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Should you recommend a friend for a job?

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in Office Politics,Workplace Communication

You have a friend who’s looking for a job and your company has an open position. You think she would be a good fit, but you wonder if this is one of those good deeds that’s unlikely to go unpunished.

That’s what one reader asked recently on the Admin Pro Forum. “Sometimes people don’t work out, and this could reflect on me. Am I being selfish, or am I justified in hesitating to commit myself to her cause?” — Jen, email marketing representative

Readers offered their opinions on the issue.

Even if you recommend someone for a position at your company, in the end it’s the hiring manager’s responsibility to thoroughly evaluate her qualifications and determine whether she’s the right person for the job, several readers pointed out.

“I base any recommendation (­family/friend/acquaintance) on basic facts,” said Lin. “I will state in an email or letter that yes, I know the person and that I am aware of her application for the position. I also state that my intent is to bring the person’s name to their attention among all the candidates they are currently reviewing.”

You should also consider the context in which you know the friend you’re considering recommending, said Anne. “A friend is usually someone you do not interact with in the workplace and therefore as much as you would like to think this person would work out well, many times it just doesn’t happen that way,” she explained. “I, personally, would be cautious in doing this.”

Vickie, though, took a hardline stance against recommending anyone for a job, saying, “I never recommend anyone for jobs because what if they do not work out? I do not want their problems to reflect on me as a person.”

Although it may feel safer to avoid ever recommending anyone, Mia reminded Jen that in today’s job market it’s not always what you know, but who you know that determines whether you get hired, so it may be better for your career to treat job-seeking friends the way you’d like to be treated if you were in their shoes.

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