Advice: "I told my friend about a job I was interviewing for. He applied behind my back."


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Dear Quota Team,

I work in tech sales in San Fran, and have been a (producing) sales manager for the last two years. A few months ago, a recruiter reached out to me about a director-level gig at another fast-growing company, so I took the interview. The first interview went great. I made it to the second round and got to meet more of the team and learn about the company roadmap – it felt like a big upgrade from a work/life balance perspective, not to mention a nice pay bump. 

So while I was riding high and super excited about the opportunity, I went out to lunch with one of my colleagues who I worked with at my previous company. We worked together for a few years so we've become friends. We mostly spent the lunch talking about our families and the job hunt. I mentioned the company and position I was interviewing for. Like I said, I was excited about the opportunity so I was really talking the place up. We finished our meal and went our separate ways.

About a week later, I got an email from my friend who said that he was also interviewing for the role and wanted to let me know about it, and said he hoped there were no hard feelings.

It seems like he decided to go apply for the position after I told him all about it and how great the potential was. This is someone who I considered a friend. I haven’t responded to his email yet because I feel like I can’t do it without freaking out on him a bit. What do you think? Is this a total jerk move or what? 

Betrayed in California 


Dear Betrayed,

Is it a total jerk move? Absolutely. He knew that you were excited about the role and decided that instead of being happy for you, he’d try to take it for himself. There are no two ways about it, he went behind your back and then tried to absolve himself of any guilt by sending you a manipulative message after the fact.

That being said, there are some very hard lessons in sales and business (in life?) that we all must learn. One of those is that you can’t control others, and that you should spend your days and years focusing on what you can control, which is, in almost all cases, only yourself. 

By the time this answer gets published, you’ll probably have either gotten the job, lost out to your “friend,” or maybe to someone else entirely. No matter the outcome, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do the best you can. After all, it’s the only thing you can do that will have an impact. Good luck! We wish you all the best! 

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