Today I did a phone interview with a job applicant who spent a good part of the interview telling me why his close friend, who is also applying for a job with us, shouldn’t get it and he should.

The friend, by the way, referred him to the job opening. He repaid him for the favor with statements like this one: “He didn’t do anything last summer except go to Burning Man.”

(Yes, these are recent grads.)

This is not a good strategy.

{ 9 comments… read them below }

  1. Rachel - Employment File*

    You’re right, candidates should avoid trashing other candidates and instead trash their current/former bosses :)

  2. billjw*

    That’s just dumb! And they probably don’t even realise it. Which makes it even …….. Dumber!

  3. HR guru*

    A perfect example of why “Job interviewing techniques 101” should be a mandatory course requirement for any undergraduate college degree!

  4. pandrews*

    Totally laughed out loud at this one! A few months ago I was hiring for a position at a client company. A current employee of the company (we’ll call him Dan) referred a friend of his (we’ll call this one Phil). I did the phone screen – Phil sounded great so I brought him in for a face to face. He did pretty well and was on our short list. Then Dan came and asked when Phil would hear form us. Even though I owe Dan no information, I took the time to assure him that I had promised Phil follow-up by the following week and I expected to stick to that time schedule. Dan then said, “Well the sooner the better, because he is really desperate,” and went on to relate how Phil was in trouble with his live-in lover and needed to find his own place pronto, and he owed some money for some prior unwise purchases, and, and, and….. Dan went on and on about how very badly Phil needed this job and how much he hoped for the chance to be able to work with him and help him turn things around. I’m sure Dan was trying to help Phil, but every thing he said was just like a dart against him. I had a lot of good candidates for this position…not surprisingly, one of them turned out to be a “better match” than Phil. The moral of the story is to be very sure you know how much your friends are saying about you when they refer you!

  5. Anonymous*

    Anyone who would throw their own friend under the bus at their own chance at accelerating is in poor character, if you ask me. I would hire his friend instead!

  6. KT*

    I see this a lot when interviewing internal candidates. Not only does it come off as unprofessional and tacky, they seem to honestly misrepresent where they stand among their competition. For example, if Bob and Steve know they’re up for the same internal promotion, Bob might say “I’m a better team player than Steve and my projects have been more successful.” However when I speak to Bob and Steve’s manager I’ll often hear the opposite is actually true.

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