In this difficult economic time, everyone knows someone who is unemployed. With the jobless rate in the US at a staggeringly high percentage, it is understandable to feel a strong conviction to help in whatever way possible. What if you are working for a dynamic company that is flourishing and looking to expand? What if you have a close friend that would make a wonderful applicant? There are multiple things to consider before providing yourself as a reference for a friend’s aptitude for a position.

Be Objective.

Carefully consider your friend’s goals and work experience. Review the job description and examine what about your friend would work in the position. Encourage your friend to follow the proper channels and submit their resume in the same way as every other applicant, even those without a personal connection to the company. Only approach the subject with your superiors if you are asked directly- do not approach them directly with a plea for your friend to be hired. You want your friend to be hired on account of their own merits, not for whom they know at the company. You also want to demonstrate to your company that you understand and respect the ethics of business.

Gather the facts.

Be objective with yourself regarding your motive for referring this person. Make a list of your friend’s strengths and how they fit the job description. Know their job history and be prepared to provide a reference. Examine your support. Are you referring them because you enjoy their presence and think they would make a nice addition to the office atmosphere? Are you referring them because you know they offer the commitment and drive the company deserves? Answer the questions honestly.

Don’t hold back.

If you don’t think your friend will fit in to the company’s atmosphere, or will believe in the company philosophies and practices, don’t be afraid to suggest alternative options. Encourage your friend to explore all aspects of the company- from your personal perspective to published reviews. Remember that you have a biased perspective, and your friend should research if this is the best decision to make at this time in their life.

If you make a well informed decision on referring your friend for a job at your place of employment, you do not have to worry about risk. You can stand by your recommendation and watch your friend succeed in the workplace. You can worry less about your friend’s negative impact on your company’s perception on you, but the positive reflection the suggestion of a new and dedicated employee can have. If for some reason it is not to be, you will feel comfortable knowing that you thought logically throughout the application process and didn’t recommend your friend on a whim. You should also keep in mind that if it is not meant to be, that it is in no way whatsoever a reflection on your ability to do your job or function in your company. Do not let your friend’s experience (negative or positive) influence the way you feel about your job and your contribution to it.

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2 Responses

01.20.12

This is a great topic, and with today’s job search being more about WHO you know than what you know, this situation occurs all of the time. Even when just writing quick recommendations on LinkedIn, you have to be honest and factual in what you write, because the bottom line is your name is now attached to that friend’s performance expectations.

01.20.12

Excellent tip regarding posting recommendations on LinkedIn, Ken. Thanks for the feedback!

~ Ava

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