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Things to consider before referring a friend for a job

By Jana Angeles | 05 July 2019

If you have a friend who’s in-between jobs, or isn’t loving the role they’re in right now, they may have tapped you on the shoulder and asked: “Could you please keep your eyes open for any job opportunities?”. 

While you want to help out your friend, there are things you should consider before you refer them to a career opportunity at the company you work for (or own). 

Pros of working with friends

There are many pros when it comes to working with friends, and if things go well, they can be a great professional who happens to be on the same page as you when it comes to work ethic, drive and motivation. 

Here are some pros that come with working with friends:
  • You can trust them because you have a solid foundation due to your history.
  • You know they get along with all kinds of people when others get to know them.
  • You are aware of how hard they work and what motivates them.
  • If you get into business together, they may share the same determination and passion for what your company stands for.

Cons of working with friends

While there are great upsides to working with friends, you may not be aware of how they are as an employee or business partner. They may be a great friend with a lot of wonderful qualities, but when it comes to work, they just aren’t suitable for the role. 

Here are some cons that you may come across when you work with friends:
  • They may take advantage of the opportunity. For e.g, you may have hired them as a business partner but they think they have automatic privilege of taking longer breaks than necessary.
  • They are just not right for the role, which could impact your credibility within the workplace.
  • Raising issues with them may cause fights, which can be tricky if you have built a business together.
  • It’s a challenge to set work boundaries because of your history with each other.
While there are pros and cons when it comes to working with friends, it’s important to not write off the idea when it comes to referring your friend for a job. There are some considerations you need to factor in before you decide to take the plunge and consider if you want to work with a friend and how this will affect your existing work life.

4 things to consider before referring a friend for a job 

  1. Do they know what the role involves?
  2. Are they a risky hire?
  3. Is this the type of job they want?
  4. Are you aware of their work habits?

1. Do they know what the role involves?

You may have quickly briefed your friend in passing about the role opening within your company or the one you’re already working for. They love the idea of the opportunity, but are they aware of the responsibilities that come with it?

Before you start “putting in a good word” for your friend, you may want to send them the advertised role if it’s on a job search engine like Seek or Indeed, or see if their skills and experience are relevant for the role. 

The last thing you want is for your friend to sign up for a job where they have no clue what their main responsibilities are. Not only should they be well-suited for the role, but they should also at least like what the work involves. It shouldn’t matter if the position is full-time or part-time, one of the first things your friend should have access to is the full job description.

2. Are they a risky hire?

employee leaving

They may have been terminated from their role, or perhaps they had a personality clash with their last employer, so being aware of their work history can help determine whether they are a risky hire or not. 

Senior talent acquisition partner at Glassdoor, Jamie Hitchens says it can be risky to work with your friend if you haven’t seen them in a professional setting. She says, “The consequences are that it could not only affect your friendship for the worse but could potentially damage your credibility at work if your friend turns out to not be a good fit for the position and company.” 

It’s important to consider what could happen if your friend turns out to be someone that doesn’t fit well within the company. It could turn into an awkward situation where your employer no longer trusts your candidate referrals because the friend who you vouched for turned into a bad hire

While you may be doing your friend a favour, it could easily backfire if you’re not already aware of their work ethic and drive when it comes to a particular job.

3. Is this the type of job they want?

If your friend has been unemployed for a while and is looking for a position where they can pay for their bills, or they are just taking the role until they find something that aligns with their career goals, they may not be the best candidate for the role, especially if your company is looking to improve employee retention.

Having a good discussion with your friend about their career goals and what motivates them is important. Not only will this give you an indication of how they will perform in their role, it shows that they can be trusted. 

An honest conversation about the role with your friend can make a huge difference, and can even encourage you to make the referral right away if you know your friend will go the extra mile if given the opportunity.

Hitchens says, “If [you] truly know your friend is going to bring their A-game to the role, and if the two of you have had an honest conversation about what this could potentially do to your friendship if it ended up not being a fit, “then you should refer them.”

4. Are you aware of their work habits?

woman taking coffee break

Working the 9-5 slog can be a challenge for some, especially for those who don’t have long attention spans. Your friend may have a bad habit of always checking social media every 30 minutes to see what’s happening on the news, or perhaps they have had the luxury of taking long-extended coffee breaks. 

You may need to set the tone for your friend and give them a heads up on the type of company culture they will be part of. You may be part of a corporate company where things are less relaxed and multiple deadlines need to be met to fulfill certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), so a “relaxed” environment may be outside of their expectations.

If you already have a solid foundation with your friend and are aware of their habits that may affect their performance, do tell them what the set expectations are and how these habits of theirs may not work well in such an environment. The last thing you want is to refer them to a job that they are unprepared for.

Does your friend need to upskill for their dream career?

Upskilled has a great range of online courses and most can be completed within 12 months. Since they are completely online, you can balance both work and personal commitments. 

You can even take up a course together with your friend, bouncing off ideas when it comes to your assessments and support each other’s goals when it comes to your studies. So, what are you waiting for? Take the plunge and start your course search today. 
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