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Friday, July 10, 2009

when do I tell my interviewer that I'm dating one of their employees?

A reader writes:

My girlfriend recently accepted a job at a new company. A day later, completely coincidentally, I applied for a job at the same company. I didn't know it was the same company until the recruiter got back to me and told me, but now I do. I haven't told the recruiter that I am going out with one of their new employees, and I haven't told them. I've had one interview, two online tests, and am having the final interview today.

When do I tell them that I am in a relationship with one of their new employees? We've been going out for over three years so its not a short-term fling or anything, and since we will be in different departments (if I get the job of course) I don't think we'll even see each other during the day that much.

There are three options, and currently I am going to go with option 1:

1. Wait until I have an offer, then call up my line manager who interviewed me (bypassing the recruiter) and tell him. I would say that I wanted to get the interview "on my own merits" without any external influences, and that I may have not got an offer so it wouldn't have mattered. I'd say that I wanted to tell him so that I have been honest with him, and I don't feel it will affect my performance in the office at all. It was a complete coincidence.

2. Tell him in the interview today. I think this would be jumping the gun as I may not even get an offer, and may jeopardize my chances if they do have an issue with it.

3. Don't say anything, start working and pretend we started going out very soon after starting to work there, or just admit it once I start working. This feels wrong as I'm an honest person and think it would create a very bad impression of me.

What do you think?

I think it's none of their business, especially at this stage, and you shouldn't mention it before you get an offer, for that reason.

However, some companies (fewer and fewer, but still some) have policies against "fraternization." These policies are silly, but some places do have them. Your girlfriend should know, or be able to find out, if this one does. If it does (again, very unlikely), you'd have to decide whether to turn down the offer or hide your relationship. (Or, you know, dump your girlfriend.)

But assuming they don't have any policies against it, it's really no one's business, since neither of you would be managing the other and you won't be working in the same department.

Is this a large company? If so, I wouldn't bother mentioning it at all. I also wouldn't try to pretend like you met on the job; I'd just not address it all, because who cares?

But if it's a smaller company, I'd go with your option #1. If they do for some reason think it's a big deal, better to find out at that point than on your first day.

Alternately, if you're the sort who likes causing intrigue, you can generate some major gossip by telling no one, but being seen leaving together on your first day and then many days thereafter. People will think you win over the ladies really, really fast, and you'll be the subject of all kinds of speculation.


John said...

Great Advice AAM!

It could be a tough situation if it's against company policy, and you decide to end the relationship though:

Dear John,
I am afraid we are going to have to end it.
It's not you, it's not even me, it's company policy.

Anonymous said...

Don't say anything and just act friendly if you run across each other during the course of the day. I'm sure it's not against policy to have pre-existing friends working there and they don't need to know what happens in your bedroom. The difference between a friend and a girlfriend is the bedroom.

Anonymous said...

Option 4 (AAM's alternative) for the win!