my company interviewed and rejected my husband — and I’m frustrated

A reader writes:

My company encourages candidate referrals, via informational meetings and hire-on bonuses. So far, I’ve referred three candidates to my job function, the most recent one being my husband. We are a huge, international company with a few other partner couples working here, so that’s definitely not frowned upon. Also, we have several teams of people like me, so if he were hired on we would work on separate teams under different managers, on other sides of the floor.

My husband’s experience and skills make him a fit for this job, more qualified than even me! He interviewed and expressed his interest in moving out of sales (his current job function) and into a more consultative role (what I do). He felt the interview went really well, but ultimately, his interviewers (one of whom is my manager) were split on hiring him for this role; one thought he’d be a great fit, one thought he’d excel in a sales role. Since they were divided, the decision was made to not offer him the job, but to put his resume in the hands of the sales director.

Before referring him, I did a lot of soul searching on what it would be like working with him. Together we discussed strategies on making sure our work and personal lives were kept separate and that our colleagues viewed us as independent, professional people and perhaps coworkers who didn’t know us wouldn’t even know we were a couple. I’m trying really hard to maintain this division of “involvement,” but it’s hard because now I’m discouraged and frustrated. My other referrals were also not offered the job (though my husband honestly was the most qualified), and I’ve heard similar experiences from many other colleagues on the floor. If they’re all not good candidates, then who is?

I recognize my bias here, hence my email to you. Did he tank the interview and this is the nice way of dodging that explanation? Why encourage but then decline our solid referrals? Is there any way of professionally expressing this frustration? If so, to whom? Is there a way to get him reconsidered for that job? (We are growing so they are hiring gobs of people!) I appreciate any insight you can offer. Until then, I will maintain my anonymity in this situation and not let this aggravation color my work interactions.

Well, some positions are really hard to fill — they’re looking for a rare combination of skills, or they want a specific personality type to work with particular clients or a difficult manager, or they need some special skill on top of the stuff they’d normally hire for in that job, or the role just has a really high bar.

And it can be really hard to have an objective perspective on what people you love are like professionally, or how they come across in interviews.

Your company interviewed your husband and decided not to hire him. While it’s natural to wonder why, the best thing you can do is to respect their decision and not let it eat at you — and definitely not push them to reconsider. Pushing for them to reconsider would make everyone uncomfortable and make you look like you’re putting personal bias ahead of your company’s interests, and your credibility will suffer. There’s no real way to say “please reconsider your decision about my husband” while sounding objective and appropriately removed from the situation.

You asked why your company is encouraging referrals but then not hiring them. They want referrals because referrals are often a great way of finding good candidates — but they’re not a guarantee. The fact that someone was referred by a current employee doesn’t mean they’ll definitely be hired. Someone might be a perfectly solid referral and still not quite what the hiring manager is looking for.

You can actually ask about this in a general way, as long as you frame it as wanting to make good referrals and not as wanting to get your husband reconsidered. You could say something like, “Can you help me understand what we’re looking for in the X role? I’ve referred a few people who I thought would be great but they weren’t hired, so I’m wondering if i should be thinking of a different candidate profile.”

And about your frustration: It’s okay to be disappointed that this didn’t work out. But it’s not fair to your colleagues or your company to let it go beyond that, into frustration or aggravation. You mentioned that you put a lot of effort into keeping your personal and professional lives separate and ensuring that you’re operating as independent people, not a unit — which is great. But this is the next part of that! It’s not enough to be independent and separate when things are going well, but to drop that when they’re not. In this case, that means that you shouldn’t be or stay overly invested in your company hiring your husband. He can certainly apply again if he’d like to, but that’s for him to handle on his own. Your part is just to move forward with continued good will for your colleagues from here and not let this get under your skin.

{ 55 comments… read them below }

  1. some1*

    Alison’s last paragraph is what jumped out at me – if you were to act on your frustration, this is *not* keeping your personal and professional lives separate. If you got this upset by him getting turned down for the job, how would it play out if he got hired and got turned down for a promotion down the road, or god forbig ever had to be disiplined or terminated?

    1. LBK*

      Agreed – that last paragraph is really key. If this were a random person you didn’t know that was rejected, would you go to bat for them or feel frustrated on their behalf or inquire about why? I’d assume no, so that’s how you have to proceed when it’s your husband if you want to truly maintain your professionalism and keep the work/life boundaries intact.

  2. The IT Manager*

    LW despite what you explicitly write, I feel like you’re very personally disappointed that your husband did not get the job. You devote a lot of time to explaining that there’s no issue with spouses working at your company, but the feedback on your husband’s application had nothing to do with him being related to you. In fact one of the interviewers feedback was this applicant currently working in sales would do great in sales in our company. I know that’s not what you or your husband wants, but it doesn’t sound like he exactly tanked the interview but that his experience points him towards sales and away from consulting.

    I think perhaps all your soul searching before hand got you really invested in the idea of you two working at the same company once you made your decision to recommend him. You’re taking this much more personally than if a friend had been rejected. That’s only going to hurt you in the long run.

    1. some1*

      Another great point — you mentioned your husband wants to move out of sales into a consultant role. Even if your husband has done consulting in the past, and even if he wowed them, some hiring managers just don’t want to take a chance on someone who isn’t currently doing the same role.

    2. Sunflower*

      OP, why do you think the company is lying to you? Your husband works in sales, they think he would be good in sales. Why would that seem odd to you? Also, you keep saying your husband is qualified. I’m not saying he’s not but he works in sales now, not consulting. Maybe they want someone who already works in consulting for the role. It just seems a little odd that you are so convinced he is right for a role that he doesn’t currently work in…

      I’m getting this- OP and her husband thought the job would be perfect for him rather than him perfect for the job. Sounds like you thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get him into a consulting role so you’re super bummed he didn’t get it(and I’d be bummed too!) But bummed is it. You feel it, you let it go and you continue working. I agree with Allison you can approach your manager about how to make sure you are referring the right people for the right job but steer clear from mentioning this particular case which will only make you look like unprofessional.

      1. Rose*

        The same thing jumped out at me. If your husband is currently in sales, he is by definition not more qualified for a consulting position than someone who is currently in consulting. (He might be more qualified than you were when you were hired, but times and needs change. ) It seems like you might be (understandably) struggling to remain objective.

        You wrote the first half of your letter about being so professional and separate that no one would even know you were a couple. Try to look at this objectively. This is the exact opposite of that.

  3. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

    The company asked for input on potential candidates to interview, and did not ask for input on the final hiring decision. Asking employees for input is a good thing, but there are rough spots, and this is an example of that.

    Part of getting input from your employees (without demoralizing them) is to be clear about what you’re going to do with that input. Are you going to take their advice no matter what? Take it into account when you decide? Ask them so that you can be aware of who they are feeling, even it won’t change your decision? In this case, it sounds like they did consider your input by offering your husband and interview, but then they decided he wasn’t the best candidate. The final decision was up to the hiring manager. That’s par for the course – it’s not reasonable to expect that a manager who asks for input will necessarily do exactly the thing that the employee suggested.

    Also, realize that there were possibly other candidates who were referred by current employees, and they can only hire one person for that position. It does sound like they liked him since they passed his resume along.

  4. Person*

    Married people at the same company: I had to deal with this recently and it was not good. On the surface they kept it professional, but the husband and I used to talk a lot, and he kind of told me things about his wife I wouldn’t like if I was the wife. The wife refuses to say hello or make eye contact with me but is very friendly with everyone else around me – literally will engage in giggly conversations with people on either side of my desk, and walk by me and snub my attempts to say hello. I don’t blame her really for not liking the peron her husband was talking to a lot and once or twice, borderline complaining about her to. But it puts me in an uncomfortable position, at work, where I’m trying to have good professional relationships with colleagues and instead am on the losing side of a popularity war.
    So, even if it seems to be working out great, often it isn’t but nobody wants to get involved in a ‘situation’ by complaining.
    People who are thinking of doing it, just please don’t. It sucks for the person who gets unwittingly caught up in it.

    1. some1*

      Ugh, I’ve had coworkers’ wives give me the side-eye when they visited the office; I can’t imagine how much worse it’d be if teh wife was my coworker, too.

      Yeah, this is like kind of like the assertion, “I am BFFs with my boss and it’s hunky-dory!”

      It may very well be fine for the people in question, but for the coworkers around them it might be anything but. I have worked with two married couples who made me uncomfortable. One was too lovey-dovey and the other one fought it front of people. They both tended to monoploize group social discussions so the subject was about *their* life when they were together.

    2. Snarkus Aurelius*

      My friend worked for a married couple who ran a research division. Not only would this couple fight openly, they would intentionally give staff instructions that would contradict what the other one said to do.

      I think she still has nightmares.

    3. Holly Olly Oxen Free*

      But many married couples can work together just fine. I’ve worked with a lot of married couples and 80% of the time it was a non-issue. Many times I was even shocked to find out two people were married who I had been working with for a long time. Occasionally there are some issues, but that is an issue with those people, not with married people in general. Chances are those people behave inappropriately in other ways as well, even when their spouse isn’t around. Also, there are plenty of single people who make people uncomfortable in the office. We read about them on here all the time.

      1. Holly Olly Oxen Free*

        Meant to write 90%. 80% is a weird figure. Obviously, I don’t know actual statistics on this. LOL

      2. fposte*

        Yeah, we have 4-5 married couples in our smallish building alone. Granted, it’s a lot more common in academics, but it doesn’t seem to blow up with any particular frequency. Mostly it’s a concern when they’re a power couple with a voting bloc.

      3. Anonymous Educator*

        I’d actually say, in my experience, married couples working together have all been fine (I’ve worked with about three others, and my spouse and I have worked together a couple of times). Just act professional, and it’s cool.

    4. Sue Wilson*

      I guess I don’t understand. Did you shut this down the first time he decided to talk to you about his wife? If he keeps going beyond what you wished to talk about or appropriate boundaries even after you talked to him, did you note this to his manager? That probably would have helped this situation now.

      Which is to say, the problem is not the wife-husband relationship, the problem is the husband is inappropriate with you.

  5. TotesMaGoats*

    I would want to know how many referrals actually get hired at all. Maybe they are saying they want referrals to say they want referrals but rarely hire them. Or maybe people are just bad at gauging whether their friends really are a good fit for the positions. .

    1. Colette*

      It would be weird to ask for referrals but not use them in some way – that seems like a good way to annoy your employees and lose credibility with them.

      It’s possible the employees aren’t good at understanding whether their friends would be a good fit, but it’s also possible that they’re a good fit but someone else is better.

    2. Koko*

      At my company there’s a hefty referral bonus and a staff of several hundred competing to get it for every open position that’s posted. As you might imagine, there are a lot of referrals, and most of them don’t get hired.

      1. Koko*

        (And a few that have been hired – it’s just a numbers game when 20 out of 500 employees all refer someone for 1 open position.)

    3. fposte*

      It’s a lot of work to screen and interview people, though, so I’d be surprised if they were willing to do all that labor just for show.

    4. TeacherRecruiter*

      This is a common misconception we struggle with. Many of our employees struggle to really know what we’re looking for (despite the fact they themselves were hired and are great). We receive about 500 referrals a year, and hire about 60 of those.

      Unfortunately we frequently get questions and pushback from employees who want to know why their friend wasn’t hired (feedback that I’m certainly not passing along to an employee when I’m not even giving feedback to the candidate). It can be frustrating, but a natural consequence of having an employee referral program.

  6. Sans*

    Just because he didn’t get the job, doesn’t mean he tanked the interview. He might have been fantastic … but someone else was a bit better, or more of what they specifically wanted. Since one interviewer thought he was great, you know he did well. And I’m sure it’s frustrating for him to want to move out of sales, only to be told “you’d be great in a sales position!” But that’s the way it goes — a lot — and you have to stay out of it when it comes to his job. Heck, any chance they’d hire him in the future would be shot if you started pressing them to reconsider now.

    1. Pokémon Trainer*

      Yeah, I agree with this. I think it relates to something Alison often says– great candidates miss out on offers all the time. It’s not a slight on that person’s character, but a reflection that a different candidate was a slightly better fit for the role (for whatever reason).

    2. Meg Murry*

      Yes, this. And maybe his way out of sales might be by taking a sales job first with your company, and then re-applying for something in the consulting department in a few years. Its not ideal, but making the switch from one field to another often isn’t ideal for a number of reasons.

  7. CaliCali*

    This reads a bit like the OP and her husband put the proverbial cart before the horse, and emotionally invested in a potential outcome — them both working together — and, now that it’s moot, she feels like all of their work has been for nothing. The fact is that despite his qualifications, he wasn’t recommended for the next stage, and that’s not a personal reflection on him OR her for her referral.

  8. Allison*

    OP, whether you admit it or not, whether you want it to be true or not, you do have a bias in this situation. Not only do you want your husband to succeed because you love him, but because his career success (or lack therof) is will have an impact on both your livelihoods. Keep that in mind if you ever do bring this up with the hiring manager.

    That said, since he was a referral, and it’s important that referrals are actually qualified for the jobs they’re being submitted for, it may not hurt to ask for some clarification as to what they’re looking for in this specific hire. Sure, you say they’re looking for someone to do what you do, but they might want someone with a specific skill, maybe a skill no one else on the team has yet.

    Also, your husband could have done really well in the interview and he could have had ALL the skills the hiring manager is looking for, but maybe he just didn’t mesh with the team interviewing him.

  9. Interviewer*

    I would not communicate that disappointment to your employer or have any follow-up conversations with the hiring team. They are far more likely to ignore your referrals if they know that you will complain about them not being hired.

    I have typically given a courtesy interview to internal referrals, but for the most part, they are not stellar candidates. They are friends or relatives or beloved former co-workers, and the referring party’s blinders are totally on. Sometimes they even try to shield a spotty work history or excuse a termination that “wasn’t their fault.” I have one stellar success story from a referral in 15 years of hiring. Just one. I am sure there are more out there, but this is not a solid pipeline of candidates in my experience.

    1. Marcy*

      I agree with you on this one. I don’t even have one success story- much less a stellar one. They have all turned out bad. It sucks to have to fire someone who is the son of the guy in the department across the hall or the best friend of one of your own staff, etc. I just don’t do it anymore. If I worked for an employer that encouraged employee referrals, I would do the courtesy interview but that candidate would not get any other extra consideration from me.

    2. Green*

      I think what some employee-referrers miss the boat on is that what employers really want is access to your *professional* networks, not your friends, family, or neighbors. In particular, in the professions (where referrals, and hiring referrals, are really common) they want access to your law school network or business school network. Those people may also be your friends, but that’s neither here nor there for the employer.

  10. A Bug!*

    Re: frustration/disappointment

    This sort of came up in the letter last week about mixed messages from interviewers. In both cases the writer was faced with an unexpected disappointment that they felt the employer didn’t do enough to properly telegraph in advance.

    It really underscores the importance of keeping your own expectations in check during a hiring process, because it’s not the employer’s responsibility to qualify every positive statement with a patronizing “…but we still haven’t made a decision yet, so it’s possible we’ll choose another candidate.”

  11. TCO*

    OP, your husband still has a chance at future employment with your company–he interviewed well, his resume was passed along, and you’re hiring a lot of new people. If you express any bitterness or negativity about him being rejected this time, you’ll probably sabotage any chance he has at being hired down the road. It will send the clear message that you’re not capable of being neutral, that you’ll bring your personal life to work, and that you’ll be overinvolved in his future dealings (like promotions or reprimands) at the company. That will not only harm your husband’s future prospects at the company, but your own as well.

    I understand your frustration, but you need to work really, really hard to get over your hurt and adopt a neutral and pleasant attitude about this. Fake it if you must. Your workplace needs to see that you respect the leadership’s decisions and that you care about the best interests of the company, not your spouse. Even if you think the company made a mistake, it was their decision to make, and you can’t possibly know every factor or candidate that influenced their decision.

    Expressing your frustration will only put both you and your husband’s careers at risk.

  12. BRR*

    “Why encourage but then decline our solid referrals?”

    First, companies reject good or even great candidates all the time. Have you ever been on the hiring side? Sometimes the 2nd choice would be great for the position just the first choice would be better. Interviewing him is putting faith in your referral. You want to know who is good enough? Have you looked at the people they are hiring? Do they have certain personality traits or qualifications?

    Second, personal referrals are a little different for obvious reasons.

    I’m wondering if you’re possibly upset about your husband being rejected (especially after a split hiring decision) or not getting the referral bonus?

  13. Retail Lifer*

    Do you feel slighted that they’re not giving your referrals enough consideration? Referrals don’t necessarily get better consideration in the hiring process. They still have to go through the same processes and jump through the same hoops as any other candidate, so don’tget your hopes up too much. Giving a referred candidate preference over another candidate isn’t much different than one who saw the job listing on and one that saw it on

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’d say it depends on what kind of work the company does and how their referral process works. I’ll absolutely give weight to a referral because I know that the referral is coming from someone who (a) has a reasonably high bar (by virtue of being someone who we hired) and (b) has a stronger understanding of what we’re looking for than someone outside the organization usually would.

      1. Retail Lifer*

        Definitely true, especially coming from someone that you know and trust. I think people often expect their referrals to carry more weight than they actually do, though. If an executive or someone you work closely with and know well makes a recommendation, you’re likely to take it. But when you’re a small cog in a large machine, your recommendation often doesn’t mean much. That’s not right, of course, but it happens.

  14. Mike C.*

    Back when I was looking for a job, there was nothing more frustrating than perfectly matching my educational/job experience with the ad and never hearing back. I think what happens sometimes is that there’s already someone in mind, the hiring manager doesn’t exactly know or can exactly describe what they need or a candidate comes along who has something they didn’t know they wanted until it showed up to a job interview.

    It really sucks, and I hated it every time it happened. Then I got hired someone I never thought would be interested in my skills and I haven’t looked back since.

    Best of luck to you and your husband – the economy is turning around and it’s starting to get easier.

    1. College Career Counselor*

      Re: already someone in mind–saw this possibly happen today. Academic staff posting hit the internet this morning (5/4), closes Wednesday. That’s unusual enough to make me think that they already have the person in mind, so no matter how good your credentials are, you’re unlikely to move forward.

  15. SLG*

    OP, I also recommended my husband for a position at my company, and like you, we talked long and hard about whether we were OK with working at the same place before I ever put in the referral. I can understand doing that ahead of time because you don’t want to go through a whole interview process before deciding “wait, I don’t want to work with my spouse.” And I think that process of soul-searching naturally gives you more of an investment in the outcome than you would with another referral.

    Also like you, my company is always asking employees to refer candidates for positions (they even offer big referral bonuses). And also like you, my husband didn’t get hired. I confess, it stung — even though I was completely committed to being impartial about the whole thing. So I can understand the emotions involved.

    However, I’d echo Allison’s advice: you really never know exactly what a hiring manager/team is looking for, and expressing even the slightest disappointment at work will do more harm than good. (I never did and I’m glad I didn’t.) Funny enough, my husband later got hired by another great company, and has gotten accolades for being very good at the thing my company said he wasn’t good enough at. :-) I chalk the whole thing up to serendipity, and I’m secretly glad I don’t know who the hiring manager was so I’m not tempted to say “I told you so.”

    All that to say, just because your company wasn’t a good fit doesn’t mean there’s no other good place out there. I’m sure there’s a place that needs and will recognize your husband’s talents!

    1. Lady Sybil*

      A similar situation happened to me too and it felt just awful. I’ll never forget that double whammy of the man I love being rejected from a company I respect. I think it would have hurt less if I was the one rejected. So I get it. It’s hard not to take it personally but this is definitely the time for the stiff upper lip until you adjust. Focus on maintaining composure and distance yourself from this at work. I can’t imagine how you could address this in a way that would help you or your husband at all. Trying to convince yourself that you are totally objective is a waste of energy that you might better spend supporting your husband in his job search. It sounds like he did a great job by the way and it definitely comes across that you believe in him. He needs to keep hearing that right now, but indignation probably won’t help much (at least not after the initial satisfying vent of course). Good luck to you both!

  16. Oui*

    Yes, OP is clearly disappointed about her husband’s specific situation, but it sounds like no one’s referrals are getting hired and that’s a problem for the company. You can’t expect your employees to be out there talking the place up and identifying good, qualified people if they know literally none of them will get hired. Any stream of applicants from employee referrals will dry up and people will feel resentful and/or burned.

    Either the company needs to do a better job of communicating to its people what they want in a referral or they need to look at their hiring process and see why they’re eliminating so many solid applicants.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      But most companies eliminate loads of solid applicants, because they can’t hire them all. I’ve never had a hiring process where I didn’t reject lots of solid candidates.

    2. Joey*

      solid to whom? The op seems to think her husband was a sure thing because they’re hiring “gobs” of people and he’s “the most qualified” out of the others she’s referred.

      Remember, and no offense to the op, but that’s pretty relative and highly subjective. And even though she thinks he may be more qualified than her that’s also highly subjective.
      If we always hired the “most qualified” there’d be no reason to interview now would there?

  17. Not So NewReader*

    There can be a connection between spouses that causes pain to magnify. For example, if you called my husband a nasty name, I might get more angry than if you called me the same name. It’s the bond between the spouses.

    Next thing to realize is that you don’t ever get any where if you do not take risks. Each time we put out a job app we are taking a risk that we might get rejected. Your hubby took a risk by applying and so did YOU. Because he is your spouse what happens to him more or less happens to you, also.

    Put these two things together: You BOTH took a risk when your husband applied at your company. In some ways it might have been easier if they rejected your application, rather than make you watch them reject HIS application. You guys took a chance. Perhaps now it feels like they rejected a part of YOU. Well, yeah, our spouses do become a part of us. But companies don’t process things that way- they see you and your husband as separate individuals. Did you ever have a friend that you loved very much but the friend had a sibling that you steered clear of? It had nothing to do with the friend, right? This is a lighter situation in that the company did not dislike your husband they just wanted to put him in sales which he does not want to do. (I don’t blame him! I’d want to move on also.)

    So, how to frame this so you can move on. One of the things I always thought about with couples working at the same place is that if the company went under, then both spouses would be unemployed at the same time. It’s like putting all your eggs in one basket. I have felt this way for decades and the recent down turn in the economy seems to boost this idea in my mind. It’s just my opinion and, of course, the point is debatable.

    Just like you want to spread out where you put your money (savings, house, education), I think it’s probably not a bad idea to spread out where you get your money FROM. I am not saying you guys had a bad idea with both of you working for the same company- no, no- I am saying that in the future it may bear out that it works for you, not against you. Some of my biggest disappointments in life eventually bore out to be in my favor. Even though, I did not think so at the time.

    Time can be very kind in some instances. Decide to give it time. It could be that he finds a better paying job and he gets that job. Or it could be that you find out his boss-to-be at your company is a certified jerk. This could go a lot of different ways, but you will only know in time.

    1. Lady Sybil*

      This is a really helpful post, I’m not the OP but I’m still a little raw from a similar experience. What an unexpected boost :)

  18. Authoria*

    I’m an author, and though it sounds odd if you’re not used to the field, the standard way to get a literary agent is to write a query letter pitching your book — no phone calls, no long explanations — and waiting for the agent to get back to you on whether they’d like to see more.

    Because interactions between agents and authors are limited by this format, aspiring authors scrub the internet for info on what certain agents are looking for.

    In an interview, an agent might say “I’m looking for a quirky SF novel about sentient teapots.” Author then immediately queries agent, “I have a novel about sentient teapots! Their names are Augusta and Delacroix! It’s set in space but there are also dragons! Do you want to read it??” Agent says, “No thanks.”

    Aspiring authors in this situation sometimes go ballistic. “But you said you wanted a novel about sentient teapots! And then you rejected mine! YOU LIED.”

    Just because the agent wants a novel about sentient teapots doesn’t mean they want EVERY novel about sentient teapots. You can’t take it personally.

  19. Stranger than fiction*

    I’m sorry I missed this convo yesterday. Op, if you’re stil checking back let me say I can totally relate and it is frustrating. I too have referred 3 people in four years and they didn’t hire any of them – one I think looked too overqualified on paper and think they were afraid she’d leave (I had told my friend to dumb down her resume a bit because it was all management roles and I know half of them were exaggerations, but she didn’t) the second one the hiring manager wanted to have back for a second interview but then we had a hiring freeze and she moved on to something else and the third was recently and really pissed me off – she was perfectly qualified and both HR and the hiring manager loved her and wanted to make her an offer , but when she came back for the second interview and met with the VP (who wouldn’t even be interacting with her hardly) vetoed the whole thing and said no way!! I was dumbfounded and she gave some stupid excuse about her personality not fitting in ( my friend has a slight accent and is bilingual which we desperately need here!) im still trying to shake it. But I don’t show it at work.

  20. LW/OP*

    Thank you all for your insights! A few things, if I may. Absolutely agree with NOT saying anything at work. That was my instinct, but sought AAM’s advice anyway. Our culture here is a strange blend of west coast, laid-back, start-up type attitude mixed with huge, international corporation, suits and all. That tends to blur the lines of formality and hierarchy.

    I think commenters left in similar situations have hit the nail on the head. I do indeed have a stronger connection to him, hence taking it a bit personal. I think we also did put the cart before the horse during our exercise of “could we work together? What does that look like?” We really put ourselves in that spot to envision any challenges.

    Getting clarification on what our recruiters are looking for is excellent advice, addressing the larger issue at hand. I stated my role as sort of consulting, but maybe it’s more account management with a very specific clientele. Husband has direct experience with said clientele, something a lot of other people in my role don’t have. Current employees in my role are a very diverse spread of background and experience; anyone from right out of college to having 20+ years in franchise ownership/management and everything in-between and tangentially related, or not related at all (yes, it’s that broad). Almost no rhyme or reason, with the exception of the few skills that bind us all together: the ability to easily talk to people, build relationships, and over-come objections. Husband’s experience with our clientele plus sales background (read: relationships and overcoming objections) made him seem like a perfect fit. Additionally, I know we’re not hiring just ONE more person for this role; more like 15, so it’s hard to imagine them targeting a specific personality or skill. Clarification will be MOST helpful! Obviously I’m not the only one missing the mark on referrals.

    Any thoughts on how to seek said clarification? I would think waiting for another referral encouragement meeting, but it’s hard to say when that might happen.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it’s fine to approach whoever is managing the hiring for that role and use the wording I suggested in my second-to-last paragraph.

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