can I ask a rejected job candidate on a date?

A reader writes:

My team has been hiring for a position over the past couple of months. During this time, I have served on the interviewing team. I ask questions to candidates and then give my thoughts regarding whether to move them to the next round.

My manager and I interviewed a guy during first round interviews and really liked him based on his credentials and answers, so we moved him forward. My manager then moved him from the second round to the final round of interviews. During this time, he was one of the final two applicants left. Our team took both final two applicants out for coffee to get to know them better.

At this point, my manager decided to offer the job to the other candidate. Now, I’m wondering if it would be appropriate for me to reach out to the interviewee we did not extend the offer to and ask him out on a date.

I thought he and I connected really well during the coffee portion of the interview, but I don’t want for there to be any mixed messages. I also don’t want to get in trouble at work.

Don’t do it.

He was there in a professional context, and he shouldn’t have to wonder whether accepting/declining the date could potentially affect his professional chances with your company in the future. Even if you know there’s zero chance of that happening, he doesn’t know that and it sucks to have to do the calculations that a lot of people grapple with when they’re asked out in a professional context: Am I misinterpreting and this is a platonic coffee? What if I say no because I think it’s a date but she just wanted to network, or even wanted to give me advice on how I interviewed? What if it is a date and if I say no, she’ll be cooler on my candidacy if I apply with that company in the future? Or what if I say yes and it doesn’t go well — wouldn’t that affect my future chances too?

These issues are often more potent when the person being asked out is a woman, because there’s a larger cultural context of women being subjected to unwanted advances at work (as well as being viewed as potential dates rather than colleagues), but they’re still in play when the genders are reversed.

What you could do, though, is connect with him on LinkedIn, and maybe even send him a professional message telling him you enjoyed meeting him (after your boss has sent the rejection message out). If he responds and it naturally leads to more conversation, then you can see where that goes organically. Just be sure you stay really alert to his cues — he may engage in conversation because he assumes it could benefit him professionally, and you don’t want to inadvertently take advantage of that.

{ 393 comments… read them below }

  1. Captain S

    Yeah, since you only know him (and presumably only have his contact information) because of a professional situation (and one with inherent power dynamics at that) you can’t do it.

    1. StressedButOkay

      Thiiiiis. Even though your organization passed him over for the other candidate, there’s still a power dynamic there and probably will be for a while. As Alison said, anything you do could lead him to thinking there’s a chance – not with you but with your organization.

      There’s also the possibility that there is another chance with your organization. If there’s even a hint that he’s been marked as a potential for down the road should the opportunity present itself, you really do not want to muddle that by asking him out on a date.

      1. Sloan Kittering

        Yeah, that’s the hard thing about a power imbalance, is it’s easy to dismiss or downplay it when it’s in your favor – in part because you’re holding more cards and you know more about the situation (for example, you know there’s no way he could move forward with your company right now, so that’s why your relationship wouldn’t be a factor – but this person doesn’t have the benefit of that insight). And in general, the nature of power imbalances is that the person at a disadvantage feels them more keenly. Even if they’d asked YOU out, I would still hesitate just because of the context, but for you to ask them is a flat no.

        1. Aveline

          Also remember this: We always assume we are acting with good intent and that’s clear to others. It’s not.

        2. Lissa

          It’s also very very easy for people to assume that because they are well, them, that a power dynamic with them in the “power” wouldn’t be a problem. Because they don’t see themselves as powerful – this can be exacerbated if they are for instance, female, or even characteristics like having been a nerd/picked on in high school can lead people to totally discount power they might hold. Kinda gets to the same place as “how can I have privilege when I’m struggling” but not identical.

          1. DiscoCat

            I suspect that people assume that I’m in a powerful position in my role as project manager for a research consortium in academia. The institute my direct boss sits in has a very unheatly culture- little transparency, communication, disrespect all around, cliquishness- the head makes it clear that people like me, and especially I, for some reason, are beneath him- I very rarely get replies to my mails, meetings start without me etc. I also sit in a different building. So I feel I’m at the bottom of the hierarchy. My direct boss on the other hand said a couple of times that he wants us to play “Good boss, bad boss” me being the baddy from admin- I shut him down the second time he brought it up. But I noticed that his PhD students and some others act very uneasy around litte old me, so I suspect that he might have playd that card when uncomfortable budgetary and staffing decision for his group come up- even though I only administer one of his many projects. It’s a weird head-fu** dealing with this disparate treatment…

      2. Cat Fan

        The candidate could also think maybe she knocked him out of the running so she could ask him out! Better off leaving this guy alone.

        1. restingbutchface

          Or that if he goes out with the OP he might have a chance next time.

          Please don’t, OP. It’s so incredibly likely to go wrong, it really isn’t worth it. If you bump into each other in Whole Foods in six months and your eyes meet over the unwashed kale, then maybe, but please don’t contact him now.

          1. Michaela Westen

            Yes, even if you contact him professionally as Alison suggested, he’ll probably go to “I still have a chance with this company”, not “she’s interested in me”.

        2. Jaz

          Also, if others in the company find out about her asking him out, it may make them wonder whether she recommended him for less than professional reasons.

      3. JessaB

        Also, if I were turned down and then asked for a date, I’d wonder if I was turned down BECAUSE someone wanted to date me. There’s no way this comes out well.

        1. Nic

          Or worse yet, I’d wonder is this an “if you go out with me, then I’ll recommend you for the next post that comes up” transaction?

          I mean, I’m sure OP wouldn’t do that, but…yeah, from the candidate’s POV, this doesn’t come across well. And I’m sure Alison’s right about reaching out on LinkedIn being OK, but personally, I’d just let him go completely and not try to reach out at all. (Though if he comes back into your life on another, non-job-related occasion? Go for it!)

    2. Jane Finch

      I mean, does she even know if he is single? This is gross, and if it were a man asking the same question about a female candidate, I suspect the comments would be a lot less diplomatic. I wonder if this person has even bothered to ask their manager and considered the ramifications this could have for their company, or are they asking Allison for a second (validating) opinion.

      1. Good luck!

        I contemplated pointing out that for how much OP knows, he’s not single, could be gay, asexual, etc… but I think that doesn’t really change the advice. Regardless, she shouldn’t contact him for a date.

        1. Jennifer

          Also, you don’t really know that before you ask anyone out that’s virtually a stranger. You just ask.

        2. pleaset

          If there is no power differential, I don’t think not knowing the person’t sexuality or situation should preclude asking them out. They can say no.

          1. RUKiddingMe

            Agreed. It’s not like we can really go around asking people to submit all pertinent relationship/sexuality info before asking them out.

            “Would you like to go in a date with me?”“I’m married/I’m gsy…whatever.” “Oh, ok then…”

            Should be ok.

            1. RUKiddingMe

              Damn submitted too soon…

              “Sorry you didn’t get the job/we are still considering applicants, etc. would you like to go on a date with me?”

              Is not ok.

      2. Sloan Kittering

        I don’t necessarily think it’s gross to notice that you’re attracted to someone, and wonder if it would be okay to pursue it. It happens. Part of the difficulty in this context is that this guy was probably at Maximum Charming setting during his interview, and was way more attentive and responsive to OP-as-interviewer than he might have genuinely felt for her personally, which makes it even harder to tell if he might have legit interest. The same can happen in the service industry sometimes, where a pretty waitress seems so friendly and interested in your coffee order that you assume she must want to date you.

          1. Aveline

            As a female attorney, I can’t tell you how many men confuse my “on stage” lawyer charm with something else.

            Back in the day when I did a stint as a waitress, the confusion of my being warm and charming with being interested was a multiple times a day occurrence. And, no, it wasn’t something I was doing. I asked my very critical boss to watch.

            It’s just that people who want someone to be interested in them often confuse neutral charm with purposeful interest.

            1. Quickbeam

              I am a nurse and ditto. People misunderstood compassion for an open invitation for a hand job. All.The. Time. You stop being surprised but you never really get used to it.

                1. PhyllisB

                  Cochrane, good thing I wasn’t drinking anything, I would have sprayed my laptop. After the split second it took me to remember what a Foley was.

              1. MegaMissyStar

                Do patients literally say, “Can I get a handy?” If you answer yes, I’m going to hide in my sofa fort the rest of the day.

                1. Helena

                  I wouldn’t say requesting a handjob is something that happens often, but yes it does happen, particularly to nurses carrying out personal care.

                  Gross comments during catheterisation do indeed happen all. the. time if the medical professional is female, presumably due to the patient feeling awkward (why they think making a crude remark will improve things I don’t know).

                  We also had a (female) patient sending a (male) physician naked selfies (one of the nurses gave out his number, despite being told not to). She actually became a real nuisance, and we had to transfer her care to another hospital (we tried getting another of our physicians to see her but she carried on stalking him, she was one of our long term outpatients).

        1. Où est la bibliothèque?

          I haven’t experienced this romantically, but I’ve interviewed someone and thought “man, I wish we could be friends!” Not so much the fact that she was at her most outgoing and charming, but she brought up a fairly uncommon hobby came up that we share and her enthusiasm for it was obviously genuine.

          If I’d met her in a social setting we probably both would have been excited to talk to someone about Hobby, so it was a bit of a bummer to know that it would be A+ weird to try to try to make even a platonic connection under the circumstances.

          1. Cafe au Lait

            I’ve been very lucky this past year to develop a medical care team that I’d love to be friends with if none of my medical crap was the reason I’d met them. It’s a bit of a bummer that those professional boundaries need to be maintained, but I also count my lucky blessings I’m able to feel like I’m confiding to a friend about an issue rather than a clinician.

        2. Falling Diphthong

          Yep, when OP talked about how much they connected I immediately thought “it’s his job to make you feel that way”–like the barista. The ability to make other people think “Wow, they really like me” is useful in all sorts of professional settings, without it meaning the person wants to date you.

      3. DonnaMartinGraduates!

        I disagree. Allison’s response seemed gender neutral to me and sensible advice (as per usual).

        1. DonnaMartinGraduates!

          (I disagree with “if it were a man asking the same question about a female candidate,”

        2. Ask a Manager Post author

          I think Jane meant the comments would be harsher if it were a man asking about asking out a woman and I suspect that’s true — but that’s one reason why I thought this question was a good one to use, because it turns some of our ingrained assumptions around.

          1. Mayor of Llamatown

            I thought it was really interesting to see the reverse of the usual dynamics. Thanks for choosing this letter.

          1. Dragoning

            Because Alison referred to the LW as female–which sometimes she does, but she also has the LW’s first name, presumably.

            1. SometimesALurker

              Thanks, Suzy, Dragoning and Rainy, I had the same question, forgetting that Allison may well know the Letter Writer’s gender from their email!

      4. AntsOnMyTable

        It also reminds me of the times, when I worked customer service, when guys would ask me out because they thought my smiling pleasant attitude was because I was interested. No, it was because I have to do that as a job. Just because you had good rapport – when he was trying to land a job with your company – means he felt anything romantic. I think people should stay away from asking out someone based on that person being friendly when it was most likely the situation.

    3. Kathleen_A

      I’m just going to go with “No.” All kiiiiiinds of “no.”

      Maybe months from now after he’s gainfully employed elsewhere and has no professional expectations regarding you or your company, it might be OK. Maybe. But until then, no. Just no. Honestly, I don’t think it would be a great idea even then. By far the safest and best approach is to tell yourself, “It was just not meant to be,” and move on.

      1. Jess

        I think months isn’t long enough. Like – if she bumped into him a year or two down the line and it was in a social context (like at a friend’s party or through a hobby) not related to work at all.

    4. PaperTiger

      I disagree. If I were the candidate in this situation I would prefer the interviewer reach out to me, especially since she is not the hiring manager and did not make the final decision. One of two things could happen:
      1: The interviewer read the situation correctly and they did connect during the coffee portion of the process, in which case he will probably be happy to hear from her and may want to go out.
      2: The interviewer is incorrect, and the candidate is not interested. In which case he can politely decline – he already didn’t get the job, so there is not “maybe i’ll get hired if I go out with her'” conflict here.

      If I were the candidate in this situation I would ABSOLUTELY want the interviewer to reach out to me. who knows, maybe he’s wishing he had her contact information to ask her out.

  2. Kelly AF

    There’s a real power imbalance between an interviewer and a job candidate, generally, and even if your intention isn’t to exploit that power imbalance, the imbalance still exists. I think you wrote in because your gut is telling you this is a bad idea. Trust your gut!

  3. Jennifer

    There was a discussion about this on the radio show I listen to. The situation was much worse though. The woman rejected the guy for the job because she wanted to date him, then got his phone number off his application and tried to ask him out. Disaster and beyond unethical.

    I think Alison’s advice is spot on. Sending him a professional message and seeing where it goes is a good idea – only after he knows he isn’t getting the job. Really pay attention to his cues. Finding a decent guy is difficult and I can’t fault a girl for trying :) Just take it slow and if he does respond and it leads to more conversation, I’d wait a little while before asking to meet in person.

    1. General Ginger

      Yikes, yikes, yikes. Invasive, unethical, and on a personal level, I can’t imagine always knowing in the back of my head “I sabotaged this person’s career for this” while dating them, how would that not bother her?

      1. Jennifer

        I was thinking the same thing! They tried to tell her that but she was determined. She got turned down anyway.

        At least in the OP’s situation, she knows the guy isn’t going to get the job and she didn’t make the final decision.

      2. Rusty Shackelford

        Probably the kind of person who thinks “I’m better for him than that stinky old job would have been!”

        1. RUKiddingMe

          Yeah this. Someone who could do that to someone else probably is’t all that interested in what’s good for the other person as long as they get what they want.

      3. Batgirl

        There’s lots of people who view their partners as toys or accessories and don’t really care about their lives overall so long as everything is fun.

    2. Dust Bunny

      Oh my god.

      I mean, I’ve done some dumb things in my life but, wow, nothing like that.

      1. Jennifer

        Same, especially when an attractive guy was involved, but I can say I’ve never done anything on that level.

    3. Good luck!

      Frankly, I think you can fault a girl for trying. There are situations in which it is not appropriate to ask someone out on a date, and I would say after you interviewed them is one of those situations. It doesn’t make OP evil, obviously, but it is inappropriate. Imagine someone saying, “Well, you can’t fault a man for trying!”

      1. Jennifer

        I think you’re taking that too literally. There would be many situations where I’d say, “You can’t fault a guy for trying.” It would depend on the context. Of course, there are situations where it’s inappropriate to ask someone out. I’m just saying I understand that it’s difficult to meet people sometimes and it’s hard to walk away when you finally find someone you have a connection with.

        I actually agreed with Alison’s advice. I think sending a professional message and seeing where things go from there organically is a good idea.

        1. Jennifer

          To be clear, I’m referring to the situation in the OP, not the example from the radio show.

        2. Chalupa Batman

          I’m ok with the “can’t fault a girl for trying” wording for OP, too. It’s ok to wonder if it would be ok regardless of gender. Not too long ago, I realized in the middle of a friendly chat with a stranger that he might be working up to asking me out. I’ve reached an age group where most people in my area have coupled up, so I probably took much too long to realize I was being felt out (figuratively, not literally). I am married and not looking for someone new, so I wished him a good day and moved on when I caught the vibe, but I certainly wouldn’t have faulted him for trying. There was nothing wrong with him not magically knowing I wasn’t interested. OP is just in the unfortunate position of being on the wrong side of the power differential.

      2. Coffee Bean

        I think the unethical part is she turned him down because she wanted to date him.

        Not simply that she interviewed him and then asked him out.

    4. Eukomos

      Oh my god. On the bright side, he really dodged a bullet not getting a job from someone with judgement like that. It must show up in other ways!

      1. MelRedcap

        Yeah, it’s… at least better than hiring the guy and then sexually harassing him at work? I guess?

        Man, the fact that I’m posting that as a positive creeps me out. :P

      2. Jennifer

        I think we’re in Fatal Attraction territory with her. I’m honestly nervous that she has his address.

    5. Anoncorporate

      Oh noooooo.

      I’m sorry, but there are some people in the world you just can’t date, no matter how attractive they are. Some people need to internalize this.

  4. Fuzzyfuzz

    Hi–Alison you may know this because of this person’s email address. But is the LW definitely a woman? It wouldn’t really change the advice, but for accuracy’s sake.

  5. Good luck!

    That would look pretty terrible on your part, I think, and he would be stuck navigating a crappy situation. Not to mention: You have no idea what this person is like out of a context in which they’re trying to impress you for a job. Of course you hit it off, he was trying to get a job!

    Also, I don’t know if men ever feel this way, but as a woman, it always bothers me when people comment on my appearance in professional settings… it’s like I can’t just EXIST without being an object people are attracted to.

    1. Michaela Westen

      “I can’t just EXIST without being an object people are attracted to.”
      Me too. Especially creepy selfish people. Ick.
      One of the reasons I love my friends is they do let me exist and be a friend without all that.

  6. MK

    Also, try to put this into perspective: you two might have connected really well during the coffee portion of the interview, but it was still during an interview, where he was trying to impress you to get a job. It doesn’t really mean that you two have a connection worth exploring, it doesn’t even mean he felt any personal interest in you. Don’t give it too much headspace as a missed opportunity.

    1. Bostonian

      Yeah, this is a good point. We’re going to put our best face forward for an interview, so it’s hard to say whether what OP sees as a connection would hold up otherwise.

    2. Environmental Compliance

      100%. You have just described my husband, who has a knack for being incredibly charming & personable during any sales-type situation. He is a natural salesman, and especially so in person. Does not mean he actually even likes you, he’s just in Impress You Mode. The number of times he’s had someone hit on him thinking he started it, which always results in him being horrified, is hilariously high, even with the wedding band.

      Don’t overthink someone being friendly & charming in any situation where it would benefit them to do so in a non-romantic/sexual relationship way.

    3. jamlady

      This is what I was thinking. Who my husband and I are in our professional lives is not who we are as romantic and social partners.

  7. BRR

    I would add he also shouldn’t have to wonder if he was rejected in order for you to ask him out. I wouldn’t even connect with him on LinkedIn. This doesn’t feel organic enough to me and if I was the candidate, I don’t know if I would pursue you romantically even if I was interested because of how we met. If you have trouble erasing wondering what might have been, maybe tell yourself that he was on his best behavior and dating him would be different.

    Also whether this is right or wrong, there is the potential of it impacting you at work. Obviously it’s non of your manager’s business who you date or how you met (I guess sort of how you met), but some managers might not be happy with you dating or going on a date with a rejected candidate.

    1. EPLawyer

      If I were a manager I would not be happy with one of my reports using insider private information to score a date. LW you only have his contact information because of his application. That would be wrong to exploit that knowledge for your own personal use.

      Look at this way, if you had an MLM business, would you use all the applicant info to send them requests to buy your stuff? Of course not. Same thing here.

        1. EPLawyer

          but of course. there’s a bad behavior for every situation on this site, isn’t there? (I mean that in a positive way)

    2. Jane Alex Marie

      I agree. I think the only way this could turn into a relationship organically would be if she happened to be re-introduced to him in a social situation. They could both laugh, “Oh we’ve actually already met!” And joke about how he didn’t get the job but (hopefully) has a better one now anyway, and then see if there are any mutual romantic sparks.

      Anything initiated by the LW, *especially* in a job-related spaces like LinkedIn (or an industry conference or networking meeting), is not a social situation where it will be appropriate (or effective) to judge romantic interest.

  8. Naomi

    I’d also keep in mind that in a job interview, it’s in his interest to be warm and make you like him. I mean, it’s possible that you really did make a connection, but it’s a bit like when you interact with someone in a customer service role. The barista smiles at you because it’s their job to be pleasant and friendly to customers; it’s not a sign that they like you in particular.

    1. Good luck!

      Exactly! This reminds me of all the creeps who hit aggressively on waitstaff, because “She smiled at me!” He was being pleasant in order to get a job, you can’t assume anything about how he actually feels about you or what he’s like. There was a benefit to him being polite here.

        1. Amber Rose

          Whoop, that’s what I get for not reading comments properly. I had the same thought.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch

        Yes! This is where I was landing too, it was upping my creeper creepster vibes with the ick factor.

        It’s also like when you have to deal with the “jealous” significant other that’s dinning with their partner “THE SERVER IS FLIRTING WITH YOU, MY GAWD!” no…the server is just doing their job, come down off the ledge, Ethel!

  9. NerdyKris

    I just audibly exclaimed “Oh dear god no” and showed my coworkers. That’s such a terrible idea on every level, because it will absolutely come off as “If you sleep with me, you might get the job”.

    1. Jane Alex Marie

      I had the same reaction and was disappointed in that last paragraph. LinkedIn is not OkCupid. There are plenty of people in the world to date; we can avoid dating the ones we interview for jobs.

      I’m currently job searching and have been that second choice candidate, so this particularly irks me. The job searcher was probably in the mind set that he was having coffee with a future co-worker/manager. (Of course knowing it might not happen, but still really hoping it will.) What could have possible happened during that meeting that would send romantic signals unless the job searcher was being extremely inappropriate? At best, this is wishful thinking on the LW’s part and at worst, gross and creepy. I wouldn’t trust this LW to accurately judge post-interview interactions at all.

      1. Good luck!

        I agree. LinkedIn is not OKCupid, and there’s no reason to believe LW could judge those interactions fairly. Even if there was, the guy has an active reason to keep faking it – he probably still wants a shot at the job!

      2. Psyche

        Yeah. If he stays connected on LinkedIn, he is most likely viewing it as an in for job openings in the future. Do not ask him out.

      3. Vicci

        While I 100% agree asking him out is inappropriate, I don’t think it means she viewed his warmth/connection as behaving romantically. You can connect on a platonic level, but one person is also romantically interested and wants to see if the other is. The problem here is the context.

      4. The Original K.

        Yeah, as someone who did find herself on the receiving end of unwanted advances made from LinkedIn, I was disappointed in the last paragraph too.

        1. KRM

          If I interviewed somewhere, didn’t get the job, but then an interviewer wanted to connect on LinkedIn, I’d take that more as a “well they liked me so maybe I’ll keep an eye on the company and see if something else opens up there”, and would be kind of grossed out if they connected because they secretly wanted a date.

          1. Jasnah

            Agreed. I don’t think there is any appropriate way for OP to make a move on this guy, unless they happen to meet elsewhere in a totally different context–not through Linked In, not if OP sends a follow-up email, not if he contacts her again. And if the genders were reversed I think everyone, including OP, would clearly see why.

      5. TootsNYC

        yeah, I don’t like the LinkedIn advice.

        I was going to suggest seeking out some “extracurricular” that you knew about, so that there was a social way to “run into” him, but as I think about it, that squicks me out as well.

        1. Michaela Westen

          If I mentioned my hobby in an interview and then an interviewer turned up there, my first thought would be that he/she is stalking me. Unless I knew for sure they were already involved in this hobby before they met me.

          1. TardyTardis

            Well, if the interviewer was already a 94 level paladin or some such, I think it’s reasonable to assume she’s been there a while already, just to put forth one example.

      6. Kate R

        That last paragraph made me cringe a little too. I know a lot of people who use LinkedIn the same way you would exchange business cards, so I don’t think sending the request is so weird, but when you’re crushing on someone (for lack of a better term), I think the hope for more is hard to quash. I also think it’s really hard to interpret someone’s intentions through messaging when you can’t hear their tone or see their body language, so the possibility to interpret wrong is high. In addition to accepting the request thinking there might be a place for him at that company in the future, he might accept just thinking it’s good to grow his network. Personally, if I was rejected from a job, and then it became apparent that one of the interviewers wanted to date me, I’d really be questioning the reasons for my rejection.

        1. sloan kittering

          To me it’s like, you can leave the door open (by doing a Linked In request) and that will give HIM the opportunity to say something if he passionately wants to connect with you – but OP should not make any other attempt to connect with him. Create an opportunity but that’s the most you can do.

    2. Sam.

      I physically recoiled from my screen and went, “Nooooo,” out loud. I suspect her gut’s telling her it’s not ok but she was hoping to be told she was wrong. Sorry, OP! Maybe your paths will cross again in the future.

  10. Sloan Kittering

    There’s no reason you couldn’t wait some six months or so, when the job is totally off the table, to extend that linked-in-with-the-hope-of-continuing-contact, or start trying to run into them again. It is hard That’s probably what I would do. It is hard when you really click with someone, and it doesn’t happen that often for me. But give him lots of space to decline and do whatever you can to keep it separate from this job. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be!

    1. Jennifer

      Waiting a little while before sending the message is a good idea. I don’t know if she necessarily has to wait six months though. That might seem kind of weird to me. I’d either think another role had opened up that they were considering me for – he was one of the top candidates – or someone I barely knew had been kind of thinking about me for six months, which is an uneasy feeling.

      1. Sloan Kittering

        You might be right, although I’d probably just assume Linked In suggested me as Someone You Might Know or whatever. I just think the individual is going to connect your interest with their job search if the two things happen within much proximity.

      2. AnotherAlison

        Yeah, I think I’d assume they had some professional reason for contacting me. It wouldn’t be as weird the other direction, but it is in this case.

        If OP really felt he was The One, I’d say the only option is to go full romantic comedy and try to find ways to bump into him non-professionally at their local coffee shop or something.

        1. Jennifer

          That might be better, though it involves some covert internet stalking to find out his favorite haunts.

        2. Rose

          “If OP really felt he was The One, I’d say the only option is to go full romantic comedy and try to find ways to bump into him non-professionally at their local coffee shop or something.” Yep. Only way to do this is to like instagram stalk (kindof) and *bump into him” in some way in like 4 months and see what happens.

        3. nutella fitzgerald

          But then what if he actually is The One and you have to keep this subterfuge a secret from him forever? :(

          1. Rusty Shackelford

            In true rom com fashion, he’ll find out and consider it charming. Also, gumption!

            1. I'm just here for the comments

              Also, she’ll do the bump and they both fall down and exchange names after narrowly avoiding concussions

          2. Emilitron

            Well then at about 1 hour 20 min into the movie, he finds out, and he gets really mad, and there’s a 5 minute montage of her eating ice cream and going to the gym. But then she spends the next 15 mintues reforming, and there’s a big Romantic Gesture and he’s convinced she really loves him, and the whole RomCom ends well.

            1. Jennifer

              She is heartbroken, but moves on and gets engaged to someone else. He runs through the streets screaming her name on her wedding day, bursts through the church doors and declares his love. The groom is surprisingly cool with it and leaves without much protest. Linkedin and Instagram co-sponsor the whole thing.

              1. restingbutchface

                I need to know who you’re casting for this because I’m imagining a young Reece Witherspoon.

                Can I suggest Vacancy For Love as a working title?

                1. Jennifer

                  Reese as the lead. Channing Tatum as her love interest. Colin Hanks as the poor sap left at the altar. Kristen Chenoweth as the snarky best friend. She can also do the soundtrack.

            2. Lissa

              ok what if she looks him up and discovers his favourite coffee shop, then starts going there in hopes of seeing him. But she never does. Then it turns out it’s because he internet-stalked her and switched to HER favourite coffee shop….

          3. AnotherAlison

            My husband and I met at a job, but we were in different departments. He would walk over to my area with two cans of pop and would say, “Hey, the machine gave me an extra Pepsi, do you want it?” And I would say yes even though I don’t like Pepsi. Turns out he bought 2 Pepsis multiple times.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch

              “I don’t even like Pepsi”

              Gasp! The whole relationship was founded on a lie ;)

              1. CmdrShepard4ever

                At least AnotherAlison and her son does not have to pretend to like propane grill burgers when they really prefer charcoal grill burgers.

              2. TootsNYC

                well, he didn’t ask her if she would enjoy the Pepsi; he asked her if she wanted it. THAT was true.

    2. Où est la bibliothèque?

      If she lets some time pass and can see that he’s found a new position, I think reaching out would be fine. A simple “obviously my team went with another candidate [x months] ago, but you seemed like a cool guy. Any interest in grabbing a non-professional-related coffee some time?” isn’t creepy and isn’t coming from a position of power.

      1. Jennifer

        That’s a good idea. And honestly, is any of this going to matter a few years from now if things work out?

    3. TootsNYC

      I think if you joined some activity he’s part of, with an eye to finding out whether there really is anything there, or if it was just the interview thing, and you hung back to see what developed, it might be OK.

      But even then–the interview dynamic is just really powerful here.

      1. TootsNYC

        meaning, you’re not trying to connect with him so you can plausibly ask him out–you’re connecting to see what impressions you form with normal interactions based on Mutual Activity.

  11. Amber Rose

    No also for the same reason you don’t ask out the person serving you food (or selling you a car or whatever). They are nice and actively trying to connect with you because they want something. You don’t actually have a good sense of who they are when their guard is down, or if you actually connect with the person and not their sales persona, and all of that plus the power imbalance makes the whole situation sketchy as heck.

    1. Où est la bibliothèque?

      I think asking someone out in a retail capacity is different–the power imbalance is less of a factor than the fact that they can feel physically trapped. But as long as you’re really chill about it, and wait until after any transaction is concluded and you’re on your way out, it’s not so terrible. And sure, their sales-face is going to be way different from their real personality, but dates are for learning about someone’s personality.

      That said, I’m aware how much unwanted attention baristas and record store clerks and other “cool” jobs get, so people definitely need to give that “I think s/he’s interested in me!” way more scrutiny than they do.

      1. TootsNYC

        ooh, I don’t think there is ANY proper way to approach someone you have only met in a retail situation.

        1. Lissa

          I have had to tell a sad number of male friends that no really, the barista/waitress etc. is not giving him special attention. And I don’t mean creepy guys here, just guys who genuinely think there might be something there and haven’t thought it through.

      2. PepperVL

        No. There’s no point at which that’s okay. Even if we just account for the barista feeling trapped, they don’t know for sure that the asker is leaving. And the barista knows the asker knows where they work. Even if they leave right then, when will they be back? Are they the kind of person who will cause trouble if rejected? There are plenty of people who would do things that range from as mild as being rude on future visits to making up stuff to try to get the barista fired to shooting the place up. Three are plenty more who wouldn’t, but the barista doesn’t know.

    2. Curiosity killed the cat

      “No also for the same reason you don’t ask out the person serving you food (or selling you a car or whatever).”

      Out of curiosity, do you think there is any situation in which it’s appropriate to ask someone out, other than a game of tiddlywinks? I mean seriously, no wonder millennials are no longer dating/getting married!!!

      1. KayEss

        Believe it or not, there is an entire industry out there specifically geared toward enabling people who are interested in being asked on dates by random people to ask each other on dates. Modern daters are extremely not lacking in places to find people to ask on dates who actually want to being asked, and about whom they can learn something other than “has a nice smile and refills my water glass promptly” to ensure basic compatibility.

      2. Decima Dewey

        Someone from your book club? Someone who seems to be seeing the same films you are a lot? That guy following you around Uniqlo who doesn’t have a staff id?

          1. restingbutchface

            Maybe not, He’s absolutely a store detective and thinks you’re shoplifting.

            Now I’m imagining the rom com. “First, she stole a jacket. Then… she stole his heart”.

        1. Spencer Hastings

          Heck, even a book club is difficult. I’ve hesitated to ask people out in that situation because, well, they’re there to participate in the book club, not necessarily to get a date…I worry that I might make the person feel uncomfortable. Or like “she seemed cool, but then she totally boyfriendzoned me!”

          1. Cheryl Blossom

            I think you’re overthinking it. “Hey, would you want to go grab some coffee sometime?” is a perfectly fine thing to ask, and if the person says no, it might be a little awkward but as long as you don’t keep asking or act like you’re totally heartbroken over a single rejection, it’ll be fine.

          2. zaracat

            It really can make people uncomfortable! I joined a social networking group because I wanted to meet new people and do non-dating stuff *as a group*, and feeling of merely being seen as “fresh meat” generated by being hit on by two men (who were at least 15 years older than me) before the end of my first dinner event was really gross. Especially as I’m asexual.

            In this sort of setting I think you get to ask once only, and be prepared to take even a very soft no as a no.

            1. zaracat

              To clarify, by “this sort of setting” I meant book club, not OP’s post-job interview situation.

              Book clubs, classes, produce aisles etc can be great places to meet potential partners, but there will be people there who genuinely are there simply to discuss books, learn a skill, or buy salad, and it’s not overthinking it to be mindful of that possibility when asking about further contact.

            2. Elizabeth West

              Yes, so much this. I learned the hard way not to date people in my social groups. If you break up, especially if it’s not amicable, it can turn into a flipping nightmare.

              1. Curiosity killed the cat

                So, now that we’ve established that some people are uncomfortable dating in professional groups, and also in social groups, and also in retail establishments, where else is one left to date? No wonder hookup apps are a thing.

      3. Gingerblue

        I have faith that millennials will manage to find love without sexually harassing the service workers who are trapped into interacting with them.

        1. Curiosity killed the cat

          Merely asking someone for a date is not sexually harassing them. (That would be “asking them repeatedly and not taking ‘no’ for an answer.”) A friend of mine who was a waitress at a Spanish tapas bar met her husband when he was a customer there. Do you really think stories like that are so rare?

          1. Jasnah

            It depends how they ask, and how it makes the recipient feel. The problem is that as the customer, it’s hard to accurately judge if the person is being nice to you because they like you, or because they want your money. So I don’t think we can give everyone a “free one time only” pass to ask out service workers.

            Scenario 1: A regular customer and barista have witty banter every day for weeks. The barista is more flirty than with other customers and thinks the regular is cute. The customer says, “Want to grab a coffee somewhere else, where you’re not working?”
            Scenario 2: A regular customer makes small talk with the barista every day for weeks. The barista is genuinely warm, but not interested in dating customers. The customer says, “Want to grab a coffee somewhere else, where you’re not working?” and also, this is the 4th customer to ask out the barista this week.

            The customer has no way of judging if the barista is being more friendly/flirty than with others. And really, isn’t it better to ask out someone who is out socially, than while they are working?

          2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

            I’d wager that being a regular customer that you have chatted with for a while makes a difference. I went on a couple of dates with people who I knew in this way (one was a record store clerk, the other a regular at my bar) but in both cases I and others around me knew them for years so there was no “random stranger” vibe. I would definitely have declined to date someone coming in for the first time.

        2. Lissa

          A surprisingly small number of people met their romantic partners via one of them working in the service industry so I’m not really worried about us dying out if nobody ever again asks out the person serving them coffee. ;)

      4. Cheryl Blossom

        There’s plenty of people you can meet and ask out that are not attempting to do their jobs. Asking out a waitress or barista who is being nice because they’re trying to get through the day = not so cool. Asking out another patron of the cafe you go to because they’re good-looking and you struck up a conversation or whatever = totally cool.

        Not to mention the old tried-and-true methods of meeting friends-of-friends, book clubs, gym classes, etc.

        This really isn’t that difficult.

        1. Observer

          Asking out a waitress or barista who is being nice because they’re trying to get through the day = so NOT cool.

          There, fixed that.

            1. Observer

              shrug.

              I was making the point that asking out the waitress or barista (or any other service worker) is not jus t”not so cool” – it’s extremely NOT OK.

                1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

                  Pretty sure it’s against the commenting rules to correct other people’s writing as well.

      5. Nephron

        Well maybe if we had work schedules that included time for social events we would be dating. But there are meet ups, social clubs, actual clubs, continuing education classes, online clubs, activism groups, basically any establishment that has humans in it as long as the person you are approaching does not work there. and when rejected you go away.

        Great campaign: Support the 40 hour work week if you want young people to date.

        1. TootsNYC

          ooh, a great idea here!

          She can start a club for young professionals in her field, and ask him to help her get it off the ground.

          Then, she can see what develops as their relationship goes from “fellow professionals who enjoyed a professioanl contact and are working on profession-adjacent things” to “people who know each other through a club related to their shared field.”

          And there will be a place for the NEXT “her” to invite the cute interview guy to, as a professional outreach that leaves open the possibility of getting to know one another well before any dating overtures are made (at which point it would now be appropriate to make them).

          Whew! That would be a lot of work.

      6. Batgirl

        It IS possible to ask someone out in a power differential situation but you gotta remove the power first. If a male is wanting to ask a lone female out on public transport, he should give her his number as he leaves the bus so she’s not fretting about an adverse reaction to rejection. In a customer situation the same deal, leave the ball in their court and apply zero pressure or time hogging.

        In OPs case she has to let him take the lead completely because otherwise he’s just going to respond to pressure or professional opportunity for all she knows.

        With dating sites, everyone makes their availability clear and everyone’s equal so you’d have to have a real case of chemistry to go for such tricky scenarios when there’s an ocean of fish out there. OP needs to ask herself if this is the only handsome, charming man in the world and exactly how charming he is when he’s not trying to land a job.

        1. Sloan Kittering

          It’s true, I don’t think there’s never ever an opportunity to gauge the interest of someone you meet in a situation where there’s a power differential (unless you are literally their direct supervisor in a job – then you are probably just sh*t out of luck, although you’re welcome to quit entirely), I just think you have to be very careful about giving them lots of exits and minimizing the perceived fallout. Create situations where they would have to very enthusiastically and actively pursue you to make something happen. Even in this letter Alison doesn’t say “never try” she just says, try to follow up with them outside of this context and let their enthusiasm be your guide.

      7. Observer

        You seriously think that the only, or even major, way that people find prospective mates is by dating the sales / service people they encounter? Whatever happened to normal social interaction and meetings during mutually interesting activities?

      8. Countess Boochie Flagrante

        Out of curiosity, do you ever interact with human beings when neither of you is on the clock?

        1. Curiosity killed the cat

          Plenty of people are working 80+ hour workweeks; the answer may well be “no.” And if you’re expanding this to “never date anyone in your professional network,” it’s not only hours “on the clock” but at industry events, etc.

          1. Cheryl Blossom

            The problem with that isn’t professional norms; the problem is being expected to work 80+ hours a week.

          2. Cat

            “Plenty” of people work an average of >11 hours a day with no days off? Not really. The average millennial works ~40 hours according to the BLS. I used to work in management consulting (11 hour days about 6 days a week). Jobs where you work 80 hours a week are very rare and for most people anything over 50 or 60 hours a week is an active choice: you give up your life for a while to make a ton of money. That means you accept the fact that dating will be hard to impossible, not that you harass your wait staff.

            For the record I’m fine with appropriately asking someone out, and I didn’t mind when I waitressed if people asked me out politely and as they were leaving (so I didn’t have to fear retaliation etc). But let’s not pretend so many innocent souls are strapped to their desks 80 hours a week through no fault of their own that they’ve run out of options and that’s why millennials aren’t having kids.

      9. EventPlannerGal

        …isn’t it kind of sad to think that the only possible way to get a date is to go after people who are literally being paid to stand there and pretend to like you? Just get Tinder or something.

      10. Archaeopteryx

        Someone from your hobby / volunteering / church / club / sport perhaps? i.e. someone 100% free to decline if they’re not interested and with whom you share some common interest? Hitting on servers and retail workers is bad behavior no matter what generation you are.

      11. Tiny Soprano

        Believe it or not, Millennials actually have hobbies. Where they can get to know people rather than hitting on poor innocent waitstaff who are just trying to earn their wages. The number of marriages in my social circle that have started from things like archery and tabletop games is almost as high as the number that have happened through dating apps. Which is a lot, for the record.

        1. Lissa

          and I bet those of those are higher than those that started by asking out a service worker! I just find this “but nobody will ever find love” thing silly and disingenuous when what the person seems to mean is “I don’t think it’s a problem to ask people out in these contexts.” Just say that then! Personally I think asking out a coworker can sometimes be OK, same with other professional network situations with no power differential.

          1. Tiny Soprano

            Exactly. It’s so highly context dependent. I have known people who’ve met their SO’s at work, but it needs a serious degree of both professionalism and social calibration to not end up in a flaming trash heap, and usually it only happens in a more casual work environment. Conversely, the one time I know someone who got a bartender’s number, it was because he (bartender) overheard him (my friend) talking about D&D and wanted an in to a game (and probably his pants if my friend had swung that way. His girlfriend at the time was also there and thought it was hilarious.)

    3. Oof

      This thread made me realize that it’s been 15 years since I asked out my bartender. Where did the time go?

  12. Lady Phoenix

    I read the title and the creep alarms immediately started going off.

    No no no no NO! Don’t do that. If you did this to me, I would have immediately called up your boss. Dude wants a job, not a date.

    This is like trying to ask out people on LinkedIn or asking them out during the meeting.

    Like I’m sure you don’t see the harm and are not a sleazy 50 year old man trying to lay a barely legal girl… but my god, does it bring back those kinds of memories.

    1. AndersonDarling

      When I read the title, I wondered if my keyboard could type all the O’s I wanted to add to “NOOOOOOOO!”

  13. Ginger

    Initial reaction based on title alone: NO WAY

    After reading letter: NO WAY

    OP – of course you guys got along during the interview. He was actively trying to get a job. Please, please reevaluate how you interpret professional interactions. The silver lining is you’re getting all this advice BEFORE something untoward happened. If I was your manager and I found out you asked a prospective candidate out after they were rejected, I would question your judgement and maturity.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I can see why she’s wondering — she’s not the decision maker, it seemed like they clicked, and she’s probably figuring that after he’s not hired there aren’t the same constraints there would be while he was still a candidate. She shouldn’t do it, but I don’t think it’s terrible that she wondered and wrote in to ask.

      1. Jennifer

        I agree. I don’t think she’s a terrible person. A terrible person would have just asked anyway while he was still being considered and wouldn’t have wondered if it was ethical, or tried to convince the manager not to hire this guy so she could ask him out.

      2. OhNo

        Far better to ask the question than to charge ahead full speed without due thought, in my opinion. Merely considering the idea isn’t (much of) an issue, but going ahead with it would be, so it’s good they asked first.

        1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather

          I agree. I still said “Nooooooooo” out loud BUT it’s good OP asked first; both for her and for anyone else considering doing this.

    2. Aveline

      She may also be young and naive in the sense that she’s never had to experience this from the receiving end or never watched what happens when it goes bad.

      1. Où est la bibliothèque?

        And if she’s relatively junior, just because she was on the interviewing team doesn’t mean she has much influence over hiring decisions, so it probably doesn’t feel to her like she actually has any power to abuse.

        1. Observer

          This is true. But of course, that’s not clear to the interviewee – and even if she explained it, it wouldn’t really help.

    3. BRR

      I think the situation/tone in the letter dampens the yikes. It’s much more curiosity than entitlement or justification.

    4. restingbutchface

      Ah, c’mon, we have all considered things that aren’t great ideas. I certainly do, all the time. Hopefully we all have a support group around us to guide us down the right path.

      OP did the right thing to ask the question because now she has a really clear guide. And she asked Allison, not her colleagues or not-really-friends friends, so no harm no foul.

      OP, if you’re still reading comments then I commend you for asking the question and wish you the best.

  14. Matt

    I made the assumption the guy has been officially rejected, but the advice and comments seem to assume he’s still in limbo and waiting on an offer/rejection. If my assumption is correct (he knows he didn’t get the job), I don’t personally see anything wrong with the OP reaching out on Facebook or something asking for a date. Just be upfront that you’re asking from a purely personal perspective. It’s hard to meet people, and I think he’d be flattered besides.

    1. Amber Rose

      Officially rejected for that job. Not necessarily from that company.

      Also please don’t use that shit about being flattered. It’s not true for men any more than it is for women. If I’m trying to get a job I don’t want to be hit on, and I don’t think there’s going to be many people who do.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago

        Agreed. This is one of those times where flipping the genders can point out how glaringly terrible the idea is. If it was a man wanting to ask out a woman, you would never say “I think she’d be flattered” (at least I hope).

        1. Matt

          I am in agreement with you, however, the (sad/unfortunate/sobering/unfair) reality is that he is a man and she is a woman, and it’s likely he would be flattered. I’m as socially liberal as they come, but at the end of the day men don’t get hit on as much as women do and it’s nice when it’s wanted.

          1. General Ginger

            I’m a man, and I would probably be flattered while also thinking it’s invasive and uncalled for. Dating is hard, but so is job searching, and if I’m rejected for a job somewhere I wanted to work, I’d prefer not to be asked on a date by someone I interviewed with. Sure, it’s not really “date instead of job offer”, but it would feel that way. Uncomfortable.

            1. Matt

              And if that’s the elicited response, the OP loses nothing by backing down at that point, and the candidate can cleanly move on. There’s non-creepy ways to go about this.

              1. General Ginger

                I don’t know that I agree about non creepy ways to do this. There’s always going to be a weird power imbalance. It’s in the same ballpark of power imbalance as asking out the barista who smiles at you because it’s his job.

              2. Batgirl

                How is he supposed to know she’s going to back down ahead of time though?
                People who say ‘no pressure!’ or ‘this has nothing to do with your future at x ‘ don’t always mean that. They expect a flattered yes usually.
                Also the thing about flattery is that it’s very short lived.
                It’s about five minutes of ‘Hey I guess I still got it’ and then hours of ‘How the fuck do I respond to this without offending a key person at Dream Place To Work Someday?’
                It’s possible that he’s very ‘meh’ about the job and would be psyched about the chance to date OP; but the greater odds are it’s the other way around. He wasn’t turning on the charm for her, it was for the job. If not, and theres a mutual attraction there it’ll happen organically.

          2. Amber Rose

            You say that, but I think most dudes would have unpleasant feelings about a professional woman who apparently treats interviews like a speed dating event. Both about the company and the woman in question.

            Being socially liberal doesn’t mean it’s OK to make sexist generalizations and comments.

          3. Antilles

            I think the situation neutralizes that though.
            I’ll freely admit that younger-me was someone who *did* enjoy having women come up and try to flirt. However, even so, I would have felt super weird about it being job-related. You see me at a ball game or in a store or out for a drink? Yeah, younger-me absolutely enjoyed when someone came up in those situations to chat and ask me out…but it would have felt completely different as a job candidate.

          4. Justin

            I would feel flattered but I would also wish that it hadn’t happened. I’ve had not this exact situation but a somewhat similar one come up and while it was flattering I also wish that it wasn’t a factor at all.

          5. Ella Vader

            “at the end of the day men don’t get hit on as much as women do and it’s nice when it’s wanted.” Italics mine.

            Besides all the other good reasons touched on by AAM and other commenters, I think that whether the inappropriate asking-out is flattering or unwelcome also depends a lot on whether the hitting-on woman is someone the man might otherwise be attracted to. (What if he isn’t into women? What if he isn’t into women of that body type? Or women 25 years older than he is? ) Matt, does your thought experiment consider that the woman is around his age and conventionally attractive, and that he’s straight or bisexual? None of those things are a given.

          6. Cat

            I’m not so PC I’m going to pretend there are no gender differences here. Men are probably more likely to feel flattered and less likely to feel overtly threatened.

            But also if he’s gay, or in a relationship, or thought OP was unattractive (no offense OP) he’s far more likely to feel weirded out than anything else.

          7. Kuododi

            If it gives you any hope for the future, I asked DH out on our first date. We had a delightful time….it took him about a week to work up the nerve to follow up and ask me for a second date. Long story short…we were married about a year to the day from that first date. We celebrated our 25 anniversary back in January this year. It does happen…. keep the faith!!!

            ;)

            1. Kuododi

              Woops! I was actually trying to answer General Gingers post about women asking out men. That’s what I get for posting without my glasses!!!!

          8. Tobias Funke

            I’m an ugly woman. If I did it, it would be apparent how inappropriate it was.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Will you say more about why you don’t think the concerns I ran through in the post are real obstacles? I’m not saying that in a snarky way (like “justify your disagreement!”) but because it’s a different viewpoint than most are presenting here and so it would be interesting to hear more about your perspective.

      1. Matt

        Sure. I made an additional assumption, which is the candidate is unlikely to land a position at this company in the future based on that exhaustive interview process. So I’m going to lean heavily on my point that it’s hard to meet people. Dating is hard enough.

        1. Good luck!

          The fact that dating is hard doesn’t justify contacting a job candidate on Facebook, though. If you want to meet people, you’ve got to find ways to do it that are professional and appropriate, not use contact information you got at work to talk to someone who was in “I’ll impress them and get this job I want!” mode.

          If you’re having trouble dating the solution isn’t to start looking at work, the solutions you need are the normal ones – meetups, hobbies, online dating, etc. I hate this notion that we’re entitled to ask people out at work because “where else would I meet people?” (I have seriously seen this argued)

          1. Matt

            I dunno, the fact this candidate is now no longer a part of OP’s work life should have some weight to it right? Is OP only allowed to contact him once he’s landed a job somewhere else now?

            1. Good luck!

              Why does OP have to contact this guy at all? OPs desire to get a date is not the priority here. The priority here isn’t OP contacting a guy who we have no reason to believe is interested in her (and in fact had others reasons to create “chemistry” with her – he wanted the job!), the priority is appropriate professional behavior in a power dynamic. OP shouldn’t contact him at all, especially with the information she got from HR.

              We aren’t entitled to dates with people. If we meet someone at work, professional standards should take precedent.

              1. Matt

                What if he reciprocates her feelings? He’s no longer a candidate, and he was never a coworker; he’s just a guy on the street at this point. He has his own agency to tell OP he does or doesn’t want to date her. If OP messages him out of band and is deliberate about separating herself from her company, he can make is own decision to accept or decline her offer. I only see an issue here if OP harasses him from that point.

                1. sloan kittering

                  I feel like she should assume he might reach out if he is really feeling a connection, which would take down the creepy factor. It’s like Captain Awkward says about people you’ve confessed a crush to that didn’t reciprocate: you should pretty much never go back and check in on that. Assume they’ll tell you if anything has changed. The ball is in their court. Because of the power differential there’s no real way the OP can pursue this right now.

                2. Batgirl

                  I think I kinda see what you mean now. If it’s her personal FB and she phrases it like ‘we were nearly co-workers’ making it clear she’s not a shot-caller; mayyyybe that could scrape by with some people ….
                  But the fact still kinda remains that their connection is that he was trying to impress her professionally, she does have input on getting future jobs at her firm and he only knows her professionally. It’s going to read strangely, and likely a bit creepy, I think if she tries to pretend the way they know each other didn’t happen the way it did.

                3. NerdyKris

                  Then he can approach her. The issue with the power dynamic is her approaching him. Him approaching her doesn’t have the same power issues.

            2. NerdyKris

              She should not contact him for a long time, if ever. This isn’t even an issue of manners, she could be setting herself up for a lawsuit if he gets any impression that she turned him down because she wanted to date him, or is implying, however subconsciously, that sleeping with her will improve his chances.

          2. General Ginger

            Some people do have creative jobs that are conducive to meeting interesting people, and have a very porous barrier between work life and personal life. “Where else would I meet people” is a very reasonable argument for them.

                1. Jennifer

                  Okay, well any other industry where people work long hours and rarely get a chance to socialize. There are many.

                2. Observer

                  So you’re saying that there are lots of professions that are dysfunctional and take over people’s lives to the point that reasonable boundaries don’t exist. And a reasonable response to that is to ok trying to date people you have some power over.

                  I realize that that may not be what you mean, but that is exactly what you are describing.

            1. Good luck!

              And in those contexts, dating coworkers would be fine for professional norms. That not what I said (I specified the power dynamics). You shouldn’t be asking out someone you just turned down for a job in any circumstance I can think of, and based on the information in the OP, not here.

          3. Curiosity killed the cat

            This person is no longer a job “candidate.” They went with someone else; the position is filled.

        2. Hey Karma, Over here.

          Both dating and job hunting are hard enough without this weird dynamic.
          “Hey, I know you didn’t get the job and I’m sorry about that, but I liked how you presented yourself in the interview.”
          “It’s tough to be rejected, but thanks for the feedback.”
          “You’re welcome. I was wondering if you’d like to have coffee with me.”
          “So there is still a chance I could a job?”
          “Oh, no. I’d just like to see you socially.”
          And since OP is on the hiring team, what happens now?

          1. BRR

            “Both dating and job hunting are hard enough without this weird dynamic.” I think this nicely sums up the situation. And if I may take an excerpt from it, job hunting is hard enough. I agree with Matt that dating is hard, but merging it with another hard process isn’t going to make either easier.

          2. Bulbasaur

            And if I’m the interviewee I’m now mentally adding “…if you know what I mean!” and a wink to the end of your opening sentence.

        3. Galina

          You (and OP) shouldn’t assume that the candidate is unlikely to land a position at this company in the future. By asking him out, she would be taking that option away from him and that’s not fair. Especially if its a small job market.

          1. Hey Karma, Over here.

            That’s what I see. I think accepting or rejecting will put him in a position where he won’t want to apply to your company.
            Here’s his letter to AAM:
            “What does it mean that I got rejected, but my interviewer asked me out afterward? What do I do? Can I apply again if I don’t accept? If I do accept am I committing to something?”
            Walk away.

          2. SarahTheEntwife

            Agree. In my experience, once someone’s reached the interview stage, rejected candidates are usually in the category of “great but someone else was even better” or “great but not quite the right fit for this position”. Especially in smaller workplaces there might not be a huge chance that another appropriate position will open up any time soon, but there are candidates I’ve rejected who I would be thrilled to see apply again.

        4. AnonEMoose

          If I had $5 for every guy I’ve seen try to justify approaching women when it’s not appropriate by saying that “dating is hard” “it’s hard to meet people,” and so on…I could retire. Right now.

          Everyone, regardless of gender, deserves to be treated as a professional when they are interacting in a professional contact. If approached for a date after a job interview, I would be angry and creeped out. I’m not there to audition for the part of “significant other,” I’m there in hopes of a paycheck.

          OP isn’t the star of a romantic comedy, and this is not a “meet cute” movie or TV script. Totally understandable to have some wistful feelings, and to wish things had happened differently. But it’s important that she respect professional boundaries.

          1. madge

            This. It’s 100% not flattering to know that someone with whom I’ve interacted professionally, in the hopes of impressing with my professional skills, is thinking about me in a romantic manner. And I would be extremely disappointed if they chose to express those thoughts to me.

            1. Parenthetically

              Yes, this, jeebus!

              I would be pretty angry if I found out that someone I was displaying my PROFESSIONAL skills to decided to assess my romantic compatibility… as well? instead? It would sour me on the whole company.

        5. Bulbasaur

          As an occasional interviewer I would say that from my experience, your assumption is almost certainly wrong. It’s very common for me to reach a conclusion about a candidate that is something like “not right for this role, but would be great for X if it ever comes up.” Or even “great for this role, but we have another applicant who is even better, so it’s a no for now.” If the manager liked him enough to progress through three rounds of interviews with him, I think we have to consider him a possible strong candidate for other roles in future. So ethically this is not really much different from a workplace relationship where you are in a position of influence over the other party’s career.

          That said, I don’t think there is any harm in Alison’s suggestion to connect on LinkedIn, but you need to keep it completely professional in the short to medium term, and quite possibly indefinitely depending on how things turn out. People bend the rules all the time when it comes to romance, and I think that is about how far the rules will safely bend in this case.

        6. EventPlannerGal

          “So I’m going to lean heavily on my point that it’s hard to meet people. Dating is hard enough.”

          Really? I very much disagree. Even discounting all the traditional methods like mutual interests, clubs/societies, friends-of-friends, eyes meeting across a crowded bar and so on, there’s an entire industry of dating apps and websites out there that didn’t exist a few decades ago. Meeting people who are actively, explicitly looking for a date has never been easier. Ruling out the small number of people who you meet in the process of job recruitment won’t even make a dent in that number.

    3. Good luck!

      Just because you would be flattered doesn’t mean he would. The “he would be flattered” nonsense is what women are told when it comes to situations like this, catcalling, etc… the reality is he applied for a job. She only has his contact information in a professional context. It’s inappropriate to ask him on a date, using the contact information you only have because he applied for a job.

    4. GreenDoor

      Matt, just….no. If I contact you in a professional context, then you try finding me through my personal phone/email/address or my personal social media…..my first reaction would be that you’re a creep. I’d be wondering else are you looking for me? You have my address on my job app….are you driving by my house? Will you be sending notes to my personal email or texting my personal phone to try and get a date now? You know my references….are you going to start houding them to get to me? The panic I’d be feeling along is just not cool. A key point that Alison made is that professional relationships getting personal is fine – – when it happens organically. If you’re hunting me down via private info/accounts, that’s not organic. It’s creepy. OP, don’t do that!

    5. Jennifer

      Not Facebook but Linkedin maybe, and keeping it professional at first and seeing where things go from there. I agree that it’s difficult to meet people.

      1. Lady Phoenix

        Nope. Linked In is for business.

        This a whole big bag of nope. The premise is based on something incredibly unethical (power balance & dating someone who HAS to be nice to you).

        1. Jennifer

          There is no power imbalance because he’s no longer in the running for the job.

          I’m agreeing with Alison’s advice that a professional message can be sent on Linkedin – if she wants to go that route – and she can see if he responds and if a conversation moves on organically. Not to just go straight into asking him out. I just don’t see it as that big of a deal.

          If she asked him out while he was still in the running, or God forbid, during the interview, then obviously that is unethical.

          1. Lady Phoenix

            She wants to date him is the problem. She wants to be friendly with him because she wants to date him.

            Meanwhile, he will either think that this is a job thing, since that is what Linked In is for.

            If he finds out that all of this was just so she could date him and NOT improve his career, it would be a madsive betrayal.

            1. Jennifer

              That’s why Alison stated to pay attention to his cues and see where the conversation leads organically. If she sends him a professional message and he maintains the same formal, professional tone in his response, or doesn’t respond at all, then obviously he isn’t interested.

              She’s not saying start some huge ruse and let him think she wants to talk to him about a job when it’s really all some prank to get him to go out with her.

              1. Lady Phoenix

                But this is the thing.

                OP wwnts to date dude. Dude, as far as we know, doesn’t and wants a job. And dude does not know that he did not get the job. And there is no gurantee that he WON’T get the job because the top candidate might have to leave or get fired under their probation time.

                OP is continuing to talk to this guy because she wants to date him, and is using something qent for WORK to getncloser to him in the hopes of dating him.

                This is like those guys that act all friendly and understanding and “play the long game” so that they can eventually date the girl they are crushing on.

                OP needs to find people through dating means — OkCupid, Tinder, Grinde, Bumble, all those sites. Not through LinkedIn, which isnfor WORK.

          2. Lindsay gee

            From Alison’s advice: “He was there in a professional context, and he shouldn’t have to wonder whether accepting/declining the date could potentially affect his professional chances with your company in the future.”
            He was the runner up in this job hunt…it’s not unlikely to think he may have an equally good chance in the future. Therefore, the power imbalance DOES still exist

            1. Jennifer

              “What you could do, though, is connect with him on LinkedIn, and maybe even send him a professional message telling him you enjoyed meeting him (after your boss has sent the rejection message out). If he responds and it naturally leads to more conversation, then you can see where that goes organically. Just be sure you stay really alert to his cues — he may engage in conversation because he assumes it could benefit him professionally, and you don’t want to inadvertently take advantage of that.” This is the part of Alison’s advice I was referring to.

              1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

                I have to say, I disagree with Alison on this point. If the OP is explicitly hoping that staying in touch will lead to romance, I think it is inappropriate to connect on LinkedIn. That’s one step in the way to using it to try to get a date, and absolutely no different to a man doing the same thing to a woman.

                It sucks when you meet someone you really like but you are unable to act on that for whatever reason. But such is life. If the OP has a genuine interest in connecting for career reasons, that’s one thing, but otherwise it feels like manipulation.

        2. Wendy Darling

          I cannot tell you how many times I have seen “LINKEDIN IS NOT A DATING SITE LEAVE ME ALONE” type complaints from women in my field.

          1. Cat

            THANK YOU. I’m honestly really disappointed and grossed out that Alison would suggest this. What if OP says she’s happy to talk more and Interviewer says that sounds great and they wind up meeting up? He’s still most likely hoping for/expected job help. Maybe the power dynamic will have changed but now OP is manipulative and a creeper.

          2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

            Yes. I’m very surprised and I heartily disagree that it’s acceptable.

    6. Observer

      Having read this thread and your responses, I want to say something – I hope you do NOT manage anyone. Because this kind of attitude can lead very quickly to a fairly toxic workplace, and major risk for your employer. No one should ever need to worry about how to respond to romantic advances from someone who, by virtue of the relative positions, could have a significant impact on their career and job.

      And assuming that someone would be flattered by a romantic approach as a response to an interview is a really troublesome piece of projection. A lot of guys would absolutely NOT be flattered.

    7. Cat

      What?? This is even more reason to stay far, far away. What if your first choice says no? You might wind up having to call someone who just rejected you and ask if they want to work with you . Not fair for them or fun for you.

  15. Anonymous for this one

    I once interviewed for a position with my city, and one of the panelists on the interview team pursued me. He initially sent me a Facebook friend request, which I ignored. Somehow he was able to send me a FB message anyway, in which he asked me out. I told him I was in a relationship and also didn’t date men, but he wouldn’t let up.

    During my interview it had come up that my brother has a band that has a standing gig on Friday nights. (One of the panelists recognized me and asked about it; I didn’t bring it up.) Anyway, this guy, whom I’d never seen at my brother’s gigs, showed up to the next one and asked me out again. By this point I was beyond irritated. I told my 6’6″ brother what was going on, and he had words with the guy. I don’t know why my brother said, but he finally backed off.

    Even if I were single and straight I would not want someone who interviewed me asking me out. Like Alison said, the optics aren’t great and it would make me wonder if I needed to date him just to get a job.

    1. Ginger

      Did you ever consider reporting the behavior to the hiring manager? The harassment after you said no is scary.

      1. Observer

        Good question. You should NOT have needed a 6’6″ to “have words” with the guy.

    2. Tiny Soprano

      Slight tangent, but why do some men completely ignore it when a woman says she’s a lesbian?? This used to happen to my ex girlfriend at work all the time. And my housemate. And pretty much every other gay woman I’ve ever met.

      1. restingbutchface

        Because gay women just haven’t met the right man, obviously. Which is so weird because those men also freak out about the idea of sharing a changing room with gay men. So all gay men want their homophobic ass but… so do all gay women? Secretly? Really, Todd, REALLY?

        So. much. unwanted. arrogance.

      2. GradStudent

        You see, relationships aren’t real when there isn’t a penis involved ~obviously~. These women just need a ~real man~ to show them what they’re missing.

  16. Gail Davidson-Durst

    This is a terrible idea, but I did find it slightly refreshing that it wasn’t a straight dude writing the letter!

    (Still though, as Alison says, the power imbalance isn’t as historically systematically underpinned if the applicant is a man, but there are still power imbalances that are Not Good.)

  17. Nope nope nope!

    Sounds dreadful, to be passed over for a job and then having a pass made at you!

    Nightmare, nightmare, nightmare!

    1. Hey Karma, Over here.

      I know. I felt bad for thinking it because I realize that OP is sincere, but my mind just goes to, “you didn’t get the job, but I can offer you a date!”
      Um. Nope indeed.

  18. Justin

    I’m a guy, I’m married and not looking for a job right now, but if this happened to me back in my single days, I’d be pretty creeped out by it. I’d wonder if that played a part in my chances at getting the job, I’d wonder if I had to say yes to a date, what would happen if I didn’t say yes, what would happen if I just ignored the message, all that stuff. Just too weird.

    1. Amber Rose

      You made me remember a story from a youtuber I follow, who had it made clear to him once that if he slept with this woman, she’d push him forward in his singing career. Even though he’s gay he seriously considered it and the whole thing was apparently quite stressful.

  19. Jess

    LW, on top of what everyone else is saying, would you want to be in a relationship with him, or have gotten rejected by him, or have had a really bad date (or breakup) with him, if he was also your co-worker?? He’s interested in your company and made it to the final round of interviewing so it’s reasonable to assume he might become a co-worker at some point, even though he didn’t land this specific job.

  20. Emi.

    Just don’t do it. Even if you think you’re going to “stay really alert to his cues,” cues are hard to read by LinkedIn message, and he will still be thinking of you as someone he wants to impress and stay on the good side of for professional reasons, so his cues aren’t going to give you an accurate picture of how he feels about you.

    1. Justin

      I’ve never dated anyone at work and I generally have a firewall between work and my personal life, so I am not interacting with anyone on LinkedIn in any sort of authentic, personal way.

      1. L. S. Cooper

        Yeah, exactly this! Anyone I interact with over LinkedIn is getting the Disney version of me– sanitized and chipper, with almost none of my authentic personality that I might express to someone I was interested in dating.

  21. Hazelthyme

    The first time I encountered the “it’s unethical to date people you meet professionally when there’s a significant power imbalance” rule was back in high school, when I worked at a crisis center. Their eminently sensible policy has stayed with me ever since: Staff and volunteers don’t date clients; staff don’t date volunteers; legal adults don’t date minors; and no one dates anyone who they supervise. If you do, and you get caught, you will be fired (which did happen once when a volunteer got caught making a date with a client). However, if you happened to meet a client in a setting totally unconnected to the agency, whatever relationship developed was your own business. (Totally unconnected = you meet someone at the bar or through your softball league and discover while getting to know each other that they are/were a client of our agency; deliberately hanging out at a place you know they frequent wouldn’t be OK.)

    OP, I think this is the only way you could legitimately ask your job candidate out. If you happen to meet at a professional organization or even at something totally not connected to work, and a more-than-professional friendship develops, I don’t think that’s an issue (as long as you don’t participate in the interview process if they do apply again).

    1. Lisa B

      Yes, I agree. At the 2019 Chocolate Teapots convention you run into each other, recognize from where, and have a great conversation- sure. See what happens. But not this way.

      1. OhNo

        Also agree. I do also think that it would be okay for the LW to engineer such a meeting, to a very small extent. As in, send him a message on LinkedIn to see if he’s going to X conference or if he’s ever considered joining the Y industry’s young professionals group.

        That’s not a step I would feel comfortable taking, and others may disagree and think it inappropriate, but it seems a safer route to genuine social interaction that just sending him a message on LinkedIn asking for a date.

  22. Ella

    I once had the reverse situation. I was 22 and when interviewing for my first real job found myself completely smitten with the recruiter. After the interview I had decided to ask him out should I get rejected. He called me and did turn me down for the job… and I turned right around and as respectfully as possible asked him out for a drink. Turned me down a second time (because girlfriend).
    I don’t know how high this ranks in terms of inappropriate, it never even occurred to me to consider that aspect, since I purposefully didn’t ask him out until I knew that a professional relationship wasn’t going to happen. I just remember feeling proud for working up the courage at all (even though that evening my best friend joined me in drinking away my embarrassment…).

    1. Good luck!

      I know you say this was a while ago, so I don’t mean this that harshly… There’s less of a power dynamic involved, but I would reconsider hiring someone in the future if they asked me out after an interview. It just signals a lack of professional boundaries. And especially, imagine how awkward working with them would be!

      1. Ella

        You don’t come across as harsh ;) It’s true, I did lack certain professional boundaries back then (13 years ago), having only just finished my internships.
        But anyway, this person would never have had to consider me in the future, because of course I wouldn’t apply at that particular company again after this.

        1. Batgirl

          Yeah I thought you were going to say you’d chosen him over the firm, cause you can’t have both. I think it’s okay to deny *yourself* opportunities.

        2. Wendy Darling

          I feel like not having good professional boundaries at age 22 is probably a common affliction. Goodness knows my boundaries overall stank at 22.

          We grow out of it. I used to supervise a lot of recent college grad temps and they could be kind of a mess but we were patient with them because we knew we were hiring people fresh out of college who mostly had maybe 6 months of office type work experience and had no idea what the norms were. They learned.

    2. CM

      I think the reverse can be OK — it’s not terribly professional, but if you’re not planning to ever work there and it’s not one of those tight-knit industries where you run into the same people all over, I think you can give it a shot. The power dynamic is reversed if the rejected candidate is also the one asking the person out.

      If it’s the other way around, I think the only way it could be OK is if you have an unplanned meeting in an unconnected setting like Hazelthyme talks about above. Like if you see them at the bookstore, you can say hi — even then I wouldn’t immediately ask them out, but you could strike up a friendly conversation and see if it goes anywhere.

    3. Rusty Shackelford

      I agree with both Good Luck and CM. Yes, it’s different because it’s a reversal of the power imbalance in this situation. And yes, it’s still evidence of a lack of professional boundaries.

    4. RandomU...

      Eh, I don’t see this as being totally inappropriate. A little weird and cringe worthy maybe but not terrible. The thing that puts what you did in a bad light is that you put yourself in a position that your motives could be called into question.

      (PLEASE DON”T FLAME ME FOR THIS NEXT BIT!)

      You asked through the lens of you not having any additional professional relationship with the guy.
      What you don’t know is what lens this guy read the situation from. The guy could have read the situation as you attempting to change the decision by the offer for drinks and the implication for a social relationship…

      So, bad enough as a one off. But as we all know this is a small world and I have zero risk tolerance for my professional image, so I’d be worried that the wrong conclusions would be jumped to and come back to bite me. That and I have terrible luck… If it had been me, I’m sure I would have run into this guy years later at a different company or a work conference who remembered me and decided to tell the story to others.

      1. RandomU...

        ETA: On the other hand… Go you for asking out someone you were interested in. Not an easy thing to do and this is one area I think guys get the short end of the stick since traditionally they do the majority of the asking out (or did… it’s been awhile since I’ve been in the dating game!)

      2. Ella

        That’s an interesting point and definitely something worth considering in that situation. Although I doubt that this particular guy would have got that impression. If I remember my phrasing correctly, I pretty much said: ‘Now that we won’t be working together I wonder if I could ask you something. I hope you don’t find me too forward, but would you like to have a drink with me some time?’ Very careful wording, because of course I was aware that I was doing something quite unusual. Until now I just hadn’t considered the idea that apart from unusual it might also be inappropriate. It was the first of only two times I ever asked someone out.

      3. SC

        It’s not clear from Ella’s post what the dynamic was, but in my industry, recruiters are not decision makers/hiring managers. They have some influence in the overall hiring process, and the hiring managers often respect the recruiters and value their feedback. But once a final decision is made, the recruiter can’t undo that decision.

        It wouldn’t be terribly professional to ask out a recruiter, but the power dynamic wouldn’t be the same. Anyone in our industry would know that too, unlike in the OP’s post.

        1. Ella

          It was actually an internal recruiter with that specific company. I never encountered that construct before or ever after.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale

      I know someone who asked out her interviewer. He said yes and they dated for quite a while. When I learned about that I thought she was pretty ballsy and I won’t say I was appalled, but I did think it was a pretty unusual outcome!

  23. npoworker

    Nooooooo this happened to me! Granted, the scenario was *much* different as I was a 22 year old woman interviewing for my first job out of college and the man-in-question who asked me out actually got my email from HR to ask me out, and is someone I never spoke to during the interview process (yeah… they broke a whole bunch of rules) but I was mortified and confused and left a really bad taste in my mouth about that company. I think the situation would be similar here. Hopefully you run into him in real life and are given a chance to ask him out but don’t do it otherwise IMO.

  24. Justin

    The other thing is that if you really want a job and you get rejected, you sort of hope that they might reconsider, so any contact is going to seem like you still have a chance.

  25. Lisa B

    Going to throw my hat in the “NOOOO” ring. If I found out one of my employees reached out to a rejected candidate in attempt to make a personal connection (even not a *date*, but just “hey we clicked and have kids the same age and both went to 2015 Llama-Thon”), I would be very concerned about their sense of professional norms. This is a Thing Not Done. As the rejected candidate, there are just way too many ways to interpret it. If they’re skeeved out, that’s clearly a fail. If they assume honest intentions, it’s still the situation that they were rejected by a job but then one of the interviewers ask to keep in touch? They’re going to think there’s still a shot at an opening with that company. They’re going to still be treating you as an interviewer/official representative of that company because that IS how they see you. It’s just not a thing to try and cross that boundary.

  26. Works with HR Data

    My company has rules around using data for purposes for which it was collected, and not using it for any other purpose. Besides the ethical implications, the LW could get in trouble with her company for using this information for personal purposes.

    1. Captain S

      Yes, this is a big hang up I have too. I think it’s not great even if OP didn’t use contact info they discovered in the recruiting process but that fact makes it a huge NOPE.
      For example, I’m pretty careful with my personal info. People don’t get my personal number or email unless I know and trust them. If a random person asked me out via my contact information they got from a source I wasn’t expecting to be used that way I’d be pissed and probably contact the company and complain.

  27. Clarice Fitzpatrick

    I think a comparable scenario might be if someone senior to you within the same company but someone from a different department who doesn’t have direct management or influence over your job asked you out, or maybe your company’s tries to persuade a potential client for business, gets rejected, but then one of their reps asks you out. Even if they’re clear about their intentions and it’s not immediately fishy, you can’t know for sure there isn’t some kind of implicit leverage. That sort of anxiety just isn’t good for a romantic relationship or one’s career.

    Even in the reverse, two people meet in a completely social situation where they decide to date, but it turns out they’re professionally connected with imbalanced power dynamics, the optics alone would put a pause on that.

  28. nnn

    I think you would have to let him take the lead here. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, but he’d have to be the one to take the steps to move towards friendship and towards dating.

    And even then, you can’t be sure if any contact from him is genuine or if it’s just networking.

    1. Tinderist

      I’m pondering:
      Would it be ok to swipe right?

      Would it be ok to narrow the OLD search based on his resume info?

      1. 867-5309

        I think you can swipe right if you connect through a dating app. It’s no intrusive and he can decline, plus the context there is completely different than professional. I don’t think anyone would assume that someone swiped right because maybe they still want to hire you, whereas that could be the case on LinkedIn.

        Changing settings based on resume info feels a little obsessive for someone she only met in an interview. And if he’s not in her search perimeters now, that says something about how much they’d really be a match.

  29. StaceyIzMe

    You shouldn’t ask someone out that you meet in a professional context. It’s a meeting whose agenda is set up around a whole different type of relational contract. To be honest, if I were your manager, I’d have some questions about your judgment here. You JUST interviewed him for a job and he might cross paths with you or your boss again in the future in a professional context. You don’t want to get in trouble at work? Good. Then don’t conflate your personal and professional lives unless you’re certain that the person you’re considering asking out isn’t anyone you’re going to be hiring, supervising, engaging in contract negotiations with or working directly with. It’s possible to cross those boundaries, sure. But it’s not a good idea, ESPECIALLY here, where your concern for his well being and future access to opportunities at your company should outweigh any desire to get to know him personally in the short term.

  30. Not A Manager

    “What you could do, though, is connect with him on LinkedIn, and maybe even send him a professional message telling him you enjoyed meeting him (after your boss has sent the rejection message out). If he responds and it naturally leads to more conversation, then you can see where that goes organically.”

    Alison, this is a serious question, not a snarky one. Would you give this same advice to a man in this situation? To use a professional networking site to sort-of pretend to be connecting for business, but really there’s a romantic interest?

    It seems to me that I’ve read a bunch of letters and comments about how (men) should not do this to (women) in a professional context. Sometimes I’ve thought that’s a bit harsh, so I’m wondering if maybe I took that too literally.

    1. Justin

      Yeah I think either way it COULD work out, and it probably has worked out for plenty of people, but it’s still not a great idea, and that goes no matter if you’re a man or woman.

        1. AMT

          The problem is that he’ll assume (understandably, because it’s LinkedIn!) that she’s reaching out for networking purposes, and will interpret every communication from her as somehow related to his chances of getting a job in the future. There’s no way to avoid it, no matter how sensitive she is to his cues. She needs to let this one go.

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady

      You raise an excellent point.

      And I, who meets with strangers every day and talks about job search and goals and other personal what-nots, and connects with many of those individuals people on LI, have many feelings about developing “organic” relationships, most of which are to raise very specific professional barriers into the conversations.

      If the relationship is indeed allowed to be “organic” then I’d so go for the LI invite. If it’s truly only that one has the hots for someone else and wants to position themselves for sexy-time, then just don’t. I mean, ick.

      But if you felt a click because the other person seemed really interesting as a human, and you might have some stuff in common, then LI can be a place that light water-cooler type conversation can happen, and might end up being a professional friendship now that one’s nerves have calmed down and possibly turned the hormones down to a more normal level, then maybe … I guess. But not if every conversation will have an unrequited sexy-time subtext.

    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      Agggh, maybe not. I did a bunch of flipping the sexes back and forth while I was writing to test what I was saying, but then stuck that in at the end and I think you’re right!

      1. Good luck!

        I think considering the LWs priority is getting a date, anything out of the norm for her (as in, if she doesn’t normally friend interviewees on LinkedIn) feeels pretty skeezy. As a woman in a male dominated field, I’d be disgusted to know someone was trying to network with me after an interview mainly because they found me attractive and wanted to date me. There’s enough people in the world for this to be an avoidable problem… just don’t. The prioritization of that over professional norms feels wrong to me, because it’s all about HER feelings, not his. I feel like I’ve seen men abuse this, and women shouldn’t do it either.

    4. Someone Else

      The way I interpreted this part of the post wasn’t use a networking site with an ulterior motive, but rather implying something more like, if you want to keep in touch in some way, here’s a reasonable one, and if you end up talking again in the future for non-interview reasons, that’s acceptable. Once you actually know each other in real life, who knows, but not that one’s motivation all along should remain some kind of long-con in to a date.
      Like, when I first read the headline my first impulse was “hell no, unless it’s someone you interviewed six months ago and have now run into in some other context and seem to have hit it off in said other context”.
      I think this applies regardless of gender or orientation.

      1. Hazelthyme

        Very well-put, Someone Else. It’s fine to connect on LinkedIn or through a professional organization *so long as your primary interest and activity there is professional* and you keep any potential romantic or sexual interest to yourself. These venues exist for professional networking, training, and/or advocacy, not for dating. If you meet someone there and invite them to connect one on one, it should be because you genuinely want to learn more about the new caramel teapot project they’re working on, and not because you’re secretly hoping the connection will eventually lead to an intimate relationship.

        Obviously, people and attraction are complicated, and I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule here (i.e., never network with anyone you find remotely attractive, or ask a professional associate out only if you’ve known them in a business context for at least 6 months). And I don’t think anyone objects when 2 or more people who initially meet in a professional context develop a personal friendship that extends beyond that. But I think the bar for making a romantic overture needs to be way higher in work settings than, say, when you meet someone at trivia night or at your local coffee shop. In the latter case, it’s a safe bet that people are there for mostly social purposes, and some of them might be interested in dating. In the former, making the professional goals secondary to your amorous ones risks alienating/marginalizing participants who start to wonder if it’s really their professional assets that are valued here, and risks making you look like a creeper who doesn’t get professional norms.

  31. AMT

    Is there a tag for “questions that can be answered without reading anything but the headline”? It’s my second favorite type of AAM question, after “questions where the headline made it seem like the answer would be simple and obvious, but it turned out to be incredibly complex and the comment section was a hundred pages long.”

  32. Julia S.

    I was on the flip side of this situation. I was the interviewer who did not extend an offer and the candidate then later followed up asking for a date. Beyond awkward. Not only did I feel awkward because I had rejected him as a candidate, I would have never interviewed him in the first place. The interview was set up by an executive who “had a friend who might be perfect.” The guy wasn’t qualified at all. But then to have to reject him for the date as well just felt really terrible and awkward.

    1. AMT

      Do you think the executive’s original goal was to set the guy up with you? That would add another level of ugh.

  33. aquar1an

    Nope nope nope nope nope! My sister had someone who didn’t even interview her (this person just saw her shadowing her interviewer around the office) get her info from their HR person and email her asking her out just days after her interview (I believe she’d already decided to pass up the position) and it was VERY ick. Huge over-step of boundaries, and make the company look really unprofessional (what HR professional gives out interviewee contact info to whoever asks??).

    I even swiped the profile of someone I had interviewed on a dating app once, and felt icky seeing that they had super-liked me. The power dynamic makes things weird; using someone’s contact information in a way they presumably did not intend is more than weird, but inappropriate.

  34. Namey McNameface

    OP if I were your manager, asking out a job applicant would raise questions about your professionalism for all the reasons Alison mentioned.

  35. DanniellaBee

    I am appalled that anyone would think it was ever appropriate to ask a candidate on a date whether they were rejected or not. NEVER!

  36. Curiosity killed the cat

    I’m going to disagree with the consensus here. I think OP should wait a few months, but after that I think the professional connection has lapsed and there would be nothing inappropriate about asking this person out on a date.

    To the chorus of people saying, “you should never ask a professional connection out on a date”: I mean, seriously, you think no married people/long-term partners ever met in a professional context? People are working every more hours; if you can’t ever ask someone out you’ve met via work, how are you supposed to find a partner? Michelle and Barack Obama met when they were professional colleagues, and that turned out OK.

    To be sure, I think OP should make it clear that her interest isn’t professional. And of course if the guy indicates he’s not interested, she shouldn’t persist; but that’s common sense advice.

    1. Lady Phoenix

      Was Obama Michelle’s interviewer while she was finding a job? Or her boss?

      There is a power imblance between an interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer tends to be HR, or a manager, or even the CEO.

      1. FaintlyMacabre

        Michelle was Barack’s mentor at the law firm. He was sn intern and she did not have hiring or firing power over him.

        1. Curiosity killed the cat

          Attorneys working at a law firm have plenty of say in which summer associates get hired permanently.

      2. Jennifer

        She was an attorney. He was an intern. She was assigned to be his mentor. Some might say there was a power imbalance.

        I get that things can get messy sometimes when it comes to dating people you know professionally, but people meet that way all the time. The issue is I think people don’t have enough emotional intelligence and don’t understand social cues, or don’t care to try to understand them, so they ask people out when it’s not appropriate or don’t know when to take no for an answer. Because of those people, any kind of dating in the workplace seems to be frowned upon sometimes, which I think is unfair.

      3. Curiosity killed the cat

        There is a power imblance between an interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer tends to be HR, or a manager, or even the CEO.

        But the firm has reached its decision, and the guy in question is no longer a candidate (or “interviewee”). Surely at some point a “statute of limitations” applies (which is one reason why I suggested waiting a couple of months).

        For that matter, we are all seven degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. If you take this business about “never date anyone in your professional network” literally, is *anyone* fair game?

        1. Clarice Fitzpatrick

          I think the vast majority of people will acknowledge that there’s happy relationships between people who are professionally connected, even coworkers (there’s plenty of questions here about conducting yourself professionally when you and your partner share the same workplace). However, if someone asks “is it advisable to date someone I’m professionally connected to?” given the risk of that backfiring, a lot of people are gonna say no, especially if they’re of the type to draw a hard line between their professional life and personal life. Some people will say it’s good to try or “if you feel strongly enough.” In general, this topic is fairly grey area that’s based on a very individual view on workplace conduct. Since the focus of this blog is “how do I best act in the workplace to preserve my professional relationships and do well within my career, knowing I’m a flawed human being,” it’s not surprising that people lean towards that priority.

          So sure it’s not unthinkable to date within your professional circles, it can very much turn fantastic. But it’s something you have to understand the risks of in full.

          In this case, because of the emotions often tied into interviewing/job hunting, it’s likely very messy to cross that professional boundary and especially if you’re the one with the most power in the situation. That’s why not only are most people saying no, but it’s a very hard no.

    2. Anonymous for this one

      This situation happened at my company several years ago, and the couple involved is now happily married. They never would have gotten together if they’d worried about being good little worker bees.

    3. Jasnah

      I mean, I wouldn’t recommend people date someone with whom they do not share a common language, or date someone long distance with no end in sight, or date someone without knowing their full name, or date someone who is currently their adult student. I know happy couples in all of those categories, but I wouldn’t recommend that method to someone wondering if they should ask someone out, because of all the awful, horrible ways it can and often does go wrong.

      1. Gazebo Slayer

        ….how is it even possible to have a relationship with someone when you don’t share a language?! I mean, unless it’s of the purely, uh, physical sort, and even then….

    4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

      I think there’s a big difference between getting to know someone via work or a professional network and developing a relationship (that’s the “organic” development) and exploiting information you only have access to because you were in a position of relative power to ask someone on a date.

  37. AnonyMouse

    I wonder if the OP lives in mid-Michigan. One of our local radio shows does this thing on the morning show where someone calls in and they coach them on sending a risky text (I think it’s called “text tutor”?) For the past couple of mornings they’ve been talking to a woman who wanted to ask a rejected job candidate out on a date via text. This sounds alarmingly similar!

    1. Jennifer

      I wonder if we’re listening to the same show. I mentioned a similar story. I don’t live anywhere near there but the show I referred to in my comment is syndicated in multiple cities.

  38. Storie

    I think we’ve all seen many romantic comedies where the meet-cute happens through work on screen and it seems adorable, yet it wouldn’t really be appropriate in real life.

    1. Aggretsuko

      One time we had what turned out to be a really cute guy interviewing in my office. And I do think he was interested in me. But we didn’t offer him the job and I had no legit way to contact him nor he me, so….yeah, never happened.

      Probably all for the best. I think if he had been hired, the office hormones would have been ridiculous and well, you can’t date a coworker.

      1. Lady Phoenix

        I saw your Username and was thinking “you mean the Space Cadet?” /nerd references

  39. Observer

    I’ll be very blunt – I wold recommend firing anyone who did this. Seriously, it’s that bad.

    Also, in addition to what Allison said, the rejected candidate is also probably wonder if the decision was affected by your romantic interest. YOU know it wasn’t your decision, but he doesn’t.

    1. Oilpress

      That’s the reason she shouldn’t do it. Her colleagues will probably think less of her if they find out. Next time they interview candidates for a role, do you think they’ll ask her to the interviews? No one will trust her professionalism anymore.

  40. AnoninNYC

    Plz no. Don’t do this. For all the reasons that everyone else has said. If I were looking for a job and got asked out by one of my interviewers despite being rejected, I’d be hugely uncomfortable regardless of how cute/attractive he is (I’m a heterosexual woman). I’d also question his judgement and wonder about the kind of company that this is. When I was a law student, I’ve heard of firms where the partners hit on or asked out interviewees post OCI and it just left a disgusting taste in my mouth. Not saying you’re the same as those guys but don’t be that person who mistakes mandatory charm for attraction.

  41. Essess

    How would you plan to contact him? Using a phone number or email from his application? In that case you are using confidential work information for personal use, and that also has serious repercussions on your own performance and employment.

  42. NotTheSameAaron

    My advice is to let it lie. Unless you both regularly attend some kind of masked hookup ball, where you can connect with him without revealing your true identity, this is likely to end badly for the both of you.

  43. Post it note

    I do have a friend that ended up dating someone who connected with her on LinkedIn…however they originally met because he was a consultant to her company, and there was no interviewer/candidate dynamic. It was pretty funny trying to read between the lines of his first Linked In message to determine if he was interested or not, but it was also a good message because it wasn’t overtly flirty or obvious that he wanted to date her. But I could also see how it could go very wrong!

  44. All Outrage, All The Time

    I nearly spat my coffee at the screen in surprise. Definitely don’t ask him on a date. I would let it go entirely.

  45. The Man, Becky Lynch

    I’m so out of touch with this thing called “dating” and the way it works. How exactly do you even know he’s available? Did that come up in an interview, that seems so out of the norm. I’ve had some people mention their significant others or have an obvious wedding ring but most of the time it never comes up, so there’s just no way of knowing.

    As someone who’s been involved with someone for many years but doesn’t speak of them on the regular, I’m extra grouchy if I’m getting hit on. It’s so “familiar” feeling and I hate hate hate hate it. Which is probably again why I only ever dated via online apps when I did it at all.

    Like if someone connects with me on Linkedin and slides into my messages, it’s going to always feel icky.

    1. Cheryl Blossom

      I don’t think the OP should ask the person out in this case, but why is asking someone out when you don’t know their relationship status such an insult?

      1. TootsNYC

        I can only speak for myself, but what it says to me is that you are presuming an intimacy WAY too early.

        If you don’t know me well enough to know whether I’m partnered, you don’t know me well enough to ask me on a date.

        And I don’t know YOU well enough for you to ask me on a date.

        1. Jennifer

          I agree with you. I preferred to date people I already knew. But when I was single, I wasn’t insulted if someone hit on me, granted they were polite and respectful and it wasn’t a situation where becoming romantically involved with them would be inappropriate. I just said no, thank you and went about my day. It only got annoying when they couldn’t take no for an answer.

        2. Cheryl Blossom

          That’s not how everyone works, though. It’s not a universal norm for people to only ask people they know well out on dates.

          1. Lissa

            No, it’s pretty normal not to know. That’s why “sorry, I’m married/have a girlfriend/boyfriend” is a pretty common way to let someone down, whether it’s true or not. I haven’t really encountered the idea that it’s insulting or bad to ask someone out before you know. It’s some people’s preferences to only date people they know pretty well but not everyone shares that – it’s far from universal.

      2. TootsNYC

        and that then means that you are not seeing me as a person; you are only seeing me as Potential Partner, which means it’s really all about you, and not about me at all.

        1. Lissa

          I mean – that’s still kinda a norm though, even though some people don’t like it. Asking someone out when you’ve only met them for a bit, asking for someone’s number, hearing “sorry I’m engaged” – all seem like things that have been common tropes for decades. So even if you personally don’t like it, I don’t think it’s at all outside the common way of being to the point where others can be expected to know your preferences?

  46. stump

    I read the title of the post and immediately let out a Nathan Explosion “NOOOOOOOOO”. Asking a job candidate that you have potential hiring/interviewing power over is only about a step and a half less gross, inappropriate, and power imbalancey than a doctor or mental health professional asking a patient out on a date because they thought they really clicked. Just, please OP, do not ever do this. It’s beyond gross and this guy is not the only eligible date out there.

  47. Safetykats

    I remember reading – pretty sure it was on this site but maybe not – about someone who had the guy who had done the estimates for some work on her house contact her to ask for a date. He obviously had her contact information only because of the professional (contract) association. The advice in response weighed heavily towards “Call his boss and report him.” Several commenters also (including me) also felt it would be a huge mistake to give any business to this company, since it wasn’t the kind of work that would probably involve giving the contractor a key to the house.

    I also feel like the advice here is a little toned down because of the gender reverse from normal. OP – if you did contact this guy and ask him out, it would be totally reasonable for him to call HR at your employer and report you. After which, it would be totally reasonable for them to conclude that perhaps you shouldn’t be involved in interviews. For your own sake, look for love somewhere else.

    1. MommyMD

      OP could definitely be fired for this especially if this man was totally taken aback and reported them. This guy probably is not even thinking in this direction. He was probably doing his best in the interview and aiming to connect on a PROFESSIONAL level and may be aghast at this.

    2. Gazebo Slayer

      Yeah, if it it were the guy writing in and the interviewer had gone through with this plan, I’d advise him to report it to her higher-ups.

  48. Mellow

    If I got a job at a different company and saw him at a conference or some other work- or field-related gathering, I’d say “hello,” catch up, and see where things went.

    That’s about the only scenario I can think of where you wouldn’t have to pay me to take any other route. Otherwise, no. Just – no.

    1. MommyMD

      Hard hard no. If some man wrote in he wanted to sexually pursue a woman he interviewed that didn’t get hired, and track her down to see if she wanted to hook up, the answer would be that he is creepy AF.

      1. valentine

        Yes, all the advice about time and venue is weird. I don’t see a way to reset the relationship and what OP’s into is his interview persona.

        1. CM

          Really? I wonder if it’s industry-specific — I cross paths with people I’ve interviewed and who have interviewed me pretty regularly at industry events, and I don’t feel like there’s any ongoing relationship based on that. If I saw someone a few months later at an event and we started chatting, I wouldn’t feel like it was still connected to the interview process. At that point I’d think of them as “industry acquaintance” and not “interviewer” or “person who has power over me,” and it wouldn’t feel at all weird if we became friends.

          Maybe it’s also where you are in your career, and the power/experience differential. If I were really junior and the person were really senior, it might feel like there was still a power differential. I’m far enough along in my career that I see most people who interview me, or who I interview, basically as peers and potential colleagues.

      2. Elsajeni

        But this comment isn’t at all about tracking him down; it’s just noting that, since they work in the same industry, there may be other times that they run into each other, which could be more appropriate opportunities to get to know him. It is absolutely not creepy to remember that you liked someone the last time you met them, and plan to say hello and see where the conversation goes if you run into them again in a different context.

  49. Hilary Flammond

    NO to the LinkedIn invite. No, no, no!

    I say this as a former women’s network leader, mentor to women, and battle-weary 40-something manager who has had to do the delicate dance of “see, I’m a professional who happens to be a woman, not someone you should consider as a potential date” for so. many. years. I think women especially do themselves and their women colleagues no favours at all by blurring those lines we have fought so hard to create. LinkedIn is for business. Not for “heeeeey, just being breezy” types of contact. As an applicant I would be nothing short of horrified at being contacted in a non-professional way by an interviewer from a company that had rejected me. Now that I’m older and more self-assured, I may also be motivated to contact that person’s manager to report the matter, which I might also be tempted to describe as harassment.

    If this is rom-com “meant-to-be”, OP, then your paths will cross in some other way. Until then, stay firmly in your professional woman lane.

  50. Good luck!

    Found this post today (https://captainawkward.com/2014/06/06/notes-from-a-boner/) which also is important here. Ultimately, this situation leaves a distaste in my mouth because the LW (and so often so many men) is making their romantic/sexual feelings a priority over their professional ones, to the detriment of someone on the wrong side of a power dynamic. The priority here shouldn’t be the OP getting a date, but professional behavior.

  51. MommyMD

    Asking to date a failed job applicant is so far out of line, the line is not even visible. If you did and I were your employer I’d fire you point blank for a serious breach of ethics and judgment. This is not a viable dating pool.

  52. MommyMD

    Please don’t message him on LinkedIn or anywhere else. With all due respect it comes off creepy that you were interviewing him and interacting with him in a professional manner while also having romantic thoughts. That you think you “connected” on a personal level is out of line. Don’t pursue this. There is no room for bringing in sexuality and a private agenda when you are interviewing for a company.

  53. Rahera

    I just experienced this from the other side. A man who only had my mobile number because we were doing business asked me out repeatedly by text. We had literally just made a verbal agreement that he would do some work for me when he asked the first time.

    It was hellishly awkward, and because I had already agreed to the business deal I felt obliged to continue with it, but it felt very creepy and unpleasant, and I felt at risk saying no.

    It seems to me that you can’t ask the guy out, OP, because you weren’t in a social context, where you were exchanging info such as phone numbers on a social plane, and where there could reasonably be an expectation that someone might use that number to ask the other person out. You only have his info for business purposes, and now there is a power differential in play.

    You can’t know if he would have given you his number with implicit permission to use it to ask him out, and the reality is that he didn’t actually give you his number at all.

    You would risk seriously creeping him out.

  54. EventPlannerGal

    OP, please don’t do this. I’ve never been in this exact situation but I have on many occasions been the service worker being hit on by customers and it is not cute, it’s tiresome and weird. Yes, this situation is different but you are still making a professional interaction weird and personal in a way that it doesn’t need to be. And really, think about explaining this one to your boss.

    (And also, really, even if you think you “connected”, you barely know anything about this guy. If somebody tried to date me based on Job Interview Me, who thinks all your jokes are hilarious, just LOVES your office decor and never ever swears, they would be in for a nasty surprise. Is it worth putting yourself in this position based on the incredibly limited and self-edited picture you get of someone based on a job interview?)

  55. MissDisplaced

    I’m trying to see if there is any possible way for OP to connect without it being inappropriate or non-creepy and stalker-ish. I’m struggling to find a way for either except that maybe… after the passage of reasonable amount of time where any possibility of him being a job candidate has long passed:

    a) Their paths cross somewhere, they remember each other, and both have mutual interest in getting acquainted non-professionally.
    b) They find each other on Match.com or other dating site, and connect.

    I mean at some future point, the guy is no longer a professional contact, right?

  56. Anon Anon Anon

    I think it would be fine to connect with him on LinkedIn and strike up a conversation after some time has passed. I mean at least 6 months later, after he’s found a new job. LW could invite him to a professionally related event. “Hi! We’re having a coffee and teapots meeting next Saturday! It’s a discussion group for people in our field. You’re invited!” That leaves things pretty open-ended. If there is mutual interest, he could show up, they could talk further, and he could suggest that they stay in touch. Or they could just remain professional contacts. The key is to keep things professional and not assume otherwise unless he’s the one to initiate it.

  57. Greg

    Agree with all of the people saying it would be a bad idea, but this letter reminded me of a college friend of mine who had an HR screen, and the next day called the HR manager back and told her he was withdrawing his application and would like to ask her out. I don’t know how he knew from that first meeting that there was a connection, but apparently his instincts were correct, since they’ve been married for the last 20 years.

  58. Nicole

    Oh yikes. If someone did this to me:
    A- I would be absolutely squicked out
    B- I would be contacting your boss about your abuse of my personal information
    C- I would absolutely want nothing to do with you and assume any “hitting off” we felt was manipulative

  59. PizzaDog

    I’m just wondering how much you could have possibly connected over the course of a job interview – nothing I’d consider a “date question” has ever been asked during a job interview, and if they had, it’d be a red flag. Job interviews don’t talk about shared hobbies or likes, politics, etc.

    I wouldn’t even connect with them on LinkedIn – they’re accepting that connection still on the basis that it might “pay off” later with a job hookup, in my opinion.

    The best you can do is sign up for Bumble or Tinder and hope to see them on there at some point in the near future… but even then… they might only match with you for that hookup (and not the kind you’re hoping for).

  60. Geneva

    If someone had the audacity to ask me on a date after rejecting me for a job, I’d laugh in their face, then make sure every person in my network and beyond knew how unprofessional they were.

    1. MissDisplaced

      The OP didn’t do the rejecting though, her boss had the final say. OP was only on the interview committee.

  61. SilverIris

    A few years ago, my husband interviewed a guy for an IT position. He ended up being wrong fit for the job (overqualified), but my husband really like him. After they notified him of the decision, my husband reached out and said (paraphrasing) “I really enjoyed meeting you and I’m bummed we won’t be working together. If you’d like to go to a friendly dinner with our spouses, I’ll make us reservations.”

    He and his husband have become some of our dearest friends. We bought their condo when they moved; they were at our wedding. We all laugh that a failed job connection led to such wonderful personal connection between our families!

    1. Geek

      I’ve been happily married for over 21 years now.

      I didn’t meet my spouse through work or a job interview.

      If I had passed up the opportunity to meet her just because of *how* we connected, I’d have regrets. I don’t believe in one company for life. That was my parent’s world. That is not my world. I do believe in marriage for life. Jobs may come and go, but the person with whom you may spend the rest of your time on earth?

      Take a chance. If the OP were a guy wanting to a hit on a girl, I’d probably say “eww” for all the patriarchal reasons I assumed that was the case until reading the post. :)

      If I were the job candidate, I would be flattered by your interest. There’s nothing wrong with one person saying to another, “I like you.”

      1. Geek

        And if I were playing it safe and this were my blog, I’d probably advise you to move on. But I’m not and it’s not, so I’d say take a chance. :)

  62. What if...

    OP, I hope you’re not living your only life on this earth following some internet advice (including mine), but I wouldn’t listen to anybody when it came to those deeply personal feelings. It sounds like people who react on questions for this column all work at the Supreme Court, that’s how perfectly righteous they are when it comes to advice… I don’t know what I would do if I were you, I’d maybe reach out to the guy via FB after some time has passed by. People’s memories are very selective, unless you were interviewing him for a high-ranking job at the White House, which I doubt.

  63. JSPA

    If you find his profile on a dating site where you’re already active, you can swipe (and follow up with, “oh, it’s you, sorry if this is awkward!” and NOTHING more unless you get active encouragement). In any other way: a hard “no.”

  64. wittyrepartee

    Being asked on a date after a job rejection would make me really sad. Don’t. That’s a day ruiner.

  65. charo

    ONLY IF there was a specific connection, e.g., hobby or work experience or interest you both have, something way beyond just “he was cute” — then there’s a chance you could pull this off. But it’s asking for trouble.

    ONLY IF you both dress up in Medieval garb every weekend and go do something weird.
    Or both play championship bridge.
    Or breed Chihuahuas.

    It has to be a connection beyond attraction.
    “I don’t often meet someone who also collects / plays / breeds / enjoys [fill in the blank]. If you don’t plan to interview again here — which is hard to predict, I know, but if you don’t — I’d enjoy getting coffee with you some time. But obviously only if there wouldn’t be any professional hangover here.”

    Also, what if he dated you just to get revenge for the job turndown?

    Something specific and unusual. But you don’t mention that.

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