offering a finder’s fee for help finding a job, banning significant others from work events, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I’ve found my jobs by offering finder’s fees to acquaintances

I’ve found my best jobs through offering “finder’s fees” of $1,000-$2,000 to acquaintances who put my resume in the hands of a hiring manager and get me a job. It has also made the job search process very quick!

However, are these inducements ethically dubious, and does one risk looking desperate or, well, sleazy, by offering them?

To me, it would look desperate to the point of being a turn-off, because it feels like you’re saying you don’t trust your skills and experience to speak for themselves. I suppose it’s possible that there’s some industry out there where this won’t read that way, but I’d feel pretty icky about being on the receiving end of that request.

And really, if I think you’re a good candidate, I’m going to connect you regardless — I don’t need to be paid to do it. And if I don’t think you’re strong enough to connect, the offer of money isn’t going to change that. I suppose the argument is that it gets people thinking more about who they could connect you with than they’d otherwise do … but it still feels pretty off.

And if I were the hiring manager who was connected with you that way, I’d feel icky about that too.

I’m hesitant to tell you to stop doing something that’s working for you, but it’s worth considering if you might be changing the way people perceive you in the process.

2. Banning significant others from attending work events

We have an issue with an employee who has boyfriend who is overly jealous and short tempered. We also have a girlfriend of another employee who is acting in the same manner. My question to avoid the fighting that has been occurring at the company events is this: Can we add a stipulation in our employment contract forbidding significant others of our employees to attend the events, or be on work premises while the employee is on the clock?

The employees do not want their spouses there because of the fights and embarrassment they cause, but are afraid to tell them they can’t come. They have asked if we could do this, and it does seem it would be beneficial to both the company and the employee.

Sure, you could. But then you’re potentially going to be inconveniencing other employees whose significant others behave appropriately and don’t deserve to be banned because of two people who are badly behave. I’d recommend that you instead simply say that these particular two people aren’t welcome anymore since they’ve caused disruption. If it’s uncomfortable for your two employees to tell their partners that … well, there’s a reason that’s uncomfortable, but it’s a logical consequence.

3. Should I confront this hiring manager?

I have recently been promoted as a manager for a small company’s IS department. I like my job and the people I work with, but in all honesty, I could be getting paid a little more for what I do. Recently, I applied for a network administrator position with a larger company. The job would have been a little more than what I am making now and had tuition reimbursement for certifications so I figured I’d give it a shot. I went through three interviews and it seemed like I had a great chance at the job.

Last week, however, I got a call from the hiring manager. He told me that they had decided to “go with someone else” but that I shouldn’t be discouraged because, as he said, titles do mean a lot. He said that he was reluctant to hire me as this would probably have “destroyed my resume” and he would have felt guilty taking a newly promoted manager away from a company.

He recommended that I stay in my current position for about two years to beef up my resume and then move on. I was also given the assurance that if I ever needed a job to not ever be afraid to look him up (I bit my tongue. After all, I did need a job and so that’s why I applied for the position he turned me down for).

Anyway, a few days later I couldn’t help but notice that same job application was back up online. It had the same verbiage, a pure cut and paste, only this time with a different job title. ​I am kind of wondering if I should confront the hiring manager about this as it seems quite odd. Thoughts?

I don’t know that there’s anything to gain by confronting him about it. There are lots of possible explanations here — including that the reposting you saw was done before they hired someone or that signals were just crossed somewhere. Or that it’s truly a different job in the organization, perhaps for a different division or something, who knows. Or it’s possible that he sucks at rejecting people and gave you a weird cover story rather than the real reason. Who knows. But he told you pretty clearly that he’s not going to hire you right now, so I’d just take that part of it at face value and move on.

4. Following up on a writing sample

I’m in the running for a job essentially being created for me as a writer. I’ve had a phone interview, an in-person interview, and then they asked me for a writing sample to help seal the deal. I sent it on Friday. Late Sunday night I got word that they had yet to look at it, but were looking forward to reading it Monday. I want to be patient, but at the same time, I’d like to know what they think of it. How long should I give them before sending an inquiry?

You probably don’t need to follow up at all; when they want to get in touch, they will. But if you really want to follow up, I’d give it 8-10 business days (not regular days) from when you sent it. Hiring moves a lot more slowly than candidates want it to.

5. Applying for jobs from a current work email address

I’m a PhD student in the UK based at a research institute instead of a university. As part of my PhD program, I have to undertake a three-month internship. I’ve been sending off internship applications using my institute email address, but have just come across your article “not a good idea: applying for jobs from your current work email address.” Have I just been shooting myself in the foot?

As a student, this is a little different. I wouldn’t worry too much about it looking bad it in your case. That said, it’s still a better idea to send job-search correspondence from your personal email address because that way you’re assured continued access to it. If you for some reason were kicked out of your research institute tomorrow or otherwise lost access to that email account (it closed, their IT staff had some sort of breakdown, or who knows what), you wouldn’t have any way to get replies to the emails you’ve sent out. For that reason and the ones I described in the post you linked to, you’re better off using your personal email. There’s no downside to it, and plenty of benefits.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 249 comments… read them below }

  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#2, are your employees afraid to talk to their partners because of DV concerns, or because they don’t want to have to tell their partners they’re not allowed to attend events because they cause fights? If it’s the former, then I think the approach should be way different from the latter. But I’m going to assume it’s the second issue—discomfort with having a difficult conversation.

    It raised my eyebrows to read that not one, but two, partners are so jealous and short-tempered that they’ve caused fights at events hosted by their SO’s employer. Maybe this is industry-specific, but it sounds pretty out there (unless we’re talking about teenagers, but I hesitate to malign teenagers that way).

    This situation is a really good example of not adopting a policy to get around having to confront bad actors. Honestly, if you wanted to exclude just those two bad actors, you could. They now have a history of causing disturbances and otherwise endangering people, and you’re not a government—you don’t have to justify why they’re not allowed to participate. Of course all of this also depends on what these events entail. If the company would prefer no SOs for programmatic reasons, then there’s no harm in banning their attendance. But if this is a roundabout way to address two out of control people, I would opt for dealing with the out of control people directly.

    1. MadGrad*

      Agreed. No one is ever happy when the teacher keeps everyone after class because two people were being disruptive, and the irritation always goes to the teacher before the disruptive students. This is the same in most scenarios. Don’t sacrifice everyone’s morale to avoid conflict with two people.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I note the phrase “Or be on work premises when the employee is on the clock.” So maybe it’s a broader problem with dropping into the office/store/dungeon?

        It would really help to know the field or events to picture what’s going on– maybe it’s an event planning agency, and so they are putting on local festivals and concerts that family often attend, but the employees are on the clock working the event? Or if they live somewhere warm, I guess they could have quarterly company picnics rather than annual?

    2. Daisy*

      On the other hand, if they’re having so many ‘bring your spouse’ events that this problem is coming up regularly (it’s pretty remarkable it’s come up twice), I think it would be perfectly reasonable to cut down on those. Nowhere I’ve worked had frequent parties that non-employees came to, it’s not essential. No need to write it in a contract though, just tell everyone it’s employees only.

      1. Anna*

        If inviting spouses to events is part of their culture, it doesn’t make sense to shift the whole culture when addressing the problem of two specific people. It’s solving an issue that doesn’t actually exist.

    3. Tempest*

      To be honest in the last three places I’ve worked, the policy has always been work parties were for work staff only. Unless you’re such a long serving, close team that everyone knows each other’s spouse, what does it add to the event to have everyone split into couples? I’ve never been that put out not to be allowed to bring my husband to a work party. It was well known at my places of work that it was staff only due to people getting drunk which loosened lips and caused fights when it came out that staffer A was sleeping with staffer B even though both had spouses C and D who were now all confronting each other in a drink fueled feud at the Christmas party. I guess sometimes it is easier to just prevent the possibility than try to control grown ups making ill advised sexual decisions in the workplace.

      My husband’s company used to do a big Christmas party for staff and their partner but it cost a fortune, it was always hosted in some stately hotel where they provided the rooms and meals and drinks. As it was overnight I can understand why they invited partners. But I wouldn’t have been fussed if they’d done it employees only. I’d just hope they’d have framed it as a cost thing, and due to there being a lot of talking shop that partners don’t need to be subjected to.

      So from my point of view I can absolutely see it making sense to just ban the offenders if that makes more sense to the company. But if you look at the situation and decide it makes more sense to just make the events staff only, I don’t think that would be that unusual either. And I’m generally the first one saying don’t discipline the group for the transgressions of one member of staff. I think if you do want future events to be staff only it would be important to frame it in the reasons why it makes sense that don’t include because Sally and Fergus have partners who make an ass of themselves at every event. Maybe to keep the group more manageable, to keep the cost down so it can be a better event, something like that rather than draw attention to the two significant others who make a show of themselves. I think it would also be fair enough to pull Sally and Fergus one on one and tell them that due to the unruly way their partners behave at corporate events, they are no longer welcome on company property and that includes any after hours events to which other partners might be welcome but cutting down on the number of partners included events if there are lots doesn’t seem that unreasonable either.

      1. Liane*

        Sally and Fergus don’t need to be told their SOs aren’t welcome; per OP, they told the company they didn’t want to bring them. Sally and Fergus feel it would be easier to tell Fighters, “You can’t come, because News Rules” rather than, “You can’t come because you act like a jerk.”

        1. Lily Rowan*

          Sally and Fergus don’t have to tell their partners the New Rules are that just they can’t go, do they?

          1. KR*

            That’s what I’m thinking. If they’re in bad relationships where it might cross over into DV territory, could OP agree that the employees direct any questions to OP and OP covers for them?

          2. Karen D*

            Depends on how Sally and Fergus are connected to the larger group. In our workplace, spouses/partners/etc. have many layers of interconnection – I’m Facebook friends with many of my co-workers’ spouses. All kinds of social events end up on that platform, from formal work get-togethers to various assortments of people going to baseball games, having backyard BBQs, meeting for drinks, etc.

      2. Observer*

        If a company decides to cut down on the number of events, or the attendance of SO’s because of finances or some other reason that makes sense to them, I agree with you that it’s no big deal. But doing this to keep one or two specific SOs out of the place is just the wrong approach.

      3. Turquoise Cow*

        Honestly, I wouldn’t want to go to my husband’s work events, if he had them. Even though he talks about his coworkers, I don’t know them, and they end up either talking shop or referencing events I wasn’t there for, so I end up feeling left out. Occasionally we’ll have dinner with some colleagues of his, and a good part of the dinner is shop talk, which because he’s in tech and I’m not, I don’t really understand, although the amount of it varies. I don’t think he’d really want to come to my work events either, for similar reasons. Also, neither of us works very close to home, or close to the other, so it’s usually an inconvenience to get their.

        Unless the event is specifically a more community thing, anything more than a holiday/end of the year party shouldn’t require spouses. And even those are questionable.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, it depends on the event. I’ve attended Christmas parties where spouses / SOs were welcome. When I lived in California, an ex’s company paid for a party/trip to the Boardwalk, which was fun–as was a family-oriented picnic at the city park a factory in my hometown threw for its employees. Both events had other stuff for attendees to do besides network and talk shop. But a sit-down dinner with a bunch of people you don’t know is boring and awkward.

        2. Anna*

          That’s not the issue, though. The OP isn’t asking how to start excluding SOs when they’ve regularly invited them; the OP is asking how to prevent two problem SOs from attending because of their disruptions. This isn’t really a conversation about how appropriate it is to bring any SO to a work party or what the policy for SOs is in general. For all we know, the culture of their company is that SOs attend all large functions and most everyone is fine with that.

          1. Turquoise Cow*

            I was responding to Tenpest’s comment which was questioning the need for spousal involvement in work events at all. Not that misbehavior by a few should cause such a thing, but if it is such an issue, I would wonder why anyone outside of employees is being invited anyway. Obviously, I don’t know the situation the OP is in, but maybe it’s a good idea to question the original policy of spousal attendance invites drama.

            Sorry if anyone thinks this is derailing the thread.

    4. Koko*

      Yes, PLEASE tell these two jerks that their behavior is so out of bounds that they are banned from company events. Do not muddle it in a blanket policy. People who behave this way deserve to be told how out of line they are and should not be shielded from the consequences of their behavior. Their actions are bad and they should feel bad.

    5. Whats In A Name*

      My first thought was that this had to be food service in a college town….for two employees to have SO’s acting this way. I only say this from experience and seeing at least one fight per event in the parking lot wherever we’d have our picnics/holiday parties, etc.

      Regardless, I do think punishing the masses for 2 people isn’t the right approach. I would go with banning these specific employees and letting the spouses deal with the messaging. I know OP is concerned but if it’s not a DV situation I am strongly in the corner of work staying out of personal relationship dynamics as much as possible.

    6. Hey Nonnie*

      Yeah… if your employees have literally said they are “afraid to tell them they can’t come” I’d be looking into referring them to some domestic violence resources. Fear has no place in a relationship — plus this is already having an impact on their professional life as well as their personal one.

      I think a really honest conversation with these two employees is in order. Offer to put them in touch with resources. Also offer, if they feel it’s necessary/they are legitimately fearful, to play the “bad guy” here. Next time these problem spouses show up, be prepared to take them aside and tell them yourself that they are not welcome on the premises ever again. If you have a security team, have them ready to escort them out. If not, be ready to call the police. If they don’t leave as soon as you tell them they’re not welcome, they are trespassing.

      If these people are causing actual, threatening or violent fights in public places (including verbal violence like namecalling, accusations, demeaning/humiliation tactics, gaslighting, etc.), I would have serious concerns about how they behave behind closed doors.

      1. Hey Nonnie*

        Of course, if you have this conversation with these employees and it turns out they’re not actually afraid — AND the fights are non-violent, just disruptive (certainly fear and abuse can make you want to downplay how bad things are) — I’d just tell them it’s their responsibility to keep personal drama out of the workplace. If they don’t anyway, you’re still within your rights to kick whoever you want out yourself.

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#4, I’m really impressed that they responded to you on Sunday night. I would give them at least a work week, if not longer, to follow up with you—in work days, they’ve only had your writing sample for a little over 48 hours.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      And indeed the LW seems to recognise that being patient and finding out what they think are mutually exclusive.

      It’s courteous of them to let you know they received it. You now need to wait, however excruciating that is! Good luck.

    2. OP#4*

      I received a reply to talk about the position at about the same time that Alison had emailed me to say she was posting my question! Anyway, things continue to look good, but I’ll know more after today’s conversation.

      I do wonder if smaller companies move faster. My last experience with a giant Corp went very slowly due to freezes and whatnot, but ultimately it worked out fine.

      I’ll update again later once I have more info.

      1. Owl*

        Yes, smaller companies absolutely move faster. There are fewer people to consult; they can just make a decision and be done with it.

        1. Koko*

          And if they’re *really* small, they might be more incentivized to move quickly because one vacant position represents a substantial percentage of their workforce and it’s hard to keep the business running at 4/5 strength or 3/4 strength for very long.

          My last gig was at a 4-person operation. I gave a month’s notice, we immediately posted my job, made someone in offer within about 2 weeks and she started a week later so she had 3 days of overlap for me to train her as much as I could. I honestly am not sure how the org would have gotten by if my position had been vacant for even a week…a lot of things would have suffered (including the other 3 employees), I’m sure.

          1. TootsNYC*

            also, I find when people really like the candidate, there’s incentive to move quickly, or to review their things quickly.

      2. CM*

        I think it can vary — small companies can be slow too. But at any size company, hiring you is not likely to be at the very top of their to-do list. I’ve been on both sides. Hiring people takes up a lot of time and can be hard to juggle on top of a normal workload if it’s not something you do frequently. And as an applicant, if you send something on Friday and haven’t heard back on Monday or Tuesday, it feels like forever even though it’s only 1-2 business days.

        1. Koko*

          I feel this way whenever I put something in the mail on Friday afternoon and then go to check the tracking info on Monday morning and see it got picked up Saturday morning and hasn’t gone anywhere yet!

        2. Personal Best in Consecutive Days Lived*

          If it was my job to hire people (which I have actually never done so maybe this idea is nuts), I’d move as quickly as possible to hire someone good and give them a bunch of work off my desk.

    3. Purplesaurus*

      And at my workplace, in 48 hours we might have scheduled a meeting to review the samples IF we needed to hire quickly. But that meeting would probably be the following week at the earliest considering everyone’s schedules.

  3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#5, I think most employers expect that students will apply from their institutional email accounts, and they don’t treat the institution as a “current or former” employer. But if you can, you may want to ensure all your emails copy to your personal account, or set up your institutional account to forward emails to your personal account. It would be awful to get locked out of information if your account disappears post-graduation. I found, when I was a student, that the institutional signalling was helpful for some jobs (e.g., university fellowships, college-level teaching positions, some super wonky think tanks), and so I sent some applications through an institutional alias that linked to my personal email account. That may be the case for you, as well.

    Or, as Alison suggests, you could send everything from your personal account, provided it’s not something like RockJock420@gmail.

    1. Chaordic One*

      Some colleges and universities allow alumni to keep their institutional email accounts after graduation, years and years after graduation, probably until they graduate into the great beyond. I think that most potential employers wouldn’t have a problem with contacting you using an institutional account, but you do want to make sure that you maintain it.

      If you are not allowed to maintain your email account after graduation, then you definitely want to get a separate account set up and use that, just in case a potential employer want to contact you after you graduate.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Forwarding services are great until something accidentally gets marked as spam and isn’t forwarded.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          It really varies by institution. Our sister school gives people their institutional address for life. My university does not, but it will let you set up an alumni alias (and you can configure Google to respond as if emails are coming from that alias).

          But in general, education-related emails should come from your institutional address. If a lab rotation or internship is a condition of your degree program, use your address. If you’re applying for anything facilitated by the academy (post-docs, fellowships, entry-level professorships or teaching appointments, positions directing or working in a research lab/center), a private sector research division, or a funder of academic research (NIH/NSF grants, Ford Foundation, or whatever the equivalents are in the U.K.), use your institutional address. It looks really weird—in those circumstances—if you do not.

    2. GT*

      Additionally, I’d road-test your email by sending one to yourself if you’re using a forwarding service or POP (I forward my correspondence for my .edu accounts to my gmail). I got a letter of reference from a post-doc for one of his students that came from his institutional address…sent on behalf of “darthmaul999@gmail”. It gave me a good chuckle, but something like that could hurt an applicant in several fields.

    3. Relly*

      And if your personal account IS something inappropriate, now’s a great time to pick up something professional looking and nondescript from Gmail.

      1. Parenthetically*

        Yes, absolutely. As has been previously discussed, making a new gmail account is Not Hard, and setting up multiple accounts to forward to one gmail account is also Not Hard. If there’s even a small chance of it being an issue, why not set up a bland Parenthetically (dot) Brackets (at) gmail (dot) com and avoid the question altogether?

      2. Risha*

        I have my normal gmail account that I’ve had for a billion years and use for everything… and then I have email that I use specifically for job hunting/recruiters. The accounts are free and most email readers can handle multiple addresses seamlessly so that you can see all your email from both addresses at a glance, so it’s just common sense to have a boring address to put on your resume.

      3. Turquoise Cow*

        I don’t know that it was inappropriate, but my original AOL email account wasn’t actually appropriate. As soon as I got to the point where I was applying for jobs, I created a gmail account that was just my name. I think everyone should do the same.

      4. OP5*

        Don’t worry guys, I have the standard name.surname@gmail email account. I’ve been using my institute email address because the internship is part of my PhD so I figured that was the most suitable account to use. Alison’s post about using a work email addresses got me worried that I’d been making a bad impression on potential internship hosts i.e. using work hours to apply for internships.

    4. OP5*

      Thank you, I hadn’t thought about setting up a forwarding account for my institute emails. It’s certainly something I’ll do closer to the end of my PhD (2019!) as the vast majority of my emails are lab queries or general institute news updates which I probably won’t want in the future.

    5. seejay*

      I have multiple gmail accounts specifically so I can post for different reasons, such as realname@gmail, then funname@gmail, then totallyanonymous@gmail, etc. And then there’s my school email account (as I’m also currently a student). They all funnel through to my permanent/primary foo@isp email account so at no point do I ever lose any of them and they’re all compiled in one central location. That way you can tailor specific email accounts for specific needs and in the case of jobs, you can have a permanent one that won’t disappear on you.

  4. Ramona Flowers*

    #2 Hmm. The LW specifically said their employees were afraid, not uncomfortable. Maybe just semantics, maybe not. Being afraid to tell your partner they can’t come to an event might at best be a sign that the relationship isn’t the most healthy. At worst it’s a red flag for abuse. I’d make sure details of domestic abuse hotlines are visible somewhere, along with details of your EAP if you have one.

    1. On Fire*

      ^This. Ideally, I think, at the (past) times when one of the partners caused a disturbance, Someone In Charge would have kicked them out and told them *then* that they were banned from future events. At this point, one could either wait for Bad Partner(s) to act out again and do this, or … what about an unwritten “policy” that any non-employee who has previously caused a disturbance isn’t welcome?

      Since the employees in question are “afraid” to tell their spouses/partners, it seems like this might help protect them, by letting them blame the policy. No, the workplace isn’t their parent and shouldn’t have to do this, but DV is a tragic fact, and coupled with the bathroom DV info posters/EAP, it *might* help these employers build a safety net for when they want to leave. Or even just give them a few hours of safety/stability each day.

      1. SAS Error*

        I would consider putting a policy in place stating that certain types of behavior by guests will have them banned from future events and from the workplace. Then I would write a memo specifically to those employees outlining​ why, under the new policy, their partners are banned from events and the workplace

        1. MuseumChick*

          I like this idea. A clear policy that disruptive behavior from a guest will result in them being banned from future events.

          1. Koko*

            I don’t think that you need a policy to justify banning disruptive guests. Policies are for things that might be OK in other situations but aren’t OK here so we need to spell it out, like “no chewing gum” or “no profanity.” Things where someone might conceivably argue, “I had no idea chewing gum wasn’t OK and would get me banned!” and try to push back on the punishment on the basis of never having been told not to do it.

            Being a disruptive, argumentative jerk is unacceptable everywhere, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone when they get told, “You’re mean and I don’t want to play with you anymore.” Nobody can credibly argue, “I had no idea that yelling and causing a scene would get me banned!” and try to push back on the punishment. You don’t need to be told not to be a jerk.

            1. AMPG*

              This is definitely true, but it sounds like these particular SO’s aren’t the type to be deterred by the whole “societal norms” thing. It would probably be the path of least resistance for the company to formalize a policy around it.

              1. Parenthetically*

                It’s not about waiting for them to be deterred by societal norms. It’s about saying to Bob and Jane specifically, “Because of your past behavior (causing a scene, being disruptive, whatever), you are no longer welcome to attend these events. Please do not come onto Teapots Ltd property during work hours or during any after-hours work event, including the upcoming Teapot Extravaganza and the annual Spout-makers Social,” instead of punishing everyone who behaves perfectly reasonably just to try to keep a couple of jerks out.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Totally agree — it’s bad practice to make policies on things that should be common sense. Managers should just … manage. Not everything needs to be enshrined in policy, and you don’t want to train people to expect it will be.

              1. Jane Gloriana Villanueva*

                But if more people had common sense, you’d only get about 5 letters a week!

                This letter has me curious simply because in the beginning, the LW says the significant others are one employee’s boyfriend and another’s girlfriend. Then further down, they’re referred to as spouses. These aren’t the same. Maybe I’m being too particular, (and putting aside all concerns of domestic violence and abuse) but I think if I were a spouse of 10 years to one employee and suddenly prohibited from attending his work events (let’s say I enjoy them), I would be pretty ticked off by a policy begun because non-married guests caused an issue, especially if a policy had never been needed before.

            3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              1000% agree. I often caution people against creating policies to deal with outliers or situations that should be common-sense. As I noted above, you don’t need a policy to justify excluding a disruptive non-employee—you just need to feel comfortable in your authority to say “no.”

              The response to unreasonable people is not to create policies designed to make them conform to basic norms regarding appropriate conduct. It’s to tell them they haven’t displayed that they’re capable of conforming, so they’re not invited, thanks.

              If this is an actual “afraid of partners” situation, then OP should read up on guides for how employers can address DV and should let their employees know there are resources available to them. But again, the solution is not to craft an exceptional policy for bad actors.

  5. Jeanne*

    #1, What a strange idea. How does your finder’s fee make jobs open up? Are your friends lying to make you look better? (Obviously they won’t recommend you without the money or they would have.) $1000 isn’t enough for me to risk my job lying about you. How often do you do this and can you still afford your rent that month? I would guess you want a friend to pay you the $2000.

    1. JamieS*

      I don’t think his friends are lying or, if they are, it’s not at OP’s behest. I’m thinking the thought process is the promise of being paid keeps OP fresh on his friends’ minds so they’re more likely to think of OP if they learn of job openings he’s qualified for they could connect him to.

      I’m curious if it’s actually the finders fee in and of itself that’s causing OP to find success or if the success can actually be attributed to OP asking for recommendations. I could be way off base but assuming OP’s working in a professional capacity (ie not working the grill at McDonald’s) I find it unlikely his friends would risk their professional reputation for a one time payment of $1-2k which leads me to think most of them would recommend OP if he asked without the fee.

    2. SAS Error*

      It sounds to me like LW1 might be wasting their money. Employee referrals are nice and all, but if it is from a personal acquaintance, not a former coworker, then the very slight advantage is gone. And even if they were former coworkers, it wouldn’t matter all that much since “Fergus liked working with Jane” isn’t going to tip the balance to “Hire Jane” unless it is a tie. And even then, recommendations from managers will outweigh it.

      So, to make a long post longer, LW1, if getting the personal recommendation has been working for you, you can afford it, and it gives you more confidence, it isn’t unethical to pay an acquaintance to pass on your resume. However, you are spending a lot of money on something that is more, “I will buy you coffee/lunch/dinner” type of favor.

      1. CodeWench*

        My guess is that it’s not that they are getting a recommendation, it’s that they are finding out about jobs that they wouldn’t otherwise know about. My suspicion is that the money gives people the motivation to contact their network and see if anyone is hiring.

        1. Koko*

          Agreed. I refer people to apply at my org all the time because my org offers an employee referral bonus, but I never recommend these people. A recommendation is a totally different thing. I’m just pointing someone in the direction of the job, and if they turn out to be the best candidate I get compensated by my org for helping get the job description in front of a candidate who might not have otherwise seen it. With so many jobs out there, no jobseeker has perfect knowledge of every job opportunity. Just pointing them to the opportunity is a huge service (to the employer as well as the candidate) even without a recommendation attached.

            1. Koko*

              Ah, it’s definitely different here. We use Jobvite and are encouraged to post the job to our social networks, and the links are encoded so that if someone clicks the link on my Facebook, I’m automatically filled in as their referral. Most people can’t vouch for the employability of every single person they are friends with on Facebook or connected with on Twitter, so there is no expectation that you’ve vetted the people using your link.

            2. Mike C.*

              I think that’s fine. But if it’s just an acquaintance, how much effort would you put into looking if it was for free vs if there was a finder’s fee attached?

              1. LBK*

                I guess this is also a difference for me – I still probably wouldn’t bother. Frankly, job hunting blows and I hate doing it even for myself, so if I don’t immediately think of a position you’d be good for that I know is open (that I would tell you about for free anyway), I’m not going to do the legwork of hunting down additional leads for you.

                Honestly, maybe that’s why this feels so gross to me: because people put a lot of time and energy into job hunting, and this feels kind of lazy. Do the work yourself.

                1. Marthooh*

                  Presumably OP #1 worked hard for the money. This could be seen as outsourcing part of the job search.

        2. Jessesgirl72*

          Yes, a lot of people are just lazy, and they say “Sure, sure, I’ll look to see if we’re hiring” and never give another thought to it.

          The money helps them find their round tuit and actually look if there are opportunities the OP would be a fit for.

    3. Whats In A Name*

      I don’t think they would lie and put their reputations on the line, but I do think they might recommend this person for an open position they might be a fit for that they might not have previously thought of the person for.

      To me it read more like OP was waving a “hey, don’t forget about me – I’m looking now” flag for referrals, just with a hefty price tag.

    4. SophieChotek*

      And now that I think about it…is the OP paying the “finder’s fee” for a successful interview that comes with a real job offer at the end?

      (Then it’s almost like recruiter’s commissions?) If the finder’s fee only is paid when it results in a job offer…I still think it’s a bit odd (for reasons AAM wrote), but at least the OP isn’t throwing $1000s at all friends to just get interviews or put resumes in manager’s hands. because if it is just 5 friends that get the OP an interview (but not necessarily a job)…well that’s a lot of money for 5 interviews with no job…(i.e. $5,000+)…

      I might be reading the letter wrong…?

      1. Roscoe*

        It sounds like they are paying them the $1000 IF they get the job, not just for passing along the resume

      2. Mike C.*

        I mean, the term “Finder’s Fee” is used, so presumably it means that the job has to be found first.

    5. CodeWench*

      When someone I know asks me if I know of any openings, I’ll think about it for a minute, throw out a suggestion or two (if any come to mind), then move on. If I hear of something later, I’d message them, you know, if it doesn’t slip my mind.

      If someone is offering $1000 – $2000 to help them find a job, I’m going to be messaging everyone I know! I’m certainly going to put a lot more effort to contacting my network to find out if they have any open positions. I have a feeling that it’s giving this person’s network enough motivation to talk to other people they know and see if they have any open positions. I suspect this uncovers positions that the person wouldn’t ordinarily know about. I mean, it’s not like I regularly follow up with former colleagues to see if they’re hiring just in case someone asks. I’m guessing most people are like me in that regard.

      1. Mike C.*

        This is what I’m thinking. It’s not about dishonesty, it’s about motivation.

      2. SarahTheEntwife*

        Same here! I suspect that the LW and I are in very different industries if this is their standard “recruiter” fee, but 1-2k is not pocket change for me and I would definitely make significant effort that I wouldn’t for just a “hey, let me know if you see openings in X industry” request.

      3. Parenthetically*

        Exactly. A couple grand is real money, man! I would be all over every connection I have.

    6. Gandalf the Nude*

      Yeah, the whole thing is off-putting to me. If you’ve got a spare $1000 to throw at this, I’m not going to be sympathetic to your job search or help you out. It honestly will probably taint the entire friendship.

      1. Mike C.*

        This kind of a strange reaction – presumably that $1,000 becomes available because of the new job.

        1. Robin Sparkles*

          Yeah this seems like an over-reaction to a strange request – especially if that person is a friend. But I missed that in the post- she only pays it after she gets the job? That makes more sense to me than paying it for someone to look for jobs for her.

        2. Gandalf the Nude*

          Perhaps you and your social group are in a different income bracket than me and mine, but $1000 is a windfall. We do not have $1000 lying around to give out for job search help. So, casually flashing around that kind of cash, especially as repeatedly as the OP seems to be doing it, is cringe-worthy at best.

          1. Mike C.*

            I don’t think this is casual in the slightest and I think getting stuck on the price is overlooking the bigger picture. The fee could easily be paid in installments and scaled to fit the new job in question.

            The idea is that the OP is willing to put out enough money to get people to start actively looking on his behalf rather than thinking about it for a few seconds and moving on to something more important. I don’t think this is crazy or unreasonable.

            1. LBK*

              I dunno, there’s still something uncomfortably privileged about just throwing cash at the problem instead of doing more traditional, targeted networking. Normally the way you get people to give you better leads is by having a strong relationship and reputation that you can leverage, not by paying them off. It just feels icky to me.

              1. Mike C.*

                I’ve seen a lot of networks that came about from being privileged but I’m certainly going to give this more thought.

              2. Jesmlet*

                If this gets them a job faster and it has a proven success rate then it sounds like a good investment. Given how many people live paycheck to paycheck, I get how having liquid funds to direct at a problem can come across as privileged but if it saves time and gets them to a new paycheck sooner than traditional networking would, it really doesn’t feel that icky. I’d never do it, but then again the longest I’ve been unemployed and actively searching is 2 weeks. If I was desperate enough, I’d have no problem promising part of my first paycheck to a friend who found me a job.

              3. Whats In A Name*

                I dont’ see this as “throwing cash at the problem” if they are avoiding 6 months of unemployment and are only paying once the job is secured they are using projected income as an investment in themselves & their career. Maybe even paying after 1st paycheck or in a series of payments as Mike C. mentioned.

                Not sure how this might be different from someone spending money going to networking luncheons or events (where you often pay for dinner/lunch/drinks/gas/parking) for a series of months in hopes of meeting the right connection.

        3. LBK*

          Even when I have a job, I don’t usually have a spare $1000 to throw around, unless the OP works in an industry where signing bonuses are common and he’s just passing part/all of it on to the person who got him the job.

      2. Roscoe*

        So you only would help someone find a job who was poor? What if they just saved well? What if they got an inheritance?

        1. Caro in the UK*

          I can only speak for myself, but I can see both sides of this argument. People should be able to spend their money however they see fit, and there are certainly far worse things to spend it on than improving your job prospects.

          However, it’s still something that makes me uncomfortable, because it’s giving people with money more opportunities than those without. I realise that this is the way the world works a lot of the time (all of the time even!), but it’s not something that I personally want to enable. So I wouldn’t do it from that standpoint.

          If it was someone I was close to and wanted to do well, I’d certainly help them as much as possible. But I wouldn’t take their money.

          1. Whats In A Name*

            I don’t think this speaks to privledge as much as it speaks to gumption and willingness to invest in oneself. I mean if someone spend a year or two or three or 10 saving a $1,000 for a rainy day and then decided needed a job qualified as a rainy day I wouldn’t hold it against them.

            1. LBK*

              I don’t want to derail the conversation too much, but “gumption” is often a function of privilege. Having the means to do this and being the kind of person for whom aggressiveness can be viewed in a positive light are not universal traits.

              1. Whats In A Name*

                seriously? You have to be privileged to have gumption?

                I don’t want to get into it. We can agree to disagree and let it be.

                1. LBK*

                  All I’m saying is that traits of someone who has “gumption” are subject to bias and often read very different depending on that person’s gender, race, etc. One person’s charming assertiveness is another person’s abrasive disregard for business norms. Privilege factors in to the success of many of the proclaimed methods of the proverbial “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps”.

                2. Whats In A Name*

                  LBK I think I understand where you are coming from now. I was equating privilege with money only and equating gumption with work ethic. I think I see your side of the argument.

                  Basically even though through high school often my only meal was my free lunch at school or at our neighbors in summer, or sometimes we got PB sandwiches or a spoonful of PB! Treat! and we regularly got the gas/water/electricity turned off for not being able to afford the bills (esp in winter), and spent 2 years actually not having a home and living on a mattress in the backroom of someone’s store because I am white I actually grew up privileged.

                  And I do now have an awesome job and ended up with an awesome opportunity to go to college. That erases all my background and I am NOW privileged so what happened before doesn’t count.

            2. Anna*

              You just said gumption.

              I’m not going to begrudge this person having the money to pay someone they know a “finder’s fee.” I may think it’s kind of a waste, but this is how they’ve decided to approach their job search. Looking for work does suck, which is why there are recruitment companies, head hunters, professional brokers, etc. This, for me, is no different than the hundreds of other ways people use to get the results they want in their job hunt.

              1. Whats In A Name*

                I think we are on the same wavelength here; to me it’s just another tool they are utilizing.

              2. Tuckerman*

                Another thing to consider is that if the LW is unemployed, paying a finders fee to get a job may be a financially smart move, even if paying the fee is a hardship. If I can be unemployed for 2 months instead of 4 months, I’ll make more money than I’ll lose even with paying the fee.

          2. JamieS*

            True it arguably gives people with money an advantage but is that really any different from a person having an advantage through another avenue?

            For instance, all else being equal, a person who is naturally extroverted is going to have an advantage over someone who’s introverted or a highly attractive person could have an advantage over others.

        2. Gandalf the Nude*

          It’s not about the disposable income, it’s the manner of using it. LBK summed it up pretty well with “there’s still something uncomfortably privileged about just throwing cash at the problem instead of doing more traditional, targeted networking.” That’s very different from a well-off friend mining their network without exploiting their privilege to avoid the hard work a job search usually entails.

      3. Triangle Pose*

        This seems unecessary to me. You’re essentially saying that because someone has a spare 1,000 they don’t deserve your help or friendship? While I wouldn’t personally do what OP is doing, in my industry $10,000 for employee referral is the norm and my previous employee even upped it to $25,000 for highly desired positions. I don’t think the fact that someone has $1,000 makes them unsympathetic in their job search.

    7. Lily in NYC*

      One of my buddies found a wife this way! It was before internet dating was a thing and he owned a bar and worked most nights and weekends and was having a difficult time meeting someone. He had a huge group of friends and spread the word that he’d give anyone who set him up with his eventual wife a thousand bucks. It was kind of in jest but it worked! He gave the friend who set them up $1000 at his wedding rehearsal dinner and and the friend said seeing them so happy was reward enough. It was pretty neat.

      1. Clairels*

        Sounds like the plot of a romcom waiting to happen–only for dramatic purposes, the “finder” would have to fall for the woman himself.

        1. Risha*

          Or the finder is a woman who sets him up with all her friends because she needs the cash, only to fall for him herself.

        2. Lily in NYC*

          And there’d have to be some ridiculous misunderstanding that almost causes the wedding to be called off – and it has to be one that would be very easily solved if people just communicated (which is the main reason I dislike romantic comedies – everyone acts like idiots because otherwise there’d be no plot).

    8. Koko*

      I see distant friends post stuff like this on Facebook a lot:

      “Hey, I’m out of work again. Let me know if you have any leads.”

      Often there’s no info about what kind of work they’re looking for, I don’t know them well enough to know what they do, and I’m not going to take the time to comment and ask them because, without putting too fine a point on it, my time is incredibly precious. I work full time, freelance, volunteer, run an AirBnB, and have three pets to care for and a house to run and keep clean. I have to be selective about what I spend my limited free time on, and it’s probably not, “Figuring out what Casual Acquaintance Fergus does for a living and if he’s any good at it and if I know anybody that’s hiring.”

      But if Fergus offered $1,000, I’m a lot more motivated to invest my time helping since there’s something in it for me (especially if he also listed his field and desired work).

      My current employer offers a $1-1.5K referral bonus (depending on job band) if someone you refer is hired and sticks around for some minimum amount of time. And I actively rack my brain for even the most distant contact who I think might be interested every time a new job opens up in any department or any office nationwide…and at previous jobs I’ve never much cared about connecting anyone with a job there unless they were a *very* close friend or I was going to be working *very* closely with the role in question.

    9. Robin Sparkles*

      What someone else said below- I think it just gives someone more incentive to look harder and work harder rather than simply put feelers out or forward a resume to a hiring manager. I do wonder though what made the OP choose $1000 – it’s pretty steep and definitely hard to justify if you are unemployed on top of it. I would love to hear about why that fee.

      1. Koko*

        OP might not necessarily be unemployed when making these offers, but could be well-paid and looking to advance/move on. If you jump ships to a job paying $10K more a year, giving $1K to the person who found you the job is a pretty great ROI.

      2. Mike C.*

        Also, one could pay such a fee in installments or after some time being employed.

    10. PizzaDog*

      Honestly, someone asking me for $2000(!!!!!!) for ‘help’ with finding a job isn’t even someone I’d want as an acquaintance. There can’t be that much of a leg up in whatever industry the OP is in to make this worth it. That’s practically the first paycheque gone without even having started yet.

      1. Jesmlet*

        If this person isn’t part of the 50% of Americans (not sure about percent in other countries) who live paycheck to paycheck then it doesn’t really matter. If they get a job quickly from this that they wouldn’t have heard of otherwise, it seems like a decent enough ROI.

      2. LavaLamp*

        I think you got it backwards; the LW is paying whomever connects him to a job 1000$, not demanding people pay for the privilege of doing their job search.

        1. PizzaDog*

          No, I got that. I’m saying that I think less of the acquaintances of the LW who are accepting so much money for simply connecting them to a job opportunity, even if the LW ends up with a job out of it.

          1. Jesmlet*

            They’re accepting $1000 for connecting the LW with I’d guess a minimum 50k job, probably a lot more. The LW is getting a lot more out of this, even if the effort is minimal.

  6. H.C.*

    RE: LW1 – more of an open related comment/question, how do you feel about finder’s fee mentioned in the letter vs. recruitment/referral bonuses that employers use to help fill open positions?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think that’s fine. There’s a convention established that it’s fine for employers to pay for recruiting help, but not for candidates to have to pay.

      1. Anna*

        Yeah, but if I decide I want to pay someone to help me find the perfect job for me, then…so what? The convention may exist that it’s a one way street, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually any less valid going the other way.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, my answer here didn’t get at the heart of the problem. I think it feels gross and off for all the other reasons people have mentioned here.

          1. Jaguar*

            So, one thing I see a lot, both with myself and with friends in trades, is people in their social circle asking for help related to their specialty. For a mechanic friend, for instance, it would be, “Hey, can you look at my car?” This is the thing they do professionally and it’s really obnoxious to ask them to do it for free because they’re friend. However, if the person is paying, even if it’s below what they typically charge, they’re happy to. I think that makes sense.

            So why is this different? The friends have resources (or potential resources), and the person job searching has a need for those resources. Not only does it seem perfectly fine to offer money for those resources, it actually seems kinda lame not to. I honestly don’t see any moral problem with it at all. (And on a practical level, if I’m being offered $1,000 for placing a friend, that’s the difference between answering whether I know the company I work for is actively hiring and going right up to managers and asking if they’re hiring or planning to any time soon because I know this guy that just became available)

            1. TootsNYC*

              Well, for one thing, most of us don’t have a day job as recruiters.

              My day job is editor. If someone close to me asked me for a really small assistance for something important (look at my resumé; look over my submission for a prize), I’d absolutely do it without a thought. It would be a little weird to ask to be paid (or for someone to offer). And if it were something that would benefit ME in some way, it would be really weird to ask for money.

              I’m not a seamstress by trade. But if someone asked me to help them by hemming their pants, I’d do it.

              Passing along the resumé of a friend or acquaintance is a pretty small favor (in terms of effort). Plus, if they’re a reasonable candidate, this act will make me look good! (it might even get me money from my company)

            2. Elsajeni*

              Well, the OP isn’t asking their friends to do work they’d normally be paid for (unless all their friends are professional recruiters, I guess), and the favor they’re asking for doesn’t really take any special expertise — those seem like significant differences to me. Overall, though, I think mainly I just agree with SAS Error upthread — I’d feel very weird about a friend offering me $1000 because I connected them with a job, not so much because it’s inappropriate to offer me a “reward” as because it’s out of scale; can’t they just take me out to dinner?

              1. Jaguar*

                @TootsNYC and @Elsajeni

                Both those seem invalidated by the fact that the OP has indicated that this strategy has worked far better than anything else has. You’re arguing conceptually against the observable reality.

                1. Elsajeni*

                  I’m not arguing that it doesn’t work, I’m arguing that 1) it’s not comparable to paying a friend who’s a mechanic to work on your car, and also that 2) it’s socially a bit weird. If it works for the OP and they don’t mind the risk of being seen as a bit weird, great!

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Agreeing with Elsajeni here. The OP’s question was whether it will be perceived as sleazy. A lot of us are saying that it will.

                3. Jaguar*

                  And I’m arguing that you shouldn’t, which has ramifications on the OP’s question. If something is seen as sleazy but shouldn’t be and something is seen as sleazy and should be, those are very different scenarios. I could see someone continuing to do the former but not the latter.

          2. Triangle Pose*

            To me, it doesn’t feel “gross” so much as it might feel off the track of professional norms. I would be more concerned about this impacting the way OP is seen by the acquaintances than anything else. OP is simply trying to motiviate acquaintances to think of him first, I really don’t think it speaks to OP’s own qualifications or skills.

        2. TootsNYC*

          well, job candidates can **hire** a recruiter to work directly for them.

          But that’s an official job kind of thing.

          it’s really awkward to pay people for things that are viewed as favors.

    2. MW*

      This was my immediate thought. All offices I’ve worked in have offered this kind of incentive (because the referral bonus is still lower than what a recruiter would charge). The incentive has, in my experience, always been higher than $1000. Does LW#1 work in an industry where no such incentives are available? Or are the LW’s friends only going to refer them if they get paid on both ends of the transaction…?

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        It depends. At my last job, it was $300. At my current job, it’s $1k-2k for someone who is unlicensed, and $5k for someone who already has their series 7&66. (Of course, for the latter, that’s because the firm saves significant money not only in recruiter fees but also in the cost of getting that person licensed.)

      2. hermit crab*

        I just checked our referral program – it’s $1,000 if you refer someone for most positions and $2,000 if you refer a senior management type. You get the payout 3 months after the person you referred starts (assuming both of you still work there by then).

      3. Parenthetically*

        A friend of mine works for a large multinational and their referral bonus is something like $4000.

      4. NPO Queen*

        Sadly the non-profits I’ve worked for have never offered a bonus. I just refer people because I like them and think they do good work. If you get the job, take me out for a nice dinner, or don’t, either is fine. I’d actually rather keep money out of it, because I’d feel really weird about taking money from someone just to refer them to a job.

      5. Triangle Pose*

        Yep, in big law firms it’s $10,000 for an employee referral and routinely $25,000 for highly desired positions they badly needed to fill. It was pretty routine – it’s less than what they pay outside recruiters and better way to find candidates if they are already known by existing employees.

    3. Moonpie*

      The difference I see here is a company is offering a little extra in hopes its employees will be looking at their networks (broadening the reach) and using their own best judgement in assessing good-fit candidates to recommend.

      An individual offering the incentive is asking someone to recommend him or her above any others, which almost certainly makes it less about evaluating a good match for the company and more about buying a spot. That could be an expensive way to go through life.

      1. Koko*

        I don’t see in the letter, though, that these people are recommending him instead of merely referring him. Calling it a “finder’s fee” gives me the impression that they are literally just finding the job for him, not that they would also personally recommend him for it. I refer people to apply where I work all the time without recommending them. I assume the hiring manager will evaluate to determine whether they’re any good.

    4. Roscoe*

      I see it the same way. I don’t see why it would be “icky” to take money from a person for me to pass their resume on to someone, as opposed to me getting paid money by my company to do the same thing. I’m not going to lie about anything either way. Also, passing along a resume isn’t really the same as giving a personal referral. I’ve definitely passed along resumes for acquaintances who saw an opening at my company, and I just said “I can’t speak to their work”. In that situation, if my company gave referral bonuses, I’d still get it. So if Jane was offering me $1000 if she got the job she asked me to pass along a resume for, I don’t really see a difference. Except the whole “that’s the way its always been done” motto, which isn’t really good.

      Point being, if you aren’t worry about people lying to get a referral bonus from the company, why worry about people lying to get a finders fee from an acquaintance.

      1. Kate*

        Yes, I agree Roscoe. As a low income person who is about to have $1,000 dollars in savings for the first time in years, and who has usually spent 3 – 4 months unemployed each time I have been laid off (not fired), spending a thousand dollars in this way seems like good financial sense. There also seems to be an element of disgust for anyone who has a $1,000 to use in this way.

        1. Personal Best in Consecutive Days Lived*

          Something I’ve noticed about North American society is we tend to have an unconscious bias about people spending money in ways we would not.

  7. Former Academic*

    The one caveat I would offer to the advice about applying from jobs using your current institute’s email address is that if the institute or university you are studying at is prestigious, then there is indeed a benefit to using that email address rather your personal one. Yes, the fact that you’re studying there is on your resume but having it in your email address is a good calling card.

    1. FlibertyG*

      I have to admit, I was embarrassed when I first read Alison’s advice about not using your work email when she originally posted it … it makes perfect sense for all the reasons she lists, but I had been doing it for years and sometimes I do actually wonder if it helped me get jobs, as I worked at prestigious “name” organizations (even though my role was minor there). But I don’t do it anymore and I’m ashamed I didn’t think more about it at the time and see why it was problematic.

  8. Cambridge Comma*

    #5, I think you need to get advice that is specifically focused on science and on the UK (and any country you are applying to). I work in STEM and have worked at a research institute and I know how different it is.
    Firstly, I think people would appreciate seeing you applying from an address as a verification of your status.
    Secondly, there’s a lot of Brexit related uncertainty around British science at the moment. This could be having affects you can’t anticipate.
    Thirdly, 3 months is not very long in many disciplines. An extra pair of hands is often welcome but if you have to learn new techniques to help out, how long will it take. You’ll need to target carefully what you can offer the place you are applying to. What technique have you mastered that another lab may want to learn?
    Fourthly, a lot of these things are done through the network of your PI (principal investigator for other readers). Can he or she put you in contact with collaborators that work in the same field? Former lab members would be another good avenue.
    Fifthly, people doing bench work sometimes seem to understandably be a bit less on top of email than people in front of a computer all day, so you may need to wait a bit longer.

    1. JamieS*

      Sorry if this is off-topic but the principal investigator is the lead researcher, correct? Or is it another term for a doctoral advisor?

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Yes it is. But this and stuff about Brexit etc are a bit off-topic so let’s stick to talking about email addresses.

        1. Alice*

          Actually, since Brexit is influencing science funding, it actually is good for OP4 to keep in mind that her industry is experiencing uncertainty, and that a job search will quite possibly take longer as a result – perhaps long enough that she’ll lose access to her institutional email after finishing her program, depending on their policies.
          Here are some perspectives (pessimistic but also optimistic) on research funding and Brexit:
          (And because of the link, if you do see this as OT then you can just leave it in the spam filter, Alison!)

    2. caledonia*

      Yes, the fact that OP5 is specifically looking for an internship *as part of their PhD* and they also aren’t studying it at a uni, I think using your work email is fine. Because it’s part of you PhD.

      1. Elizabeth H.*

        Yeah I would naturally expect to use my school email address. If the internship is actually part of the PhD program (which it is in this case) imo it would actually be weird not to. The school email address is (for better or for worse) legitimizing and lends credibility etc.

    3. Lora*

      #5, you are fine using your university address. In fact I know many alumni who continue to use their grad school and college email addresses, whose alma maters offer alumni email as a service, because they want to have the cachet of “” on their resume.

      Three months is a little short, although it might be fine for the UK – in the US we sometimes have half-year lab rotations through a few labs before we officially select an adviser and research project. But then again our PhDs take 7-8 years! It depends on what field specifically, really – in chemistry you can really get the hang of a Suzuki coupling or NMR with three months of intensive lab work, but in biology you’d just about get the hang of a standard transfection technique. Certainly nothing very advanced and there would be no Least Publishable Unit in that time. So, I’m not sure what the internship is intended to accomplish? The email is fine, I would just wonder why this person is asking me for such a short time period; it would seem sort of a waste of time on their part and a waste of effort on mine. That’s where your PI should be helping you with contacts who will be familiar with the program and have a bunch of sequencing to run every day or whatever.

      1. OP5*

        Hi Lora, thanks for your comments! The PhD programme I’m on recognises that most people who do a PhD eventually come out of academia, so the purpose of the internship is to do something non-lab related. I’m looking at science policy or science communication/outreach internships which unfortunately my PI can’t help much with. My lab group is good at getting students involved in lab work outside their thesis project (I’m helping out currently with some genome editing work!) so I’m looking forward to brushing up on some different skills I’ve let slide a bit since starting my project. Thankfully the 3 month internship is built into the project timeline, so I get 4 years to complete the PhD instead of the standard 3 in the UK.

  9. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

    OP#1, I have occasionally come across people who promise some kind of finder’s fee for tips that lead to employment. I don’t know if this approach has worked for them, though. The difference between them and you is the amount of money involved. I’ve seen 50€ to 200€, nowhere near the sums you talk about. Maybe bigger amounts are normal in some other place or some other field, but to me it would seem unusual and I wouldn’t really know what to think of it. As was said above, it’s not really enough for someone to lie for you, but it’s weirdly over the top as a nice gesture to people who think about you and want to help you.

    1. Caro in the UK*

      This is where I sit as well. If someone’s willing to recommend you then they will. If it’s an inconvenience for them (like if they have to write a long recommendation etc.) I’d definitely get them a thank you gift . But if someone’s not willing to recommend you, then trying to bribe them to is really odd. Some people who are strapped for cash might do it, but most won’t be willing to put their reputation on the line for someone that they don’t actually want to vouch for. I just don’t think it’s going to be an effective strategy to get a job.

      1. Mike C.*

        I don’t see this as a bribe. The flaw I see in this sort of argument is that folks are presuming that the person being paid already has a bunch of jobs in mind for someone like the OP. I work for a large company and I have no idea what sorts of jobs are open at any given time. Such an offer would make me seriously consider doing a lot of research into finding something for that person.

        Not that I wouldn’t do it for free for a close friend but otherwise I might not go to all the trouble.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Exactly! I do not keep a running tab of all the friends I have that are looking for jobs and all the jobs I’ve ever heard about. But if someone I knew had $1K on offer, I would scan my employer’s job pages for matches to send over to them, and probably send them a couple other random jobs I come across in my day to day. It would be too much to do that for literally every person that I know. This person is just making it worth the while to do it.

        2. Triangle Pose*

          This is pretty much where I come down on this. Honestly, $1,000 isn’t really enough to move me for a mere acquaintance and I actually would do this already for someone I’m close with who I know is a great worker without a fee. I think some commenters are grossed out by the concept of referring candidates for a fee at all (“If they are good, I’ll refer them anyway!”), but I take issue with that given the established system of employee referral bonuses employers give – clearly the financial incentive motivates people. To pretend that employees would be just as diligent in referring good candidates without any financial incentive is a bit disingenuous to me. We can argue about whether OP herself, as the candidate, offering the financial incentive might effect how people perceive her, but I think that’s a separate question and at bottom, the concept of paying for good referrals is generally accepted and employers do it all the time.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      In some workplaces it wouldn’t be a nice gesture though, but a breach of policy e.g. if there’s a nepotism or boundaries policy.

      I also just don’t think candidates should have to do this! If someone thinks you’re worth hiring and can help, you shouldn’t need to pay them to do that. I’d feel super uncomfortable taking your money in this situation – I think I’d have to say no even though I could really use the cash.

    3. SAS Error*

      I thought this was more a, “Thanks! Let me get you lunch/dinner/coffee” level of service from one personal acquaintance to another. $1000+ seems a bit much for a minor service for an acquaintance

      1. Koko*

        There is no way I would spend my time helping an acquaintance for the price of coffee or a meal. My freelance rate is $100 an hour. I don’t work for coffee…and helping someone find a job is work. I’ll do free work for very close friends, but not for acquaintances.

        1. Caro in the UK*

          I think we might be thinking of two different situations!

          I’m coming at from the angle of a normal recommendation, the kind of thing that people do when a suitable job opens at their employer and a close friend or former colleague who you can confidently say “they will be great at this job” wants to apply. Then it’s literally just saying to the hiring manager… “My former coworker is applying for this job. She was fantastic in a similar role at our previous employer and I’d really recommend her for this opening.” (Or, you know, something similar to that effect!) I certainly wouldn’t expect anyone to pay me to do that.

          What you’re talking about is effectively hiring a consultant to help you find a job, which is indeed proper work that should be paid for.

          I assumed that the LW meant the former, but if it’s the latter it makes more sense.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            Yeah, the thing is, that “normal” recommendation is exactly what you say… normal! I would presume that OP is already able to get those, as most people are. OP is using the money to widen their network beyond that (and, apparently, to good effect).

            Think of it this way: if you’re actively job-searching, you might get jobs inboxed to you from a couple of friends, here and there. OP probably gets multiple leads per day from acquaintances who ordinarily would not have flagged the job for OP at all. Not all of those leads will pay out, but only one of them needs to!

  10. Observer*

    Are you seriously considering banning all SOs from events and company property because of the actions of two out control people? That’s ridiculous – and I’m not impressed that your employees would even ask this.

    No, it will NOT be beneficial to the company. Any time you punish a whole group of people because of the behavior of a couple of exceptions you take a significant morale hit. That is NOT beneficial to the company.

    As for the employees, I don’t know that it’s so beneficial to them either. If your employees are afraid to say anything their SO’s because it’s just a lousy relationship, then providing them with excuses – manufactured at the expense of other people – isn’t really what they need. If what’s going on is DV, then that’s a different story, but I’m not so sure this is going to help anyway, then.

    1. Mookie*

      I kind of think the industry is important here, because a company “event” can cover a lot of ground.

      Can we add a stipulation in our employment contract forbidding significant others of our employees to attend the events, or be on work premises while the employee is on the clock?

      I don’t know how others feel, but the emboldened stipulation seems somewhat reasonable (again, depending on the field), doesn’t it? Qualifying to “significant others,” rather than friends and relatives not directly employed by the company or otherwise engaged in business with them, seems forced, though, and probably subject to serious pedantry. Then again, if this is retail, service, or a recreation facility, how the hell would you know whether someone’s a friend or relative unless they identified themselves as such?

      It’s probably wiser to notify employees in writing going forward that attendance of their guests is not guaranteed and that invitations can be individually or wholly withdrawn at will and for any reason. Though that’s pretty much a given everywhere.

      As an aside, I loathe the notion — though I understand it — that employees can be disciplined or fired because of a pest-y acquaintance inadvertently or intentionally trying to sabotage their employment. That doesn’t sound like the case here, but it’s still a terrible situation.

      1. HisGirlFriday*

        My concern with the language you put in bold is that, again, it’s a blanket ban that affects everyone.

        I don’t know what industry OP is in, but there are plenty of industries (mine is one, as is my spouse’s) where spouses stop by for lunch occasionally and that’s completely normal. By blanket-banning spouses on premises, you’re again punishing the many for the sins of the few.

      2. hbc*

        I don’t think it’s at all loathsome for there to be repercussions to an employee for the behavior of people they keep around *by choice.* I would happily work through the issues of someone who had a stalker or a crazy ex friend or a parent who is pushing past boundaries that the employee is setting. But if you keep inviting your handsy girlfriend to happy hour or telling your dad your work schedule when he has a history of interfering with your work, I’m less sympathetic.

        It definitely gets tricky when you’re talking about an abuse situation and “choice” is not so clear, but generally people can be held responsible for the company they keep and how they let it impact the business.

      3. Alton*

        Actually, I have more of a problem with the bolded part because it’s very vague/broad. I think banning all outsiders from work events can be reasonable simply in an economic standpoint (a company might intend for an event to just be for employees, or not want the added expense of more guests), though I think it’s a nuclear option if the problem is really just a couple badly-behaved individuals.

        But I think there’s a difference between banning SOs from being on the premises and having rules about them not hanging around in a disruptive manner. The latter is reasonable, but the former could be unduly restrictive. For example, is it really a problem if Jane’s boyfriend stops by to drop off her medication that she forgot at home or if Fergus’s husband waits politely in the lobby for a few minutes until Fergus is ready to meet him for lunch? Probably not. Depending on the workplace, there could also be legitimate reasons for the SO to be on the premises. For example, doctors are often in buildings shared with other practices, and there’s obviously a big difference between someone’s SO loitering out in the hall in a disruptive manner and someone’s SO waiting for an appointment they have in the practice next door.

        I think it’s fairer to have a policy in which disruptive people can be banned or removed, period. The only advantage of a blanket ban is that it gives you more leverage over argumentative people, but this penalizes and infantilize the employees whose partners aren’t a problem. And if you do look the other way when Fergus’s polite husband stops by to pick him up for lunch, you can’t really use the blanket ban as an excuse anymore. If Jane’s boyfriend gets banned, it’ll be obvious that it’s because of something he or Jane did and not because you truly have a blanket policy.

        1. Lora*

          +1, just tell the disruptive people they are unwelcome because they are disruptive, period. If the employees are afraid to confront their SOs, then the company (ideally, the company’s security department) can draft a letter saying, “Dear SO, on (date) you assaulted the CEO and poured beer on the VP of Marketing and created a disturbance at our private event. You are not to return to company property or any company associated events from now until the end of time. If you trespass on company property or attempt to enter company events, you will be removed from the premises and we will consider pressing charges and pursuing a restraining order. Have a nice day! love, Pinkerton Security” or whatever. Then tell the receptionist that if these uncivilized boors show up, call the police and have them removed.

      4. Observer*

        I think that in most cases, the reverse is true – it’s hugely unreasonable and burdensome rule.

        Sure, disruptive, threatening or otherwise inappropriate behavior is one thing, and it shouldn’t even need a formal policy to ban that. But “No one can walk in here” is draconian. And to do this to all of your staff as a response to the behavior of a couple of people is just unfair.

        1. fposte*

          I would agree. A spouse can’t come in and meet somebody before they go out for lunch, or drop paperwork off? Unless you’re in some hyper-secure field, that just seems paranoid.

          1. NotTheSecretary*

            I’ve actually worked in a few offices where it was really important to know who was in the office at all times. Getting in as a visitor required an employee to let you in and escort you and my office in particular was off limits to even a lot of on-site employees. But my husband (or anyone else, really) could still come on-site at those places. He had to abide by some rules while there (some for safety, some for issues having to do with my access to sensitive data) but he was welcome to come by and meet me in the office common areas.

            Now, when I worked as an industrial staffing agent, most of the clients had blanket rules that no non-employees could come in the building unless they had a legitimate business reason. You can’t have random people wandering a factory or warehouse as there is real risk of death and injury for someone without the proper training and PPE. It’s also a security issue.

  11. Exponential Vee*

    OP#5, for these UK PhD 3 month internships that you are required to do as part of your program, you should absolutely be applying with your email. If you were kicked out of your research institute tomorrow, you wouldn’t be doing the internship, so I wouldn’t worry about losing email access. And your supervisor presumably already knows that you are applying (because it’s an obligatory part of the program). Use the address, it looks more legitimate. This is a special circumstance and UK academia has it’s own norms. Good luck with your applications and maybe I’ll see you at my organisation the hosts UK PhD interns.

    1. Mookie*

      Good point. In this situation, there’s nothing misleading about it and the connection between the internship and the LW is, as you say, the university.

      Under other circumstances and outside of academia and research, an .edu or .ac is interpreted one of two ways, depending on the hiring manager’s familiarity with the domain and its traditional uses. More than once someone has mistakenly assumed I was faculty or departmental staff based on an undergrad or grad address — even though it lacked the markers for that — and responded aggressively, as though I was “tricking” them, whereas the bulk of people seem to recognize the distinction and have no objection. (Personally, I think it’s a touch inappropriate when a person is many years removed from their degree. I say this as I am using my own to comment here! Hoisted by my own sensibilities!)

  12. eemmzz*

    Alison is OP3 meant to be saying “IT department” rather than “IS department”? It’d make more sense based on the rest of the post.

    1. Clewgarnet*

      Information Services replaced Information Technology a long time ago in my company. I’d imagine many others are the same.

      1. lokilaufeysanon*

        Not the other poster, but thank-you for defining IS! I thought it was “Information Security.” LOL

      2. straws*

        This is my experience as well. I’ve often seen Information Technology as a sub-department under Information Services. They handle the hardware, networking, servers, etc. Another sub-department handles internet-based services, like CRMs, CMSs, websites, intranet pages, etc. So a knowledge of IS, to me, has a broader implication than IT.

        1. Bubba*

          I am the author of OP#3. In some departments, IS is a department that IT is a sub-division of. For example, in hospitals, the IS department will normally handle both hardware, software, networks, servers, etc. but also managing the electronic health record, informatic software, and assisting end users in navigating those things via analysts.

          Our company has something similar.

          1. For what it's worth...*

            I don’t know if this has been addressed, and I am late replying, but I wonder if the hiring manager was just being honest in that hiring you for the position may look like a demotion on your resume and was truly thinking you should definitely keep the good title you have now. You didn’t clarify whether or not the newly posted title was a better title or not? Unless I’m missing something I don’t think it’s unfair to warn you that a role might look like you’re taking a step back and he didn’t want you to mess your resume up for what it’s worth?

            1. Bubba*

              It would have been a demotion in title. But not in pay. And it was a position I had applied for before I received my promotion from my current job.

  13. Jules the Third*

    OP#2: While you shouldn’t do a blanket ban, if your employees are ‘afraid’, you should check with them about domestic violence. AAM has a really great post and comments on this:

    Some key points, that should not replace reading it in full:
    Sometimes calling it ‘abuse’ gets denial, start by asking if there are specific abusive behaviors beyond the ones you’ve seen.
    The girlfriend is just as capable of being abusive as any man, don’t let gender mislead you.
    Keep safety issues for the whole workplace in mind.
    There are specific things work can do to help, and the post has concrete examples, including other workplace’s DV policies.

    I would say, ‘let the employees guide you’, but they just did, and AAM is wisely saying not to extend punitive measures to all, but maybe there are other avenues. For example, instead of banning all, maybe you could ban those two for their specific reactions, but have your on-site security tell them when they show up during working hours instead of leaving it to their partners.

  14. Jo*

    OP2, I agree that you shouldn’t ban SO’s from events just because of the actions of two people. If the two people involved don’t want to have an awkward conversation with their SO’s, they could perhaps just tell them that the company aren’t alowing SO’s to attend. Although this could obviously backfire if the SO’s know anyone from the company or their SOs or friends etc…. I also get that there may be a DV/controlling relationship which you wouldn’t necessarily know from the outside, but barring this then the two coworkers would have to either have the awkward conversation or tell them SOs aren’t invited.

  15. TootsNYC*

    #3, “we’re not going to hire you bcs it might hurt you”

    For heaven’s sake, don’t CONFRONT him!
    That’s a -very- adversarial word, and approach.

    Right now he likes you; don’t blow that.

    As Alison points out, you’re unlikely to change their mind about this position.

    But having that conversation with you, at that length and detail, is very unusual and took some time. That indicates a lot of goodwill.
    But if you call up to confront him, you’re going to look like someone not only out of touch with norms but angrily so.

    They know you’re out there, and they’re positively disposed to you. If they wanted you for that spot, they’d have called. Who knows why not, but they don’t know.
    Your task is to make them still want to hire you the next time you apply.

    So send back a thank-you with a promise to come back to apply in some time, and to ask that they keep you in mind should something come up.

    1. CM*

      OP #3: The hiring manager at this job is being exceptionally nice to you by giving you clear feedback about what you need to do to be a stronger candidate. Take his advice about sticking it out at your current job for a while and beefing up your resume. During that time, keep in touch if you can. In six months send him an email thanking him for his feedback and letting him know what steps you took, like getting a certification, in response to his suggestions.

    2. Lily Rowan*

      Pretty much any time the question is “Should I confront someone about this job I didn’t get?” the answer is no.

    3. MillersSpring*

      I agree too. OP, confronting this hiring manager would be a huge mistake. Job postings are recycled all the time for similar roles in different departments. You’ve gotten way too peeved about this because you got through three rounds of interviews. It’s completely understandable for the company ultimately to want someone with several years of experience as a manager, not someone who only recently got a promotion to that title.

      1. Bubba*

        I am the OP to the question you reference. I agree with you that confronting isn’t the best option. While it probably would have felt good the feeling would be passing and fleeting. However, and I probably didn’t make this very clear in my post, the job that I applied for wasn’t a manager position. In fact, I applied for it before I was even hit with a promotion at my current job. I just kind of forgot about it until I got a phone call from the hiring manager for an interview.

        So, no. The company wasn’t looking for a manager. They were looking for a System Administrator. And that was the hiring manager’s point. If he hired me it would be a demotion as far as job titles went (but not pay).

        1. AMPG*

          In that case, it also makes sense from his end not to hire you. He probably wants someone in the position who would be willing to stay as a SysAdmin for a while, and hiring someone to step down from a manager position (even if the new job is more pay) runs the risk that you’ll leave quickly in order to move up. I think he’s right that you’re better off establishing yourself as a manager and then reapplying to that company at a higher level.

          1. TootsNYC*

            And when you combine this with the fact that you ARE looking to leave right after getting a promotion, you look like someone who moves on very quickly.

            He gave you tips on how to combat that impression.

        2. TootsNYC*

          It’s not just that the feeling would be fleeting!

          It’s that you would completely torpedo your chances of ever being hired at that company (or by that manager wherever else he goes).

          It’s too bad about the money–but you made a good impression. And if you invest some time and energy in your management resumé, maybe you can move over to a manager position at that company. Those don’t come along as frequently, but you can have a little more time to work on your qualifications–and your resumé is known there.

    4. Marthooh*

      I thought the hiring manager was being a compulsive people-pleaser here: “I have bad news for you, but if you squint and look at it sideways, it’s really good news!”

      Definitely do not confront, though. There’s no point.

      1. Bubba*

        Who knows.
        I have asked several of my friends as far as certifications or things to pick up to try to “impress this guy” (if there is a next time). One person said…you are already a manager, get your MBA. Although I sincerely doubt my company offers some kind of tuition reimbursement for that. Even if I sweet talk my CEO really, really well.

        I am starting to think that maybe my promotion wasn’t a good thing after all!

        1. Elise*

          I don’t think I’d say your promotion was a bad thing for your career, just this one specific position you applied for. Who knows if it’s really the reason you weren’t hired or just words to soften the blow, but I think his advice to stay in the management position for a few years is sound. Yes, you could go be a system admin for more money right now, but with your current experience plus a few years of management experience, you could jump into an even better and higher paying role.

          I wouldn’t go out and get an MBA though, unless you know that it is a degree that is sought after for upper level management in your industry. You may be undervaluing the bump a few years of management experience could be for you.

          1. Elise*

            Caveat here: my comments only apply if you really want to be a manager. If you’d rather just get a higher paying systems admin position and not climb up to management positions, that’s fine too. Just keep looking for roles that open up elsewhere.

        2. TootsNYC*

          Your promotion was an investment in you from the company. It’s really the equivalent of getting a new job. So if you leave too soon, you look like a job-hopper. And actually, you look even worse than a job hopper, I think.
          I might react like, “Wow, what does a company have to do to keep this guy? A promotion isn’t enough?”

          This guy gave you his personal opinion that you need 2.5 years before you look stable enough to move on. So, use that time to make yourself stronger, and you can probably go for an even higher title.

          Set some good managerial-type goals. (I posted some ideas a little lower down in this section of the comments.) Achieve them, highlight them on your resumé.

          Certifications might be OK, but often those are for non-managerial, “hands on the keyboard” type people, not the thinkers and planners. But there are managerial certifications and classes–maybe take one of those if you can swing it financially (or can get the company to help).

    5. TootsNYC*

      One other thought I had later:

      This guy is also taking a round-about way of giving you advice.

      You got a promotion and you want to leave right away. That doesn’t look good. You need to stay in that job for a couple of years so it looks as though you are a person who would reward the company’s investment in you with a little loyalty. I think you run a risk if you move ANYwhere in the next year, at least.

      So, my advice: Focus hard on what sorts of solid, easily defined achievements you can carve out of the next year and a half (standardize systems? codify policies? Institute training? improve turnaround time?).
      Do those things.

      Then in a year and a half, go back to him (and anyone else) with those achievements, and say, “Please think of me if something comes up that’s suitable in the next year.”

    6. AMT27*

      I agree that you shouldn’t confront him, but I disagree with everyone else’s opinions that he was being kind. To me, it sounds condescending. You are looking for a new job, presumably for good reason. It is not his job to manage your resume, and if you are looking to change jobs then his advice is useless – if it is a job you are miserable in, or at an awful company, two years is not always doable, no matter how well-intentioned. I’d rather a hiring manager give a reason they don’t want me in a role, rather than reasons they think *I* shouldn’t make a move….

  16. Trout 'Waver*

    OP#5, I work in a STEM field and I disagree with Alison here. If the internship is part of the PhD program, I would expect applications to come from the university e-mail address. Using a personal e-mail address would seem odd to me. Not so much that it’d affect the application, though. I like the posters’ advice above to use the university address and CC or BCC your personal e-mail address.

    1. blackcat*

      Yes, generally, in academic positions, you should use your institutional address to apply for new jobs.

  17. Whats In A Name*

    My first reaction to OP #1 was that it’s a lot of money, but honestly my reaction is much different from Alison’s…just a twist on regular referral bonuses to employees….

    I’ve worked at companies where they offer a referral bonus to employees…sometimes up to $500 if the person gets hired. We had an anti-nepotism policy, but with a caveat that employees got $100 at hire at $400 after 6 months people generally only referred people they thought might be a genuine fit – they didn’t want to risk their reputation no matter what the reward, I would think these acquaintances would feel the same about OP.

  18. Professor Ronny*

    #5. In the US, we expect that students applying for something educationally related will use their school email address. I’ve hired a lot of professors and everyone of them applied using their (then) current school email address. It’s just the way things are done in academia. Using a non-edu address would stand out.

    1. OP5*

      Thanks, that’s really reassuring. I spent a good week working on the application I sent off and really want to make a good impression.

    2. Sarah*

      I agree with this as well. I wouldn’t automatically discount someone with a Gmail (or whatever), but an institutional email address signals your connection and verifies that you’re legit to a certain extent.

  19. Mike C.*

    I’m a little confused about the uneasiness people are feeling about a finders fee. I get that it’s unusual, but if someone found me a job with a significant raise with better benefits, it would certainly be worth a few grand to me.

    If folks are worried about subpar candidates being pushed forward or worse people lying to get the money, the normal hiring process should take care of those issues and the reputation of the person pushing the candidate forward would suffer for it. So, I don’t see this as a big issue – in fact, you’re going to deal with this if the employer offers a finders fee.

    I guess I see it as a significant motivator to get people to start looking hard for positions that you might fit. I don’t know that I would do it personally, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    1. LBK*

      I think it’s because networking is a normal thing that doesn’t usually cost anyone money, so it’s weird to turn it into a transaction. At most I’d think buying someone lunch as a thank you would be enough, but to pay a hefty sum for those services is just so weird to me. It would almost feel ostentatious.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        But like I said above, a lot of people are lazy. They will say they will look at their jobs board or ask around, and then they just don’t.

        This gives them an incentive to actually do what they say they will do.

        1. LBK*

          If you don’t have good contacts that you can actually leverage who will help you out, then that’s just bad networking, IMO.

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          But that translates into other people owing you work. I do ask around, and I do keep my eyes open, but sometimes it’s not my first priority. And I don’t think it should be, and I wouldn’t expect that from a friend or an acquaintance. My friends don’t owe me anything, except maybe 10 bucks on occasion.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            If someone says they will do something, I do absolutely think they owe you the follow through. If they don’t want to or think they won’t get around to it, they should be honest and say so. In fact, paying them says that he does NOT think he is owed anything.

            And even here, if they don’t want to, they don’t have to. They just won’t get the money. You are treating it as if people are being penalized for not getting the OP a job. That isn’t happening- the ones who put in the effort just get rewarded. And those who don’t want paid can refuse or donate the fee to charity or whatever.

      2. Mike C.*

        I’m not going to lie, I find the whole “networking” thing to be distasteful. I shouldn’t have to be constantly glad-handing people I normally wouldn’t deal with for the possibility of a job or some help down the line. I understand it’s how things are, but I just don’t enjoy it.

        And the idea that it doesn’t cost any money is something that with further consideration I’m beginning to disagree with. I mean yes, it’s possible but money buys access to places us mere mortals aren’t allowed to go. I have the network I have mostly because I got a scholarship to a rather small but otherwise expensive pricey private college. What’s messed up is how stratified those networks can become – a good friend of mine once told me about how at her private school, the girls who couldn’t trace their family trees back to the Mayflower were excluded by those who could.

        So I guess at the end of the day I don’t think you’re wrong, I just don’t think that normal networking is all it’s cracked up to be.

        1. LBK*

          I mean, there’s the slimy version of networking where you kiss up to people to get ahead, and then there’s genuinely building relationships with people and establishing a reputation throughout the course of your career, whether they’re coworkers, colleagues, third-party contacts, people you meet at events, etc.

          I think it’s taken on more of the former connotation recently, largely as the result of pervasive bad career advice that basically says to force yourself on people in order to use them as connections, but people still do the latter and use it to succeed without being so gross about it.

          1. Fisherman2*

            Problem is – I don’t want to do either.

            What I want from a job… I perform services in exchange for currency. The end.

            1. LBK*

              I wouldn’t be able to be successful at my job without building strong relationships and having a good reputation.

              1. Fisherman2*

                Me either – but one can build strong relationships and have a good reputation without networking. In fact, IME, networking is largely tangential.

                Doing good work for people will build strong relationships and a good reputation.

        2. Jaguar*

          I agree. The networking idea – that everyone has to do it and nobody should be able to get away circumventing it – boils down to dogma. Unless it’s a thing that’s mandatory for your field (like politics, say), the idea that you have to network and anything else is unethical is just a way of rewarding a skill that’s irrelevant to a job. If a doctor (or whatever job you prefer that networking isn’t a core component of competency) gets better results from networking, shouldn’t we applaud a method of circumventing networking? Who wants to be treated by a doctor who is in their position because of their ability to network?

          1. LBK*

            As I alluded to in my comment right above this one, I don’t think there’s any job where having strong relationships and a good reputation isn’t important. To me, the best way of having a network is being good at your job, and a network of good connections will follow.

            1. Jaguar*

              But that’s circular. If two equally talented employees by whatever measure that employee is judged have different salaries and/or career progression and the difference is one is better at networking, your argument is that the higher paid one is better because of the method which has facilitated that. So, anyone who is has a better job is better at what they do because they have the better job.

              But we know that isn’t the case. Meritocracies rarely (if ever) exist and there is plenty of evidence that people who are high in extroversion make more money. This is not to mention that people often see “networking” as an unpleasant extra-curricular activity they feel obliged to engage in to further their career. I’m not arguing we should demolish this or view networking as negative or anything like that – it’s the realities that we have to grapple with. But to argue that someone finding a way around it is shameful or gross, to me, is nothing more than tacitly enforcing an unfair inequity. I can understand people being weirded out because it’s uncommon, but the arguments against it don’t hold any water for me.

              1. LBK*

                I’m not sure jobs going to the people who can afford to pay off their acquaintances for leads is really solving any inequity.

              2. LBK*

                And again, when I talk about networking, I’m talking about organically building connections over time. Not going to “networking events” and handing out a bunch of business cards and then calling those people up when you need a job.

                1. Jaguar*

                  Right. However you define networking, I still have the same objection.

                  I agree that people should get along with coworkers and that it’s a valuable trait to many jobs. But I don’t think the reality of the situation is that this maps 1:1 where the people who benefit from being pleasant are rewarded in equal measure to what level of contribution that pleasantness is (I’m using vague terminology here because niceness / getting along is so hard to quantify). I think it’s pretty obvious that the reality of the situation is that people are very disproportionately rewarded in their careers or jobs by their sociability. I think there’s an ocean of divide between how competent someone is and how much their sociability has rewarded them (or not) and is therefore an inequity (and a pretty blatant one, too, in my opinion). If we agree to that much, I don’t see how you can look down on someone for finding a way around it on the basis of supporting that inequitable system. Paying people for successfully landing you a job is rigging the system, but the system is already rigged anyway. Arguing against an inequitable system because there’s this other inequitable system that’s the way things are done and should be used doesn’t make sense to me at all. As I said, that sounds like dogma to me.

                2. LBK*

                  I’m not talking about socialization or being nice. I’m talking about actually being good at your job and that causing you to build a network organically because people respect you as a professional. Being helpful and reliable are traits that have nothing to do with your sociability, but they’re traits that build relationships that you can leverage because people want to help out people who help them.

                  Yes, there are people who can schmooze their way to the top without actually being competent. But you can also work your way up by actually just being good at what you do. It’s worked wonders for me so far in my career, and I’m as introverted as they come. It might not work as quickly, but I also think you overestimate just how much being a good schmoozer can get you. The Peter Principle still applies to extroverts.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’m uneasy about it for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t like the idea that I am available for hire to my friends. That’s squicky, and it creates an imbalance in the relationship that I find highly uncomfortable. Second, I believe that networking is hugely important and that job searchers should do that themselves– once introductions are made, people should take it from there, not pay people to do it for them. Third, I can’t afford to lay down $1k (even with a job) like that, so I don’t like that expectation being established.

      When someone takes the time to make an introduction or give me an informational interview and I get a job, I will buy them coffee or lunch or a cocktail– something we can do together– as a thank-you for the help. And if I refer to someone to my company, I’ll get a referral bonus from the company. Those things are cool. But paying someone who is not a recruiter to essentially do the job of one? That’s a big leap in convention for me.

      I don’t walk around looking for things I can do out of the kindness of my heart or for the sake of karma, but networking and making introductions (which take up very little of my time, by the way) are something I think most people do because they consider it a kindness. To add money into that mix just creates an “ick” factor for a lot of people, myself included.

      1. Ballet Flats.*

        I agree with all of this. Especially the ick factor. It would make me very uncomfortable if an acquaintance started waving money in my face as a motivator – like, dude, if I know a job you’d be good for I’d tell you, you don’t have to make it into a financial transaction!

        Money may be a stronger motivator to some people commenting here than it is to me, but I’d rather not feel like people think I’ll only help out if they pay me. Also, it feels extremely privileged – only those making a considerable amount or who have been lucky can really afford to throw money at this, so it comes across as rich people paying peons to do the grunt work, which is crappy.

        1. mousanon*

          “so it comes across as rich people paying peons to do the grunt work, which is crappy.”

          I believe that’s called “capitalism”

        2. Whats In A Name*

          see my comment above but I largely disagree with this: only those making a considerable amount or who have been lucky can really afford to throw money at this

          If I am making $18,000 a year and have scrimped and saved over a decade to $1,000 in a rainy day fund and decide not being unemployed for 6 plus month justifies dipping into my rainy day fund it doesn’t make me privileged, it makes me confident in investing in myself. I do not like it when people toss the “only the privledged” card around.

          Some of us just work hard and try to apply our funds where we think they are most important, we aren’t trust fund babies.

          1. LBK*

            This is pretty condescending; the idea that poor people just aren’t spending their money correctly is not broadly accurate.

        3. Mike C.*

          I think folks are ignoring the networking effects one receives in being from a privileged background. Those connections are made as much by hard work as they are by your last name, the schools you attend and how much you and your family are worth.

    3. bridget*

      Yeah, I agree. If a casual acquaintance tells me he’s looking for a job, I’ll respond with any information I know of off the top of my head. I won’t go any farther than that. If a thousand dollars were on the line, I’d probably dig further (call up people in my network to inquire about openings, etc.). That’s significant work, and I wouldn’t usually expend the time or professional capital.

      Presumably this is why employers and recruiters offer finders fees – people look harder and deeper for candidates than if there were no incentive, and proactively reach out to people in their network to gather information they don’t have at their fingertips. It must make a difference, or they wouldn’t offer them. The same value added should exist on the candidate side as well, but I think it makes people feel weird because you’re combining a business transaction with a personal friendship in ways that feel uncomfortable in social situations.

    4. Brogrammer*

      I think different people are reading the question differently. You seem to be reading it as a general, “Hey, is anyone up for some freelance headhunting?” enquiry, while others seem to be reading it as paying for specific referrals.

      Personally, I’m reading the question the same way you are. Passing along a resume for a an open position that I already knew about takes minimal effort, so I’m always willing to do that. But if I don’t already know about open positions that I think would be a good match, there’s a limit to how much time and energy I’m realistically able to invest in helping someone.

  20. KR*

    For number 5… I would worry about using your university email with a really drawn out application process or someone who noticed your resume buried in their email late. Your time with the university might be done and the email address cancelled, meaning potential hiring managers couldn’t get in contact with you.

    1. OP5*

      Hi KR, thank you for the concern but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. I’m only applying for internships to do at the end of the year and my PhD doesn’t come to an end until 2019 (loooong way to go!) I’ll certainly use my personal email address when it comes to applying for jobs at the end of my PhD.

  21. Jessesgirl72*

    I disagree with Alison on #1. How is what the OP is doing any ethically or even optically different than your standard employee referral incentives? I have worked for more than one place who gave me cash money for anyone they hired. The OP isn’t asking them to pressure someone to hire them- just to get his application/resume in the hands of the person doing the hiring.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      If you were to say to me, “Hey, I know there’s a job opening at your company. Can you get my resume to the hiring manager? I’ll give you $500,” I would be so weirded out that I may question whether to continue our acquaintance. I would probably be a little offended, to be honest. Why? Because that is something that I do often (getting resumes into people’s hands) and I consider it a courtesy. To offer to pay me for it implies that you wouldn’t trust me to do it without payment, like I’m a mercenary.

      So my reaction is a bit extreme. However, I think of it like this: you come to me and say, “I’m looking for a new job. I saw that your company is hiring.” I say, “It is, but I think it’s a terrible place and would make you miserable and I’m trying to get out.” “I’ll be the judge of that. Please get my resume to the hiring manager.” “I really don’t feel comfortable doing it.” “Would you do it for $500?” And poof, our friendship is seriously damaged.

      If you have a good network, you can make that network work for you and you can do so in kind, which is how it’s supposed to work.

      1. AMPG*

        I don’t think you’re describing the OP’s situation, though (although I could be wrong). I read the letter not as “I’ll pay you to get my resume seen for THIS position” but rather “Please check your networks and pass my resume around for anything suitable. If I get a job from your connection, I’ll pay you!” It’s almost like offering to hire friends as short-term consultants, with pay for performance only.

        1. Whats In A Name*

          I actually read it as “I’ll give you $500 if I get hired at a job you referred me to.” It doesn’t even have to be that the employee passed the resume on – I got a position once where someone said “hey, this is open but only listed on our website” and they got a $500 bonus (albeit from their company, not me)

    2. LBK*

      I think it’s different from a company offering a referral bonus because there’s existing financial relationships there, both between you and your employer (who is obviously already paying you your salary) and between a company and a potential candidate. The OP injecting money into a social or professional relationship where it doesn’t already exist is what feels weird to me.

      It’s also weird because this is generally something that people already do for free (albeit not necessarily with much gusto, as others have pointed out). If I have a good enough relationship with you that I’m comfortable putting you in touch with one of my contacts, it’s weird to try to pay me for that. It would be like trying to give me a matchmaking fee if I set you up with a friend of mine on a date and it went well.

      I think it also makes me uncomfortable because conversely, if I don’t know you well enough to put you in touch with a professional contact of mine, trying to pay me off to do so is almost offensive to me. Even if I make the connection with clear caveats that I’ve never worked with you, I’m just making an intro and not a recommendation, etc. there’s still some risk to my professional reputation and to my relationship with that person if you turn out to be a bad hire.

      Effectively, the whole thing comes off to me like “Hey, you don’t know and/or like me well enough to do this as a free favor, but would you be more willing to stake your networking contacts on my capability as an employee if I paid you for it?” And the answer to that, for me, is an emphatic no.

  22. Clairels*

    LW1: Me, upon reading this letter and before reading Alison’s response: Hey, I never thought of that! What a great idea!

    I think that’s bad.

  23. LiveAndLetDie*

    OP3, going back to a hiring manager that gave you a “no” (no matter their reasoning, honestly) is a waste of your time and carries far greater risk of making you look bad and damaging your professional relationship than anything else. You won’t get anything out of it, it’s not worth your time.

  24. Allison*

    #1, if a friend or acquaintance of mine is looking for a job, and I know of a job they’d be good for, I won’t need a “finder’s fee” to motivate me, I’m happy to put people in touch with hiring managers if it might help them get a job. If they’re actually qualified, that is. I mean, a thousand bucks is awesome, but if someone’s been unemployed, I’d feel weird accepting money when they probably need to start rebuilding their savings and possibly paying down any debts they incurred.

    Also, when I’m job hunting and I see a job opening at a company a friend works at, I may ask them to refer me just so they have a shot at a referral bonus.

    1. Mike C.*

      What if you don’t know of any jobs offhand? Would it cause you to start looking around?

      1. LBK*

        For someone I wouldn’t be moved to help with a job search otherwise? No, probably not.

      2. Allison*

        Then I’d basically be looking for jobs for them. And who’s to say I’d be able to find jobs they couldn’t? I’m not an agency recruiter who has access to jobs at tons of companies, I’m internal at one single company. I’ll forward the resume to a colleague or two if I don’t know of anything, I may even ask connections at other companies if I really want to help that person, but I’m not gonna hit up job boards and send my friend’s resume in for them. That’s something they can and should do themselves.

  25. FD*

    #1- I think the reason this feels off is that it’s similar to taking advertising money without disclosing it.

    If a company pays a referral bonus to its employees (or pays a recruiter), the company knows it, and knows how it may influence some employees to recommend people who won’t work out. The company can take this into account when making its decisions.

    If you pay a finder’s fee, and presumably, most employers won’t know about it since it’s a private agreement between you and your friends. As a result, the employer doesn’t have all the facts and can’t tell that there’s a potential financial motivation behind the recommendation.

    If you pay a finder’s fee, and presumably, most employers won’t know about it since it’s a private agreement between you and your friends

    1. FD*

      Eh, I copied and pasted that wrong, sorry for the random duplication at the end of the comment. Alison, feel free to edit that out if you wish to do so.

  26. Delta Delta*

    #2 – On behalf of spouses everywhere, I say bravo to no spouses at work events. This is just me, but I’d rather eat my own finger than go to my own office Christmas party. going as a spouse/+1 is even worse. My favorite thing about my husband’s current job is that their office events are during the work day. No spouses. It’s fabulous not to have to go and that there is no expectation. Everyone’s happy that way.

    This doesn’t exactly fit the situation described in #2. Just saying it may be that some spouses would be ok with being “banned” from work events.

    And I suppose if there were couples/work friends who wanted to socialize they could do so outside larger workplace events.

    1. Observer*

      Two things.

      One is that banning SOs from events is ok if it’s being done for generally applicable reasons, such as that “this is actually a work event that we are holding during work hours.” But, to do this to work around a problem with specific staff is not ok.

      Worse is the proposed ban on any OS coming onto the premises during work hours. Unless there is a good general reason (eg a highly secure facility), that’s a huge leap to take. Doing that to people to let a couple of employees to avoid dealing with their SOs is just not appropriate.

  27. Delta Delta*

    I don’t mean to make light of potential security issues, if I come across that way.

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