Could Referring Your Friend Hurt Your Career? What You Must Ask Yourself Before You Endorse

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Personal connections matter for job seekers, and employee referrals have shown to increase the chances of being hired by nearly 300%. It’s no wonder that you have friends, former colleagues, and even family members asking for referrals for job openings at your company. Being the nice person you are, you want to help these people land their dream job. Before you do, though, it’s important to consider how an endorsement may affect you and your standing. Before you endorse, ask yourself the following questions:

Would They be a Good Fit for the Role and Culture?

Companies may be willing to ignore a small skills gap and workplace experience if you give a glowing endorsement, but presenting someone who is utterly under qualified may raise some eyebrows. For the sake of all involved, you should only recommend someone if they are right for both the role and the workplace culture. Do their skills match those outlined in the job description? Can they thrive in the pace of work and the personality within the office? If you have doubts regarding how they would fit, it’s best to politely say that they should look for other opportunities.

Could You See Yourself Working Well With This Person?

Just because you are friends with someone doesn’t mean you necessarily would want to work with them. One of the most important questions you should ask yourself when considering a referral is if you actually would want to work alongside the person. Could you trust them in a pinch and treat them like any other coworker? This is especially important if you are going to have a senior position over them where you might need to coach them. Also, on a social level, do you want to spend your lunch with them, because at least for the first few weeks, you will be their BFF at work.

How Could This Endorsement Affect Your Professional Life?

There are some definite upsides to referring a candidate who gets hired (bonuses, attention, and reputation), but what happens if things go poorly? Maybe the interview was a disaster, or, even worse, they are hired and fizzle out within the first week. Putting your name behind an endorsement can be risky, especially if your word is one of the main reasons they were hired. It’s one thing if your referral gets their resume read, but if you are using your clout to schedule an interview, be sure that you are willing to put your name and reputation behind the candidate.

If Things Don’t Work Out, How Could This Affect Your Relationship With The Person?

Could a referral cost you a friend or alienate a family member? It’s important that the person you are referring knows that you are simply getting their resume to the decision maker, and that there are no promises that they will even get a call back.

How to Gracefully Refuse to Endorse

It’s hard to tell a friend or family member no, but one effective strategy is to give them a reason this isn’t a good fit and then give them an alternative way that you can help. For instance, if they’re not qualified, you could tell them, “I know they’re very serious about only considering candidates with (list skills your friend doesn’t have). What you should do, though, is try AppleOne. They helped me with my career search, and I’m sure they could help you find a job that you are better qualified for. Would you like me to send you my hiring advisor’s contact information or forward your resume to them for you?”

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