Recommended someone for a job who I am now uncomfortable with?
April 21, 2014 5:20 PM   Subscribe

Maybe working with a friend who turned out to be a little less than friend.

A job opened up recently at my company for someone in a role within my department. I would see this person 3-4 times a week, and we would be working on deadlines together, i.e. a lot of communication and physically being in the same room.

I recommended someone I know from about 5 years ago. We were pretty good friends (long distance Facebooky-friends for the last couple years), and I knew he was looking for a job. His interests aligned with the position, and I didn't think he was a perfect fit (lacked a couple of skills, easy to learn on the job though) but thought he might get the job.

He came to stay with me and my fiance the night before the interview because he's from out of town (we're in our mid-to-late 20s, so this is not that unusual). On the first night he was staying with us, he made me very uncomfortable. It seemed like nerves, but he kept glancing at my breasts while talking to me. Also, despite the fact that I tipped him off to the job and we are letting him stay with us, he's been somewhat rude and unpleasant-- I think it's just his social awkwardness, but I wouldn't invite him to stay with me again. In fact, I don't really want to spend any time around him-- he's been acting very smug and sarcastic, different from how he was previously.

He seems different than before and I think he's gone through a few life changes (i.e. used to be very Catholic, now is an atheist) that have maybe changed the way he acts around women. He's "on the market" now and I feel like he's viewing me as a sexual conquest (even though I'm obviously involved with someone) instead of a friend.

I know neither of these are huge transgressions, they are just bad personality to my taste, but I am suddenly filled with dread imagining working with this person into the indefinite future. It turns out he is a competitive candidate, and they are considering him along with another candidate (who I would infinitely prefer both for professional and now personal reasons).

How can I deal with this, practically and mentally? I'm very upset that I may have changed my work environment from a decent one to one where I am on edge. I feel very uncomfortable with this person now and like an idiot for helping him out. Any advice welcome.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could you speak up to the hiring manager and say that, rather unexpectedly, the job opportunity has shown a different side of this individual and that you wanted to tip them off before any decisions were made because of how negative that side is?

I am currently dealing with the repercussions of having helped hire a "friend", too, and I wish that I had tried to renege sooner.
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:23 PM on April 21, 2014 [14 favorites]

Don't make any excuses for him, as he will be dealing with not just you, but others in your work place. Never analyze someone who is exhibiting bad behavior: take it for what it's worth, and like I said, don't excuse it.

Go to the person whom you recommended him and let them know, now. "I referred this person but their behavior has made me question that referral." That's it. No guilt. His behavior is on HIM, not you!!!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:53 PM on April 21, 2014 [31 favorites]

When you get your chance to weigh in, back the other candidate. If anyone asks, say you've gotten to know the person you recommended better and don't think they'd be a good fit.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:55 PM on April 21, 2014

Wow. He can't even behave himself for one night as a guest of the person who might have gotten him a job???

I shudder to imagine what he'd be like on a daily basis.

I like Marie Mon Dieu's answer; it's honest and to the point. Do that. Then if he asks, you can shrug and tell him sorry, just didn't work out.
posted by emjaybee at 6:22 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Going back to the person you recommended him to and saying "I think my recommendation may have been a mistake, he seems like a very different person now, and I don't think he will be a good fit" can only reflect well on you.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:39 PM on April 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

It is better to just go with what the situation is - you've spent time with him recently, and you believe he would no longer be a good fit.
posted by heyjude at 8:05 PM on April 21, 2014

...and as much as we all want to help out people, don't recommend people you know for a job. Ever. This rarely works out well.
posted by kinetic at 5:12 AM on April 22, 2014

I've worked for one company which was very big on internal referrals. It was not uncommon for someone to pull back a referral or say that they thought someone was a bad fit.

Here is your script: "Hey hiring manager, I referred FriendName to you based on an old friendship. When he stayed with us for the interview I realized he's a bad fit for this company and I'd be really uncomfortable working with him. Since I gave you the referral, I wanted to tell you that I no longer recommend him."
posted by 26.2 at 7:23 AM on April 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'd say speak up, but then again, have you met the other candidate? What if that person is a nightmare? At least if you know the guy, you can tell him, "You're acting like an asshole, knock it off!"

But, I don't think it's problematic if you tell the hiring manager, "I recomended Calvin based on who he was a few years ago. After becoming reacquainted, I'm not as bullish on him as I once was. I'm not sure he'd be a good fit here."

Leave it at that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:22 AM on April 22, 2014

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