I work in the Info. Sec / IT Audit fields as an IT auditor. As a result of closely working with other professionals in my field, I have a pretty extensive network, which includes people who **currently provide audit / assurances services to my current employer.

A personal friend of mine is currently looking for a job in the information security / assurance / audit profession. He is a hardworking, dependable, person with a great personality who I feel would be an asset to almost any company in my profession. From casual conversation, I know our vendors are hiring.

Given that he is qualified, can I recommend him to one of our vendors without facing a conflict of interest? Am I overthinking this?

I don't want to be seen as trying to influence the relationship between client (us) and our external auditors as independence, trust, and integrity are key assets for someone working in my profession.

  • It's not a great idea to be recommending people, pointing them in the right direction is a better way of handling it, then let them land the job themselves. The most I would do is give him a HR contact and he'd have to be pretty special for that, otherwise I'd just tell them a vendor is looking for workers and leave it to him.
    – Kilisi
    Dec 27, 2016 at 10:46

1 Answer 1


It would be a conflict of interest if you did any of the following:

  • expected a finder's fee for recommending your friend

  • expected a quid pro quo, in the form of an easier audit

  • expected that your friend would be placed on the team that provides services to your company (I assume that you are not the sole customer of these vendors)

Simple networking is not an ethical issue.

If your friend found these vendors independently, but listed you as a professional reference, would you consider that a conflict of interest?

  • The only thing I see that could potentially be an ethical issue is if you recommended your friend to one of your vendors without disclosing that they were a personal friend. Assuming you don't blatantly lie about how you know them and why you think they'd be a good hire, you're totally in the clear.
    – Mel Reams
    Dec 27, 2016 at 1:12

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