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Clyde-o-Matic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a call from a headhunter wanting me to interview for a senior management position with one our customers. The person who currently has the position is a former co-worker and is a friend of the family (we vacation together, go to each other's kids' bday parties, etc.). The headhunter was fairly candid in that the CEO (relatively new to the company) is looking for candidates with a broader set of skills and a more strategic mindset than my friend. While the headhunter was candid in what they are looking for, I did not get an indication of whether they will be reassigning or terminating my friend. The headhunter is also a friend who asked me to keep all of this confidential.

I declined to interview as it will create way too many personal issues but my question for the lounge is do I let my friend know that his position is in jeopardy? I'm not sure he can change the CEO's mind (my friend is probably better in technical role than a senior management role). If I tell my friend, it likely gets the headhunter fired. I think I just keep my mouth shut but it sucks... :mad2:
 

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hit it
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I say tell your friend. At some point you'll have to tell him that you knew it was coming & I think the sooner the better.
 

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Registered
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Which of the two should your loyalty belong to? Did you sign a non-disclosure form when you interviewed? Did you promise not to release any information before, during or after the headhunter relayed that information to you?

Personally, I would be loyal to my friend over the headhunter and let him or her know. If I had signed a non-disclosure form or promised AFTER I was told of the information, I would be bound by my signature and/or promise. If I promised not to release information, and sometime after was told of my friends impending dismissal, at that point I would have ended the interview and let them know that I would relay that information to my friend. I have been in that situation before myself, and it was tough but could be resolved by breaking down who was my friend and what I was honorably bound to abide by.
 

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Glue Sniffer
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I'd tell the friend. The headhunter had no business putting you in the position to keep secrets -- it was a mistake on his part.

Also, just because you tell your friend doesn't mean that the headhunter will be fired. I assume your friend won't go blabbing to the CEO before storming out in a pit of flames, but will instead begin updating his resume, taking stock of his finances and preparing for a variety of "what if" situations.

Three people can keep a secret, as long as two of 'em are dead.
 

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No hero that's understood
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6,100 Posts
Does the headhunter know you two are friends? If so, shame on him, tell the friend.

If not, tell the friend since it appears you are closer to him.
 

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haole from the mainland
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5,962 Posts
Tough spot, since you are friends with both the people in question, although it sounds like you are better friends with the guy in jeopardy of losing his job more than the headhunter.

If your friend was politically savvy and discreet, you might very delicately bring up the subject. Since you said your friend is better in a technical position, he may not have the people skills to keep the information you would give him under his hat in the work setting.
 

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Captain Obvious
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sounds like your friend who might get terminated is a closer friend. i'd tell them.
 

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Glue Sniffer
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rockstar2083 said:
headhunter wants it kept confidential
Well, duh. People always want their secrets to be kept confidential, but are you legally bound to confidentially, or was it more of a, "Don't tell anyone, but..."

// And please don't misunderstand my flip response to mean the situation is easy. It's very, very tough and regardless of your decision, it's a bummer that you were put in the position to make it.

// Caveat: I have a personal pet peeve against people who put others in the position of keeping secrets about people not in the loop. It unweights the teller, while putting all the pressure on the tellee. The headhunter could have given you the same information about what the CEO was looking for without passing on the sensitive information about your friend's perceived shortcomings and possible termination.
 

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corning my own beef
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damn, and I was having trouble deciding .... well, something completely insignificant compared to this. Good luck with that, buddy. Any advice from me is likely of limited value.
 

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Clyde-o-Matic
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It is all very incestuous. I know all the parties involved. I'm pretty good friends with the headhunter and the current job holder. I also know the CEO from industry connections. The CEO is actually pretty good friends with my current CEO which is why he didn't contact me directly. I would be a good candidate for the job and it would be a good job but way too many personal conflicts. I'm mainly torqued at my headhunter friend for even asking me or being as candid as he was.
 

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haole from the mainland
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rockstar2083 said:
I'm mainly torqued at my headhunter friend for even asking me or being as candid as he was.
Maybe he told you that information for a reason. He can't just call up your friend and tell him. He can't do anything but tell you that the information is confidential.

But he wouldn't have given you the information if he didn't think you'd be able to use your judgement (i.e., he gave you what was probably confidential information he wasn't supposed to pass on).
 

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gazing from the shadows
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rockstar2083 said:
I think I just keep my mouth shut but it sucks... :mad2:

The fact that you were called is almost certain to come out at some point. What will the reaction be from your friend if they find out from someone else, and then know you did not give a heads up?

I think you need to shift from "doing the right thing" mode to "limiting the damage" mode. And you need to consider not just your friendship, but your professional relationships as well. But I see three main options:

1) keep silent. Be prepared if it come out later.

2) tell everything. This reduces the damage to the friendship, but what might it do to ALL professional relationships? Will you be known as the person that can't keep a secret?

3) middle ground. Tell the friend that you have heard something....(some details but not all). Maybe that there is management hiring, and he might want to keep his ears open at the office. Maybe suggest that if he is offered a more technical position, it would be a good idea to take it, from the rumors you have heard. Or even suggest he might approach the CEO and say that he thinks his strengths are in a more technical job, and given the new CEO and the changes new CEOs often make with their new perspectives, he was hoping to get such a move at this time... and help to get any replacement on their feet and running in his old position. That would be a good proactive approach.

HTH, but you are in a tough spot, imo.
 
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