Friend Recommendations: Three Questions to Ask Before Putting Yourself on the Line

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You might come across a situation where there’s a job opening at your office and you know a job-seeking friend who could use an extra boost in his or her job search. Whether you’re doing this out of the goodness of your heart, or your friend has dropped less-than-subtle hints about putting him or her on, you may want to push pause before dropping their name in the hat.

While putting in a good word for a friend may seem like a small favor in a tough market, it’s imperative to know that you’re also putting your credibility and reputation on the line. If the whole thing goes sour, you could damage your image as well as your friendship. It’s important to base your recommendation on your knowledge of your friend as a professional and not from a social aspect.

Etoulia Salas, an employee orientation program manager, provides suggested questions to consider before recommending a friend for a job. (Salas also reiterates that these are her own insights and do not reflect views, policies or guidelines of her company):

1. Is he or she qualified for the role?

Even though it can be hard to admit, sometimes you just know that your friend can’t do the job. Look at his or her resume and cross reference it with your own knowledge about the position. If he or she is hired and doesn’t perform well, it reflects poorly on you and your judgment.

2. How will my friend’s personality fit with the company and/or team dynamics and culture?

Even if your friend is qualified for the job, he or she may not be the right fit. Usually, this is even more important than a candidate’s capability. You have the ability to see the situation from both sides of the fence. Look at the manager, team and company culture. Would your friend get along with them? Would he or she thrive in that kind of work environment?

3. What is your friend’s end game?

Understand how this position fits into your friend’s long-term goals. Does he or she see it as a short-term role they would do for a year or less? If your friend is not seriously committed to the job, think twice about putting your own reputation on the line.

Jamie Harrison (@JayNHarrison) is an award-winning freelancer whose work has been featured on, and a number of Florida newspapers and publications. When she’s not reviewing restaurants and vacation spots, she’s writing about medical advances. She frequently writes about health and wellness, professional development, social issues and travel. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the great University of Florida. 

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