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June 15, 2015 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good way to refer someone else for a job while turning one down?

If you decide to turn down a good job offer but want to get someone else in the door for the job, is there a good way to phrase your referral?

I feel like you rejecting their offer will make the hiring manager tune out anything else you say. Still, it's worth a shot. Is there anything you can say to refocus the hiring manager on the candidate you want to refer?
posted by ignignokt to Work & Money (4 answers total)
Sure - I've done it twice now, and in both cases it's worked out well for all parties. Just tell them that you're not sure you're the ideal fit in the long run, but that you've done some thinking and you really think someone else you know could be perfect. Give a brief rundown of why they're great for the job. Then ask if they'd be open to an introduction. Thank them again for the offer. The end.
posted by pomegranate at 4:40 PM on June 15, 2015 [7 favorites]

I know that when I was a hiring manager, I (almost) always had a backup and backup-backup hire, so I'd have to be pretty wowed by a resume that I didn't see before 1) hacking through the last pile of resumes, 2) interviewing candidates, 3) vetting my top selections, and 4) making the offer.

That said, if my #1 choice approached me in a forthright manner about why he or she was turning me down, I'd at least look at their recommended person's resume. But like I say, that resume would have a high threshold to clear.
posted by Etrigan at 4:41 PM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

Depends on what you mean by "job". If it's a hiring decision for a specific position, then your recommendation won't matter (they probably already have a stable full of candidates). If it's hiring for a job that's a sort of perpetually-open always looking for good people for the team situation, then it would be a good way to get your friend's resume into the stack, but probably won't go anywhere. If it's contract work that they need done, and your friend can do that for them, then yes, offering them a resource that can get that task done may work out well for everybody. And in all those cases, there's not a right way of phrasing your reply/recommendation that will make it magically work out better, it's either practical for the employer or it's not.
posted by aimedwander at 6:59 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Looks like there's no best way to do this, but the anecdata about it sometimes working and the hiring manager perspectives were both very useful in making it seem less like totally blind territory.

I thanked them and brought up the candidate. They asked me to email them. I could not gauge interest, but at least I know there is a chance it worked.
posted by ignignokt at 11:43 AM on June 16, 2015

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