In April I switched my job. When I departed I made a deal with my (old) boss (he is also the single owner of that 20 people company). Since I am also a teacher at a near university, I get to know many students and I also get to know their technical skills. The deal was to sent or advocate potential students to become student workers at that company.

Environmental Story: I left the company for technical reasons and to learn something new, but I still have friends and contacts there. I think I put some commitment in my projects and the people at that company. But I did not burn bridges when leaving, although I could name many bad things.

From my point of view and expectation: If I send some good student there I am out of responsibility. If he gets hired, it is good and I am happy. But if he would not get invited or hired, it is okay, the boss surely have his reasons for such a decision.

Middle of May I sent one of my students to that company (sent an Email to my ex-boss to establish contact between him and my student), but I never received any kind of acknowledgement, thanks or something like that. A few weeks later I heard from this student that he was invited to a job interview which was quite positive. They planned to sleep over it and would talk a few days later again. So far so good.

Point 1: The student told me that he was asked some weird questions like previous employment and experience (ok), but also detailed questions which company, which department, which software was used and why, how they used it, for what and so on. Further questions targeted his family, family planning, wife, wife's job and how and why she does it. Even questioning her job qualifications and asking for justification. (We are in Germany and such questions are as far as I know illegal, so for me personally, this is a red flag.)

But since this student was highly motivated (by my briefings and talks) he endured those questions and stayed on target. He was offered to begin this or next week, depending on how fast he can quit his old job. Until now, for me its slightly weird, but still acceptable. When I was told this I was happy and wished him good luck.

Shortly later, my student talked again with my ex-boss and was told that there is everything prepared for his arrival. His tasks are organized and planned, the right people were informed and so on. In short, everything was ready to start and he was told, that theoretically he could begin working immediately. But in the same phone call he was also said that the company actually looks for a employer working more than 2 days a week (In Germany you only may work less than 20h/week to count as student, in holiday you may work more. But these are all things that my ex-boss knows and for other students in that company it is absolutely no problem). At this point of my students explaination I thought "What the...". But okay, he was offered a job that is good maybe the situation will relax over time. And they agreed a date to sign the contracts.

At this point the student made a (huge) personal mistake. In his old company he asked for letting go which virtually translates to quitting. Before he signed the new contract.

On the date for contract signing they only did a phone call. My ex-boss refused and said something like "Sorry, I talked with some collegues which returned from vacation and we do not have the capacities to introduce you into the company and its processes. Maybe you can try it again in a few months."

And now, my student lost his old job on my behalf without getting a new one. Yes, I am clear about his mistake of quitting before signing (a mistake he will surely never repeat) and I am also conscious of having no participation in that company, so actually my opinion is not worth a coin. But the behaviour and un-trustworthyness annoys me. When I think about it, I am get ting angry while realizing that my departing was a very good decision.

My actual question is: What can I do to let my ex-boss know that I am not happy about his behaviour? Is it actually worth it?

TL/DR: I recommend a company to one of my students, he gets offered a job, but after quitting his old job he is refused.

  • 2
    What are you hoping to accomplish by letting your ex-boss know you are unhappy about this decision?
    – Erik
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 18:04
  • @JoeStrazzere No, my plan is not to get this student hired. Firstly, I do not want him to put there in clear conscience. Secondly, he does not want to work there, understandably.
    – Skym0sh0
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 18:47
  • 1
    You and the student gain insight at the price of getting both of you in an awkward spot by your previous boss. I do not see anything you can do except saying to your student that you are sincerely sorry. May be you could give the student a written recommendation to help me to find another job.
    – Tom Sawyer
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


What are you going to do, start referring bad students?

There's nothing you can accomplish here that is productive. It's highly unlikely your previous employer is going to care what you think.

I would strongly recommend that you avoid future recommendations for this company.

  • Yeah, avoiding recommendations is what I plan to do.
    – Skym0sh0
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 18:30

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