6 Questions to Ask Before Referring Your Friend for a Job At Your Company

By Chelsea Babin

There’s an open position at your company and you think your friend might be a great fit! Whether or not your company has an existing referral program, you may be tempted to refer a friend for a position at your company because who doesn’t want to work with their friends? However, before you make the referral, make sure you ask yourself these six questions.

1. Have you shared enough about the opportunity? You want your friend to work at the same company you do but, if you haven’t shared enough information about the opportunity, they may not be a great fit for the position or they may not actually be interested in the position. You should make sure they have as much information about the opportunity as possible before you throw their name in the ring.

2. Would they be a good fit for the company culture and vise versa? The answer to this question can sometimes be difficult to find out, especially if you’ve never worked with your friend and don’t know what they’re like at work. However, do your best to assess whether or not your friend will be a good fit for the existing company culture and assess whether or not your friend will enjoy working in that company culture before making a referral. Otherwise, you may be making an employment match that results in disaster on one end or the other or worse, on both ends.

3. Why are they looking for work and how well do you know them? Obviously, you shouldn’t refer a friend for an open position unless they’re at least passively looking for work. But do you know why they’re looking for work? If their motivation is to get a shorter commute and your company is the same distance from their house, you’re wasting your time with the referral. However, if they’re looking for room to grow and a chance to work with up-to-date technology more often and that’s what your company offers, this referral could be a great idea! Additionally, you should ask yourself how well you know your friend before referring them. The person you have fun grabbing a beer with on the weekends isn’t always dedicated, qualified, or agreeable at work. If you’ve never seen them work or heard many of their work stories, it can be hard to tell if this referral is a good idea.

4. How could this referral affect your friendship? Your referral could help your friend get an interview faster and it may even help them get the job. On the other hand, if you let them know you’re referring them and the company still shows no interest, there could be a little bit of awkwardness in the future. Ask yourself how this referral might affect your friendship before you submit them for consideration. If the negatives outweigh the positives, a referral might not be in yours or their best interest.

5. Could you work directly with this person if you had to? One question you should definitely ask before referring a friend to the company you work for is whether or not you can see yourself working with them directly. Even if this position is in a different department you rarely or never interact with, future projects may mash the two of you together and have you collaborating. If this is someone you could see yourself easily working with in a professional manner, go ahead and make the referral!

6. What would happen to your friendship if it doesn’t work out? If the interview doesn’t work out or if the job itself doesn’t work out, what will happen to your friendship? While you can’t always predict how people will react in these situations, take some time to picture these worst-case scenarios and understand the implications it might have for your friendship. As long as you and your friend know the potential risks going in, you’ll know whether or not the referral is a good idea.

It’s always tempting to refer your friends for an open position at your company, especially if your company has a referral program with incentives! But, before you do, make sure you ask yourself these 6 questions. And, if you want a safer alternative that helps them get a job, you may want to consider referring them to your recruiter instead.

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