Sunday, March 08, 2009


"Friends don't let friends drive drunk," writes a reader who continues, "Friends don't steer a conversation about a friend's references to their own qualifications for the job."

My reader agreed with 71 percent of respondents who responded "no" to an unscientific poll on my blog that asked if it is OK to talk about your own qualifications if a friend's prospective employer pursues this line of conversation.

"Don't say this `friend' didn't steer the conversation," another reader writes. "The qualifications being discussed were clearly those of the job applicant. Just how did this supposed `friend' insert his or her qualifications into the conversation?"

However, 29 percent of readers responding thought it perfectly fine to answer such questions.

"Isn't it possible that the prospective employer wants to know if you are qualified enough to judge your friend's qualifications?" one of them asks. "If you get asked about applying for the job, you can simply say, `No, thank you."'

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2009 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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