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Referring a Friend for a Job? First, Consider This

Referring a Friend for a Job? First, Consider This

The employment referral process may seem simple on the surface, but it holds some serious consequences if mishandled, including damage to your professional reputation

In a competitive market for certain highly skilled IT professionals, many companies are turning to employees for help filling open positions with the right candidate. The employment referral process may seem simple on the surface: You recommend someone you know for a job opening at your company, sometimes leading to a handsome bonus if the person is hired. But the process holds some serious consequences if it's mishandled, including damage to your professional reputation.

If you're thinking of making a referral, here are some common mistakes to avoid.

Sticking to Close Contacts

It's counterintuitive, right? You want to recommend people you know well, like family members and friends. But keep in mind that these personal relationships can suffer if you don't get along at work. You may love the fact that your old college roommate shares an interest in Linux, but if he becomes a coworker and then endlessly pressures you to talk to management about implementing it at your firm, you may find his passion less appealing. Be certain that someone would be a good employee and colleague before making the referral.

Also, keep in mind that if you consider only close contacts and don't tap into your entire network, you may overlook great potential candidates. Start by identifying the people who seem like the best fit for the job, not the ones you like the most or who have the greatest need for a new position.

Making Blind Referrals

No matter how well you think you know a person, make sure you've done your homework before making a referral. Find out as much as you can about his or her background, preferences and abilities. Then be as candid as possible about what it's like to work at the company. This will help you better gauge whether the individual is truly suited for the job opportunity and work environment.

Don't feel pressured to refer someone just because the two of you discussed an open position or because an acquaintance asked you to pass his resume to a hiring manager you know. Remember, your reputation is on the line. If you recommend individuals who are unqualified, leave bad impressions during interviews or don't get the job done after they've been hired, it may appear that you don't respect the referral process.

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