My sister's husband is looking for a job. He has a good track record while he's holding a job, but he cannot hold a job for too long. I will avoid going too deep into issues, probably because I myself don't know all the issues facing him, except that he frequently loses positions, but then also equally gains them just as fast.

Because of this I cannot wholeheartedly recommend him fully in good conscience. But when my own sister texts me and says she is desperate for him to find a job, and wishes for me to send off his resume to my various recruiter contacts, I feel like I need to perhaps do something.

My question: how would you go about sending his resume to recruiters? Would you contact recruiters and tell them what I did here, or do I just forward it on and say hey here's a candidate for you, go ahead and check them out?

Or is this more of a personal issue to where I should say sorry but I cannot recommend him, search for your own recruiters?

To me, I value personal family relations, but I also value the recruiters' time. So it is a tricky situation and I wanted to get some advice.

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    Are we talking about internal recruiters that work for your company where you would be referring the candidate? Or about third-party recruiters that try to place candidates at a number of different companies? Sending a resume to the former is an implicit endorsement of the candidate that may reflect badly on you if they don't work out. Sending a resume to the latter is not. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:14
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    Those would be third-party recruiters who work with many different companies.
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:20
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    Personally, I would stay out of it. I never passed a resume of a relative nor do I recommend it. Your brother in-law should be busting his own hump. I would consider doing a token company name drop at a Sunday dinner and say call them to see what they say. In otherwords, XYZ is a good recruiting company do you want their phone number? But do not really give a name. I would not say Bob at XYZ. If asked, be polite and say you cannot recall a name unless you are sure it is okay. Giving a company name(s) and phone number(s) is enough to be seen as helpful. Then leave it alone.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 23:52
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    @Chris But you are not staying out of this. By helping him get a job, you are right in the middle of it. The fact that you took time to write this question means it is impacting you personally.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 9:45
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    ...he frequently loses positions, but then also equally gains them just as fast. Yet ...she is desperate for him to find a job...? Those don't seem to fit well together. If he gains jobs easily/quickly, from what comes desperation? Clarify, please? Also, what good will it do any of you if this job is simply soon lost? Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 6:30

6 Answers 6


The only time you should be sending a resume on behalf of someone else is if you're working for a company where that would be advantageous to receive the resume through internal channels, i.e. a way to bypass some of HR.

Don't ever send a resume that you don't want to support.

The brother-in-law should be doing his own searching anyway because it looks better and it also helps him hone the process through his own experience.

You're better off just giving him the name and number of recruiters and making him do the legwork himself. As I said, it looks better anyway.

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    +1 for the bolded quote but a personal -1 for "the only time you should send a resume". Social networking (not the Facebook kind, the actual face-to-face kind) can be incredibly beneficial, not only to the person you recommend, but to you when you're looking for a job later down the road.
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 14:21
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    @Anoplexian I understand your position. I still believe that sharing resumes on behalf of someone else is like doing your kid's homework. Sure the homework gets done but they haven't learned anything. Finding work is a skill, as is networking. It would be better to share that you know someone with xyz skills who is looking for work and then connect the two. That actually benefits the candidate more than sharing the resume because the candidate makes an actual connection rather than potentially having his resume rejected with him being none the wiser.
    – Chris E
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 14:36

I would absolutely forward him to recruiters. It is their job to help people find work. They can screen the candidate and determine if they are a good fit.

I would send an email along the lines of:


I have a family member who is on the job market. I've attached his resume. Hopefully he's a fit for a position you're looking to fill.

I would be extremely hesitant to forward him to personal contacts. Here you are putting your reputation, your contact's reputation, and your hard-won relationship at risk to help him get a job.

If I did forward him to a personal contact it would be along the lines of:



My brother-in-law is currently looking for a position, and his background may fit a position you're looking to fill. I haven't worked with him, and cannot vouch for his work. I certainly wouldn't expect or desire any preferential treatment (though we both know you're above that). If you have any openings that might fit, let me know, and I can direct him to apply.

Maybe we can get coffee or lunch sometime next week.


Edit to note: In a different scenario, you might actually want to recommend your brother-in-law (as mine did for me). In that case, give a much more positive endorsement of his skills and why you think he'd be a good fit for your contact or the recruiter.

  • is the "let me know" part necessary? Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 12:17
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    I really wish I could just put "{pleasantries}" in emails...
    – Ant P
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 12:51
  • @AntP and "Dear {{Insert Personal Name Here}}," :) Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 16:25
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    @GalacticCowboy well I've had a few emails for a guy called %FIRST_NAME% trying to find out if he's interested in job opportunities...
    – Ant P
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 16:26
  • @Mindwin, no. The reason I added that last section was more for the "I can direct him to apply" which reinforces the idea that I'm not expecting or requesting special treatment. If I really did want to recommend him, I would try and get him special treatment such as a warm open direct to the hiring manager (I know that contradicts my assertion that my contact is above special treatment. If I'm advocating for you, I'm trying to get you ever advantage I can - including resume review and pre-interview prep/homework).
    – Chris G
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 21:01

Because of this I cannot whole heartedly recommend him fully in good conscience.

Don't hurt your own reputation to help your brother in law. Given his trouble holding a job it's not even going to help him in the long term, so you'd be harming your own reputation for nothing.

when my own sister, texts me and says she is desperate for him to find a job, and wishes for me to send off his resume to my various contact recruiters, I feel like I need to perhaps do something.

Depending on your relationship with both your sister and her husband, could you help him fix the reason he can't hold on to a job? That would be a lot more helpful in the long run and if you're very lucky might improve him to the point where you could recommend him whole heartedly.

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    Sadly that has been going on for a while. my sister has the most direct access to him and nothing she's done so far has helped. I think my involvement will only hurt the situation in the long-term. I believe it is more of a personal issue than it is a career one.
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:28
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    I'm sorry to hear that, sounds like a tough situation to be stuck in the middle of. In that case definitely don't send his resume to your personal contacts, and prepare to have a difficult conversation with your sister.
    – Mel Reams
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:35

First of all, if your sistes partner keeps getting jobs he is probably adding value somehow. It could be a nice idea to hint at your sister that she should coach him a bit when he starts his next job, and then he may even stabilize there.

However, let's evaluate the worst case scenario, then the question becomes:

Should you choose for your family, or for other peoples business?

According to the ethics of care there is a very clear answer here to what you should do.

  1. You have a chance to help your family
  2. The people whose time is consumed are not even in your company
  3. Perhaps they will waste some time, or perhaps they find something good for him and even make some money

My conclusion: There is no way that you should worry about the time consumed by third party recruiters if you have the chance to help your family.

If you feel guilty, consider that they have a chance to make money (in fact you help them do their job) and that good recruiters will either find something usefull for him, or filter him out quickly and don't spend much time on it.

Practical note

I would not actually send his resume, but just connect him to some recruiters. Then he can send/tune his resume himself and you will not be stuck in the middle of their communications.


It's unclear how urgent/critical or even needed it may be to provide any support, since as you say, your brother in law finds new work "just as fast" as he loses it. If you have not assisted him in the past, perhaps no assistance is needed this time either.

I would not volunteer support beyond what @Christopher_Estep suggested below. I agree with his response, which appears to be a good middle ground: provide the recruiters' contact info to your sister to share with her husband, but let him act on that information.

However, even this could backfire to some extent, if he tells the recruiters he was "referred" to them by you, but the recruiters do not have a positive experience with him (in other words, they got a not-so-good referral from you).

As @Mel_Reams noted, it could be more useful to provide general guidance on ways to increase longevity in a given role, rather than finding a new position. However, I would first ascertain that he himself in fact considers frequent change of employers a problem. Is it a problem for him? Or is this simply his natural style of work, where he inevitably gets bored or unsatisfied with any job for a long period, and does not mind a change? If that is the case, perhaps there is no problem to be solved here. So I would start there.

So I would consider these factors before committing to providing any support except general advice (only if solicited) on directions he might pursue. I once heard a good guideline for giving advice: only provide it if explicitly asked by the party seeking help, OR if it's a life-and-death situation. This case does not appear to pass either of these tests... Good luck!

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    "However, I would first ascertain that he himself in fact considers frequent change of employers a problem" That's a really good point. I assumed there was a problem because the sister was desperate for her husband to find a job, but it may be the husband feels fine and it's just that the sister is very anxious about her husband not having a stable long term job.
    – Mel Reams
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:37
  • "I would not volunteer support beyond what @Christopher_Estep suggested below." There is no answer below this one.
    – user
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 13:32
  • @MichaelKjörling um...because it was voted up? ;)
    – A.S
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 14:29

I would like to add some options:

  • Send his CV without further recommendation to recruiters whom you do not regard as crucial for you which and are sufficiently distant to you that you will not be affected by his problems (i.e. not your own department)

  • Recommend him to people against you hold some kind of professional grudge and who you may believe that they are stupid enough to misunderstand your relationship with them.

  • Lie to your sister and say: "I did my best to help" (likely they will never find out) when you only forwarded his application to the groups mentioned above

  • My favorite: Be honest to your sister and say: "It is not an appropriate Job seeking strategy to address personality issues by asking relative to recommend you for some job. Please explain me what happened, and what I/we/he could honestly do and tell the recruiters to convince them the job hopping will stop".

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