Relationship with Prospective Employer Presents ‘Minefield’


Jed writes:
I am interviewing for a high-level project-management position…. I am past the
second round in the interview process and will of course be following up etc.
The person I would be reporting to (and who brought me in to interview) I have
worked with before and we had a good working relationship. What he does not
know is that I have also worked with and graduated from law school with the
CEO… I have not mentioned this thus far in the process. We were (the CEO
and I) on good terms in the last job we worked together and at law school….
and even though it has been almost 6 years since then she would most definitely
remember me.
So…how do I proceed? I sense a minefield ahead.



The Career Doctor responds:
From what you describe it sounds like you are in an ideal situation to
get hired for the position.
I really don’t see any real problems for you unless you have actually lied
about your connection to the company’s CEO. Assuming you get to the
next round of interviews one certainly where you would be meeting with
some of the executive team you should disclose your relationship. You
do need to be careful how you do so because you do not want to seem
as though you are using your previous relationship with the CEO as a trump
card to force your hiring.
Let’s say your potential future boss calls you for the next round of interviews
and mentions that the interviews will include meeting with some of the senior
or executive team. You can casually ask if that would include meeting with
the CEO and then disclose your previous working and school connections.
Don’t make it sound like a brag but instead as a chance to catch up with
someone whom you admire and respect. And then quickly add how wonderful it
would be to work at a company where people know the quality of your work
abilities contribution potential — especially your future potential boss.
Unless the person is really insecure in his position he should not be intimidated
by the fact that you have this previous relationship with the CEO.
Now if you have purposely not disclosed this information and even lied about it
in a previous interview your job prospects drop dramatically because no matter
how innocent your reasons for doing so you may be damaged goods.
Finally let this situation also be an important lesson about the importance of
keeping your network of contacts active. Networking is the best way to discover
new job and career opportunities and think about how much easier it would have
been if the CEO knew you were looking for this job because you had talked with
her recently as part of your network.
Learn more about the ins and outs of networking in this section of Quintessential Careers: The Art of Networking.

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Jed writes:
I am interviewing for a high-level project-management position…. I am past the
second round in the interview process and will of course be following up etc.
The person I would be reporting to (and who brought me in to interview) I have
worked with before and we had a good working relationship. What he does not
know is that I have also worked with and graduated from law school with the
CEO… I have not mentioned this thus far in the process. We were (the CEO
and I) on good terms in the last job we worked together and at law school….
and even though it has been almost 6 years since then she would most definitely
remember me.
So…how do I proceed? I sense a minefield ahead.



The Career Doctor responds:
From what you describe it sounds like you are in an ideal situation to
get hired for the position.
I really don’t see any real problems for you unless you have actually lied
about your connection to the company’s CEO. Assuming you get to the
next round of interviews one certainly where you would be meeting with
some of the executive team you should disclose your relationship. You
do need to be careful how you do so because you do not want to seem
as though you are using your previous relationship with the CEO as a trump
card to force your hiring.
Let’s say your potential future boss calls you for the next round of interviews
and mentions that the interviews will include meeting with some of the senior
or executive team. You can casually ask if that would include meeting with
the CEO and then disclose your previous working and school connections.
Don’t make it sound like a brag but instead as a chance to catch up with
someone whom you admire and respect. And then quickly add how wonderful it
would be to work at a company where people know the quality of your work
abilities contribution potential — especially your future potential boss.
Unless the person is really insecure in his position he should not be intimidated
by the fact that you have this previous relationship with the CEO.
Now if you have purposely not disclosed this information and even lied about it
in a previous interview your job prospects drop dramatically because no matter
how innocent your reasons for doing so you may be damaged goods.
Finally let this situation also be an important lesson about the importance of
keeping your network of contacts active. Networking is the best way to discover
new job and career opportunities and think about how much easier it would have
been if the CEO knew you were looking for this job because you had talked with
her recently as part of your network.
Learn more about the ins and outs of networking in this section of Quintessential Careers: The Art of Networking.