4 things to consider before getting your friend a job at your place of work
Your friend Bob is obsessed with the Food Network’s show Chopped and has decided he wants nothing more than to become a chef. Because you’ve been working there for several years, he asks you to refer him for the prep chef position that just opened up at one of the area’s most popular restaurants. Despite his lackluster cooking and abysmally messy kitchen, you go ahead and pass his name along. By some miracle of chance, he actually ends up with the job and you feel like a great friend. At least until he singlehandedly manages to infect hundreds of diners with norovirus after failing to wash his hands on a busy Saturday night on the line. Oops. That’s the end of Bob’s cooking career and after an angry comment or two from your boss, you now feel like he regrets ever hiring you as well.
While not all referrals result in nightmarish situations like the one described above, there are a few things you should consider before recommending anyone—friend, family or foe—for a position at your place of work. If you fail to do so, you may find your professional reputation tarnished or relationship destroyed. On the other hand, make a great hiring suggestion, and it may have exactly the opposite result.
1. Consider what you know about your friend’s skills and past work performance
Are you confident Sarah can check every box on your hotel employer’s job seeker wish list? Does Mark already have a background in bartending or a history of picking up new skills quickly and efficiently? Do Janet’s current employers love her contributions at Resort XYZ (as evidenced by the glowing reviews they’ve provided her on LinkedIn) or have you worked with her in the past and seen firsthand the commitment she’s made to hospitality? If you can answer yes to these questions—or others like them—then getting your friend a job at your place of work may actually help, rather than hinder, your own career.
2. Consider any shortcomings your friend may have
Maybe, like Bob, your friend is dreaming about a job for which he’s just not suited. Perhaps you’re aware that Margaret was fired from her last two positions for insubordination. Or it could be that you’ve heard John complain too many times about how much he hates working in hospitality to feel comfortable referring him for another customer service job in the industry—only this time at the hotel for which you work as well. If you have a legitimate reason to believe your friend is not qualified for the job, will behave unprofessionally or otherwise make you regret your referral, don’t give it.
3. Consider whether or not you actually like your own job
Sure, it delivers a steady paycheck. But while you love the hospitality industry, you haven’t truly been happy at Restaurant ABC since the new manager came on board. If you’re thinking about looking for a new position of your own because your employer is difficult to work for, the culture has become toxic, or the organization is in financial difficulty, you probably shouldn’t get your friend a job there, either.
4. Consider how much you value your friendship
While helping your friend get a job is usually a kind, caring gesture, there are some situations in which working together could do more harm than good to your relationship. For example, let’s say Robin wants you to help her get a job working at the front desk of Hotel XYZ. You’re the front desk supervisor, so she’ll actually be reporting to you. If she gets the position, you’ll no longer be able to have the same kind of friendship you had before. Even if you’re not in a position where she’ll have to report to you, working side by side in the same department could also put a strain on your relationship.
If you decide it’s best not to refer your friend for a position with your employer, you’ll have to navigate the situation with some delicacy. While honesty is usually the best policy, you don’t need to be brutal about it. If your main concern is the damage it could do to your friendship, make that the focus of your conversation. No matter how much your friend needs a job, it’s unlikely he or she will want to risk what you have together for a paycheck.
And if your concern is of a professional nature—such as his lack of skill or her issues with past performance—you can offer suggestions for improvement and promise to reconsider if another job comes up. If you don’t think your friend will handle that approach well, you can always agree to pass along a resume but make it clear that you won’t be speaking on his or her behalf or getting involved in the selection process.