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Redditor Called Out For Recruiting Former Coworker To Come Work At Their New Company

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When it’s clear that you’ve climbed up the ladder as high as you can and still feel unfulfilled, that’s probably a sign that it’s time to find a new job.

And when you learn a friend is facing the same problems you once did and know there’s an opening at your company, the generous thing would be to refer them for the job, right?

That’s certainly what Redditor Ugotdot thought when they referred a former colleague to a position at their current place of employment.

But after being scolded by their former bosses, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for recruiting a former coworker to my new employer?”

The OP first shared how after feeling a bit stuck at their job, a bigger and better opportunity came to light at a new company.

“Worked for a company for 7 years, starting at entry level.”

“They paid for my degree and I got several promotions until I made middle management but then stagnated, passed up for an upper management position due to ‘lack of experience’.”

“I started looking for new jobs and found a GREAT one.”

“Upper management, $50k pay raise, better benefits, more vacation, 100% work from home.”

“Been at the new job for 18 months and absolutely happy.”

Upon learning of an opening at their company, the OP decided to help a former colleague who found themself in a similar situation.

“Last month we had a team member take a promotion with another team and I was part of the hiring team for his replacement.”

“Interviewed 6 people, no good fits.”

“Dozens of resumes but nobody we’re interested in.”

“My boss asks us, hey anybody know anyone in their networks that would be interested?”

“They even dangled a $5000 referral bonus out.”

“I knew of a former coworker that was perfectly qualified for the role, and he was in a similar situation I was in where he had been passed up for promotions due to lack of experience.”

“I reached out and he was interested in interviewing.”

“Sure enough, he knocks the interview out of the park and we offer him the position.”

“Same situation I was in, he got a huge raise, career advancement, etc.”

The only people who were not pleased with the outcome for the OP’s friend, were her former employees.

“When he gave his notice to management they asked how he heard about the opportunity.”

“He truthfully told them that I had reached out to him.”

“Apparently they are furious at me due to this, and I’ve officially burned every professional bridge with my old leadership group.”

‘Originally I just chalked it up as sour grapes, thinking if they wanted to retain their talented young employees they could promote and pay them.”

“Also, it had been 18 months – not like I left and took coworkers with me.”

“Last week I brought this up with a friend, and he said the company was right to be angry, that I crossed a professional line, and you should never reach out to former coworkers unsolicited about leaving no matter what.”

“Is that true?”

‘Am I the a**hole here?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The Reddit community was in agreement that the OP was not at all the a**hole for referring their former colleague for a job at their new company.

Everyone agreed that the OP was very generous in helping out their friend, and if their former company so valued this colleague, they should have given him more incentive to stay.


“Companies are so quick to be pissed at employees for leaving, but never consider the offering them opportunities until after they’ve left.”

“It’s so crappy.”

“You and your coworker owe your employers nothing.”

“They’d fire you in an instant with no hesitation, so why can’t people leave?”




“Companies pay for that right.”

“It’s not free.”

“I recently took an exit package from my leadership role, and was given a 6 month severance.”

“One of the key things?”

“I had to sign a 2 year, non-solicitation agreement.”

“So unless they paid you for it, you are absolutely not the asshole.”- SDstartingOut

“I worked as a recruiter at a fortune 500 company for four years, now I work as an employment development professional.”

“And let me tell you something.”

“People are company assets.”

“In fact, they might be the most important asset a company can have.”

“Management of assets, including employees, is the responsibility of the leadership team.”

“If a business wants to keep employees, then they need to be competitive in some way.”

“And it doesn’t have to be salary, perhaps it’s through great culture, benefit packages, or flexible vacation.”

“Was it unfortunate that you left for a better opportunity?”

‘Of course.”

“Is it more unfortunate that they lost ANOTHER great employee to the same company?”


“But that’s business.”

“If a company has high turnover, it’s their responsibility to look introspectively and decide where they are going wrong.”

“Career growth is part of life.”

“If the other company doesn’t like it, they should’ve made a better counter offer to your friend.”

“NTA.”- Fluid-Mountain6323


“I love when a company tries to cover up their lack of incentives with a made-up ‘rule’.”

“This is one of the most common ways of people finding a job outside job postings.”

“Sounds like they are mad that they couldn’t abuse your co-worker for a few more years on the cheap.”- PizzaInteraction


“If they looked after their staff better they wouldn’t be in this situation.”

“If you hold people down, they wiggle free and f*ck off to where they’re lifted up instead.”

“Good for you and your colleague, I’m happy you’ve both had such positive improvements in your work lives.”- Filhopastry79

“As long as your previous employment agreement didn’t have a clause specifying that you aren’t allowed to poach employees within X amount of time after leaving the company, then it’s fair game.”

“They’re just lashing out because they now have lost not one, but two excellent employees within 18 months.”-SpiritFingazz


“If your friend was happy where they were, they wouldn’t have been tempted by your conversation.”

“You can sleep well, knowing you hooked someone up with a great opportunity.”- MorethanMeldrew

“NTA your company should have had a non-solicitation clause in their contract if they didn’t want that to happen and even then it can only be for a reasonable period of time say 12-18 months.”

“Most people take former colleagues when building a new team.”

“Your former colleague should have been more clever though, his company didn’t need to know that.”

“You did them a favor.”

“They literally could have said they applied, or that they were head hunted via LinkedIn.”

“Only a stupid person says what they did.”- Big__Bang


“I’m speaking from a purely ethical, not professional perspective.”

“You don’t owe them anything.”

“They clearly have made a habit of exploiting overqualified people and refusing to shell out an extra cent in recognition of quality work.”

“Good on you for helping out your former coworker, and good riddance to those greedy AH former employers.”

“Hope everything works out for you.”- _mementhusiast_

“Absolutely NTA.”

“You only, and quite legally, would be if you signed something saying you wouldn’t contact or recruit previous coworkers in some time frame, e.g. 2 years.”

“If your old company wanted to retain your ex/current coworker they could have matched the offer.”

“1.5 years is plenty of space for you.”-stapletherobot


“People often leave and then bring their teams with them.”

“Where I work it’s a department of 9 and 4 if the people have worked together before.”

“This is normal.”

“Unless you inspired tons of people to quit and join you to hurt your former company, you didn’t do anything wrong.”- friendlily

“Networks are a very common way to find out about jobs.”

“I got my current job via my network.”

“Perfectly normal.”

“If you know someone is stagnating in their current job, then mentioning new opportunities is the right thing.”

“Anyway, the your old job could have counter offered with a better package to either of you, but chose not to.”

“They’re probably worried more of their staff will realize there are better opportunities elsewhere and start looking.”-ShadowKraftwerk

“NTA that’s nonsense.”

“If the old company wants to keep its employees they need to stop being a sh*tty company to work for.”

“That’s not on you.”- LlammaLawn


“Your friend criticizing you is an idiot.”

“You owe no loyalty to a former employer, ever.”

“Your loyalty is to your current employer to help recruit the best employees.”

“This is especially so where it appears that your former employer was deliberately stalling careers and not paying wages at market rates.”

“I mean you got $50,000 raise with your promotion.”

“They are the ones who burned a bridge with you.”- SeaOk7514

It sounds like the OP’s former bosses didn’t realize how lucky they were until it was too late.

Hopefully, this might teach them to value their best employees a bit more going forward.

Or this will definitely not be the last employee they’ll lose to greener pastures.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.