Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Is It Permissible To Send Someone Who Works For You Out To Interview For Another Job?

I recently received a recommendation for a candidate from the candidate’s supervisor.  It made me ask myself these two questions, “When is it okay for a boss to help and employee to get another job?  Is it even permissible?”

There are two possible explanations for this action.  

The first is that the employee is not doing a good job but the company will not terminate or move her/him so the supervisor is helping her/him to leave.  That is not as uncommon as you may think.  The problem for recruiters or other companies is that when this happens, the supervisor often provides false positive references.

The second circumstance is much more complex.  Generally, it involves a boss who is very humane and aware of his subordinate’s needs.  In the recent circumstances, I was actually sent the résumé by her supervisor who believed that the company was holding her back.  I called him and he told me she was a star, but staying where she is would no longer be adding to her career.  When I interviewed the candidate, I agreed.  I am sure that his company would not be happy with his actions because she is a valued employee.  In only five years, she has gone from entry level to senior account director, now making a salary close to $150k.  But he was looking out for her and her needs.

As he told me, she had been working on the same account for five plus years and really needed to broaden her experience and perspective.  And what he could get for her at their current company was not in line with her needs or expectations.  Her description of why he was doing this was identical to his. 
I thought it was a wonderful and selfless act.

Years ago, I did the same thing for a man who worked for me.  I felt he was so grossly underpaid that it pained me to not be able to get him a significant raise.  He was an account executive who, in those days, was making $30k. The agency would only give him an 8% raise and I felt that $2.4k was out of line with his worth and what he could get on the outside.  It told him to leave and agreed to be a reference.  His next job paid him close to $10k more than he was making.

I don’t often hear of this happening anymore.  It used to be far more common.  But today, everyone is too busy fending for themselves to think about the people they are working with.

Sometimes a good push and a pat on the head is just what a person needs to advance their career.  It is a very decent and unselfish thing for a supervisor to do.


  1. I have done this a few times as well Paul. I once let someone know they had six months to find a new job. Years later, they came back to help me out on a freelance basis for a few months and it worked out beautifully for both of us.

    1. Orson, being nice is always good. And you are right - what goes around, comes around.

  2. Which reminds me of the old saying ... “Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down”.

  3. I've done it 6 times in my career. In 2 cases, they were really nice and capable but a bad fit; got them placed at the Client where they prospered. In another case, the Client hated the AE despite being highly capable; there were no other jobs in the Agency for reassignment. When he landed a new job, I told the Client I was tired of the complaints so I fired him; Client stopped complaining and started treating everyone nice, even the Creatives.


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