Everyone wants to help out a friend and referring one of your friends to your employer has the potential added bonus of working alongside someone you like personally.
However, you should know that referring a friend can go one of two ways. Your friend could do a great job and fit perfectly into your company culture, reflecting well on you in the process. Or, your friend could be horrible to work with, making you look bad by extension.
Therefore, you shouldn’t take the decision to refer a friend lightly. Consider the following:
How close are you?
If you’re putting your reputation at stake, it’s a solid idea to think about who you’re doing it for. The closer your friendship, the more reasonable it is to take a chance. We tend to have a good idea what our close friends are like during difficult or challenging situations, which they will likely face if they are hired.
If you don’t know how your friend handles adversity, you may want to think twice about a referral.
Would they be a good fit?
You should feel comfortable referring even a casual acquaintance if you’re sure that they are a perfect fit for the job.
Spend some time actually reading the job description and even speaking with the potential manager so you can get a solid feel for what the ideal candidate looks like. Then, ask your friend about his or her qualifications to determine if they are a good fit for the job.
It’s also important to consider if your friend’s personality would be a good fit with the current team. For instance, if your friend is meticulous and passionate about detail, he or she may not be a good fit with a team of laid-back personalities.
Have past referrals worked out?
If you have referred people in the past, you should consider how those referrals panned out. Those with a bad track record of referrals should probably quit while they are behind, while those with a good track record should feel comfortable taking another chance on someone they know.
Can you work with this person?
Many of us have crazy friends. They’re fun to play recreational games with or go grab a beer with, but they may be a nightmare in professional settings. Maybe they’d share embarrassing stories about you, or constantly slack off and ask you to cover for them.
You need to think long and hard about how it might be to actually work together with this friend.
Will your friendship survive if things don’t work out?
While there are professional consequences to consider if your friend referral doesn’t work, there are also personal ramifications. A good, healthy friendship should survive regardless of the outcome. However, a friendship built on convenience or necessity could be seriously damaged.