Ethicality of hiring a former student?


Background: I'm both administrative staff for a university, and I'm the owner of a small business. I've been working with a particular student at the university on some university grant work, and I'm impressed with this student's work. This student has recently graduated and is currently seeking employment. I am now interested in hiring this student to work for my small business.

What legal and ethical issues surround hiring a former student?

Hiring Legal USA Conflict Of Interest

asked Feb 2 '12 at 05:03
121 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans
  • (This might make a good Community Wiki, but I don't see a way to enable that.) – Smokris 10 years ago
  • ask your university what policy they have. It sounds benign to me. – Tim J 10 years ago
  • I know of part time professors/business people that do it all the time. As long as there isn't something preventing you from doing it in your contract I think it is personally ethical and a good way to do business... – David Mokon Bond 10 years ago
  • @Tim: unfortunately, this being a large bureaucratic institution, I could ask 20 people and get 20 contradictory responses. – Smokris 10 years ago
  • @smokris - what I meant was a written policy - if there is no written policy then I agree - you will get many different (and useless) answers. If there is no policy against it then go right ahead. I see nothing wrong with that. – Tim J 10 years ago

1 Answer


I am curious to hear why do you think this would be unethical?

Based on what you described unless you have an agreement with the University that you will not hire their former students there is no ethical challenge from what I can see. The student is seeking employment. You have a position to fill, so shake hands get the monetary and benefits agreements out of the way and go happily forth.

If you are claiming to be an EOE then there are certain legal requirements that you would have to meet to continue claiming that but there is no reason that you cannot hire a former student.

answered Feb 2 '12 at 06:42
1,779 points
  • To me, it does not seem unethical. But at this university there are _vast swaths of unwritten rules_ regarding outside work, which seemingly boil down to "we'll know it when we see it". I'm asking here just to get a general idea as to whether others see potential ethical conflicts with this, so I can be prepared if/when the thought police come after me. – Smokris 10 years ago
  • EOE is a good point — thanks. – Smokris 10 years ago
  • @smokris Unwritten rules are not legally enforceable and could open the organizations enforcing them to legal liabilities so if you are concerned about them I would start with Human Resources and Student Affairs offices, which should give you a clear indication of any possible conflicts of interest. – Karlson 10 years ago
  • University personnel are subject to the subtle whims of University system. In many situations a professor might be fired for no official reason, when the real reason was political. I think it reasonable to worry about how things "look" in this case. However, to put things in perspective, many Universities allow romantic relationships with current students, so this can't be *too* far off the ethical mark. – Baordog 8 years ago
  • @baordog As long as they don't have tenure. – Karlson 8 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Hiring Legal USA Conflict Of Interest