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Would referee be upset if I don't accept offer and they have spent effort to endorse me?

New answer on May 06, 2020
5 Answers
1.3 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 29, 2020

I am currently finding some alumni or friends to refer me. However, I am also worrying that if I manage to get an offer, and the referee has spent effort to endorse me, would they be upset if I don't take the offer? I have even heard that some companies have a "beneath the table" rule that if you refer a person, you should make sure that he will join the firm if he gets the offer (otherwise it may make the referee look bad). Any thoughts on this?

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Best answer
replied on Mar 01, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

Of course, in asking for someone to refer you, this means that they have to use their social capital and time to make a referral on someone they viewed as a good potential.

In rejecting the offer, there will always be a risk that they will not be happy with it.

However, note that in the case of several firms, the recommendation is made online, hence the social capital implication might not be that severe, only the time element, and also potential compensation a referee might get by referring people.

In either case, it would be best to prepare for such cases.
As you are wishing for their willingness to refer you, the norm would be to appreciate it by accepting the offer when you indeed got it.
However, facing a talented candidate with several opportunities, one would understand they have to choose for one.

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,

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Anonymous replied on May 06, 2020


I'd say if you need to turn down the offer, do it only if you have a very valid reason, e.g. you get a better offer from a more prestige firm (or firm with better fits to you), or personal/family reasons. With a valid reason, though he/she might not be happy, he/she would understand.

Also suggest to have a chat with the person before you turn down the offer, to give the heads up and see whethre he/she has any additional input that could help your decision.



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Anonymous replied on Apr 30, 2020

Hi A,

your referee might not be happy, but it's very important that you can fully transparent communicate about the reasons why you choose the other firm.

Good Luck,


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


I think that is a risk that you will have to take. For sure it´s not ideal, but it´s not a big deal either, since very little referrals make it.

Good luck with the process,


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached


For sure they won't be happy. Whenever you refer someone, you should be aware also of his motivations.
Anyway it happens quite often to have a candidate that refuses your offer, it's part of the game and you should not worry so much.


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Nathaniel gave the best answer


McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge
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