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Betraying a friend to apply to a job?


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Old 18th March 2014, 1:12 PM   #1
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Betraying a friend to apply to a job?

I have a friend who works in the same field as me (that's how we know each other) -- we have similar skill sets/resumes, and we both have our radars out right now for new jobs. We generally help each other with that process.

But we had drinks together recently and he told me about a job that he was "worried I'd applied for." It turns out I'd never seen the posting. He told me a little bit about it, saying he was going to apply and half-jokingly warning me not to steal it.

I looked into more details when I got home, and this job is actually something I'd really like to apply for. I also know that I'd have an edge over my friend on this one due to a couple of specifics of my background that he doesn't have.

However, I'd feel like a rat applying since a) I wouldn't even know about the job in the first place if he hadn't told me about it, and b) I know he was somewhat serious in not wanting me to compete with him for it.

What the hell is the right call to make here? Do I bow out due to friend etiquette? Or do I just plow ahead and say something like: "Here's to friendly competition -- you know I have to apply to this."
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Old 18th March 2014, 1:25 PM   #2
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No. Apply and tell him about it. I am always for transparency. If I was in his shoes it would bother me if a friend did it behind my back. The action of deception is far worse than some extra competition.
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Old 18th March 2014, 1:44 PM   #3
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No. Apply and tell him about it. I am always for transparency. If I was in his shoes it would bother me if a friend did it behind my back. The action of deception is far worse than some extra competition.
Well, I actually was never considering the option of applying but not telling him. I would definitely tell him if I apply. I'm just wondering if I have the right to apply in the first place, given the circumstances.

We're aren't best friends, but we're close, and I'm not thrilled about the prospect of damaging our friendship over this. Who knows... maybe neither of us would get called back. But if we both made it to the interview process, things could get sticky.
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Old 18th March 2014, 1:56 PM   #4
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Well, I actually was never considering the option of applying but not telling him. I would definitely tell him if I apply. I'm just wondering if I have the right to apply in the first place, given the circumstances.

We're aren't best friends, but we're close, and I'm not thrilled about the prospect of damaging our friendship over this. Who knows... maybe neither of us would get called back. But if we both made it to the interview process, things could get sticky.
Yes, you have the right. Even though you may think you have the edge, you sometimes don't know what the employer is exactly looking for. Tell him that it's a really great job and you would like to apply. If he gets pissed, it says more about him than about you.

I went through the same thing couple of times. One time we both got called for the interview and my friend had it first. She was so kind as to tell me the exact interview questions. She said she knew she screwed up and had no chance. Even with the questions, I didn't get the job either. I guess I don't see it as a big deal.
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Old 18th March 2014, 1:58 PM   #5
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There's no guarantee he will get it even if you don't apply. Go ahead & apply.


It can be tough. Coming out of grad school I was competing head to head with my then BF for the same jobs. That was awkward especially when the employers would unknowingly schedule us for back to back interviews.
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Old 18th March 2014, 2:04 PM   #6
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I'd have a hard time with that too. It's like both going after the same female when he introduced you to her - feelings get in the way and it can damage friendships. If you apply, one thing you probably won't get from him in the future is any heads up about available jobs. There will be more competition between you two.
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Old 18th March 2014, 2:42 PM   #7
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I'm thinking of shooting him an email that says something along the lines of: "Hey, I feel weird about this but I checked out that job posting you talked about and I really feel like I have to apply. Hopefully you realize I'm not trying to step on your toes."

Also considering giving him the option to "speak up if he has a major problem with it" so I can know for myself whether it's going to be a friendship dealbreaker that I'm even applying. I'm guessing he wouldn't go that far, which means I'd have his implicit consent to go forward.
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Old 21st March 2014, 5:21 AM   #8
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Plenty of guy friends where he came from when you're a woman.

Teaching him to keep his mouth shut in the future is the best thing you could do for him. What a dope.
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Old 21st March 2014, 7:24 PM   #9
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apply and let him know after you've done it. why allow him to say 'no' - would you really listen if he said he didn't want you to apply? it's your life, your decision. maybe just ask him where he came by the info. because you'd like to get in on that list/site too. no guarantee either of you will get it, so no big deal. and if you interview first you can give him a head-ups on the questions as payback for the tip
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Old 21st March 2014, 9:27 PM   #10
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Yeah, I'm going to have to disagree with the advice that's been given.

It's true that your friend might not even get the job, but I think it's a pretty ****ty thing to do to a friend.

As you said, you wouldn't even know about the job if it weren't for your friend and I can tell you from personal experience: how you treat people comes back to you. If you love and support your friend, I think you should support him rather than trying to swipe something he has his heart set on.

Who knows: if he gets the job, he may even be the insider you need to find a job at the same company (depending on what kind of job it is) or be able to get some networks for you to find an even better job.

And if he doesn't get the job, at least you can sleep at night knowing you didn't screw with your friend.

(Note that my advice would be different if you had found this job posting on your own. In that case I would be all for "friendly competition.")

Anyway, the choice is yours, but I think you'll feel better about yourself supporting your friend.

Last edited by Storm_Chaser; 21st March 2014 at 9:30 PM..
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