So, You Vouched For a Friend at Work and It Turns Out They Suck ... Now What?

So, You Vouched For a Friend at Work and It Turns Out They Suck ... Now What?

Your real life friend is terrible in the office — and you recommended them.

By Marianne Garvey

We all want to help a friend in need — hook them up with a sweet job, get them a good salary, highly recommend them to our company, etc. But what happens when you do just that, your friend gets the job, and then … they are absolutely horrible at it? Like, they're not showing up on time, they (actively) hate the boss, and it comes back to reflect poorly on you.  

You were doing just fine by the way, and now you’re the one running interference between your boss, your coworkersand your friend. This is not what you asked for.


Workplace expert Alison Green, who runs the work advice site Ask a Manager, weighs in on what you need to do if the friend you recommended is doing poorly at work.

“I think you’ve got to do two things,” Green says. “First, talk to your friend and tell him he’s putting you in a crappy position — point out that you put your reputation on the line by vouching for him, and he needs to pull it together at work for your sake if nothing else.” 

Since you now have the headache of dealing with all this, tell your friend that if they plan on leaving, “it would be better to do it sooner rather than later so that this comes to an end, but that while he’s there, he needs to clean up his act.” 

“Second, talk to your boss and say something like, ‘I want you to know that I didn’t foresee these issues with Bob when I recommended him. I’m mortified that I vouched for him — I had no idea it would turn out this way, and I’m really disappointed. If you’re cutting him any breaks on my account, please know there’s no need to. If you conclude he’s not right for the job, that won’t be an issue on my side.’” 

She adds the point isn’t to throw your friend under the bus (or be a “bus thrower” as Jenni Pulos-Nassos puts it), but to do some damage repair since you recommended him. 

“What he’s doing to you is not the behavior of a good friend — if he chooses to be this kind of employee, that’s his business but he should have kept it out of your workplace and out of your friendship,” Green says. 

And next time, make sure before you recommend someone, you really think they’re up for the job.

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