Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What to Consider before Recommending a Friend to Work with you

The holidays make most everyone feel more generous and giving. While it is easy to empathize with a job seeker who asks you for help, you need to remember that when you recommend a friend, colleague, or someone in your network you are putting your own reputation on the line. To avoid the potential for backlash on your own career, consider these areas before offering a personal recommendation for someone to work in your company.

Work History
We often know our friends from a purely social perspective. However, ask yourself what you know about their employment history, previous performance, and work ethic. I have a friend who is one of the nicest people I know. He is kindhearted, generous, and very personable. However, when I sat down and evaluated his employment history, there were a lot of red flags in his past. I may think twice before giving him a personal recommendation.

Unless you have worked with someone previously, it is difficult to know how their personality will manifest itself in a work environment. Try to assess your friend’s goals and work style to determine, in advance, whether or not they would be a fit for the job they are seeking.

Future Working Relationship
Working together has the potential to seriously damage a relationship. What happens to your carefully cultivated professional reputation if your newly hired friend begins telling stories about you as a geeky high school kid? What happens if down the road one of you has to manage the other, or terminate the other person? Before you recommend a friend to work in the same company with you, lay down clearly defined boundaries and rules that clarify your work and personal relationships.

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