his assistance. That's all.

  • See my update on the post and thanks for the answer. – Neeku Sep 25 '16 at 17:58

From my point of view it seems like your friend feels like he has done his part and doesn't feel like he needs to be involved anymore - as evidenced by his not replying to your 3 emails. But you seem overly engaged because it's your "dream" job.

Given his lack of interest I doubt he has an expectation of receiving any gift from you for what he has done. In addition I think it would be slightly inappropriate/awkward if you hunt him down at the office and force a gift on him.

Finally, regardless of how well your application process is going, you still do not have a job. I don't think you need to do anything for your friend until you have a signed contract and a starting date.


I just re-read the question. I now realize that your "friend" is actually "The distant friend of your husband who hasn't been a part of husband's life for a number of years" and is not even someone you know personally. That makes the number of emails you sent excessive and bordering on inappropriate, and does make the idea of hunting him down and forcing a gift on him very inappropriate for both the social reasons and the comment from @mxyzplk about perceptions of corruption.

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    +1. In addition, giving pre-hiring "gifts" to anyone in an organization looking to hire you can be seen as an unethical attempt to influence them. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Sep 25 '16 at 13:43
  • @mxyzplk That's a good point – Peter M Sep 25 '16 at 13:44
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    Yeah super creepy, especially if you turn up on the day of the interview. If you had the kind of relationship where you got together regularly then maybe shout dinner or something when/if you get the job but this is bordering on obsessive stalking. – LoztInSpace Sep 25 '16 at 13:58
  • Thanks for the edit; I would also like to mention that husband believes a whiskey is absolutely perfect as a gift even at this stage!! – Neeku Sep 25 '16 at 16:05
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    @Neeku, your husband is incorrect. – HLGEM Sep 26 '16 at 21:37

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