We all agree that today’s job market can be tough. Nearly all of us have gone through grueling months of applications, interviews, and networking for the sake of our careers. And we all have friends who have faced the same job hunting struggles. Naturally, we want to help each other out where we can: We give our friends a heads up when we see a job listing that fits their background, and give each other honest feedback on our cover letters, resumes, and interview questions.
When you already have a job, can you help even more? Should you help a sister out and recommend her to the hiring managers at your company? We care for our friends, yet it’s important to take a step back to recognize when someone is a good fit for a position or an organization, and vice versa. Here’s how you can assess the situation and determine how you can help your friend land a job.
Do Your Friend’s Qualifications Match the Position and Organization?
The first thing you need to consider is how your friend’s resume lines up with the available position or your company overall. Does your friend have experience in the industry? Consider whether your friend would actually be a good match for your organization. This is important for two major reasons:
First, if your friend is not a good fit – in terms of experience, expectations, or working style – it may be a tough job for her if she does get hired. She may not enjoy the position or do well if it’s the wrong job for her. This could ultimately lead to her resigning or being let go.
Second, if she’s not a good fit, your recommendation may make you look bad. It’s no laughing matter to suggest a candidate for a position knowing she’s not a good fit. It can result in you appearing to not take your job seriously. Consider the impact hiring her will have on the organization and on your friend.
Will Working Together Strengthen Your Friendship… Or Tear it Apart?
Another issue to consider is the compatibility of your working styles. Assuming your friend, if hired, will work in your department, how will this new environment affect your relationship?
Unfortunately, no matter how well you may get along as friends, working relationships can bring out some characteristics that don’t jive. You may have very different working styles in terms of communication, task management, or attention to detail. You may very well have disagreements about how certain work gets done.
Because there’s already a personal relationship, it can be difficult to work together professionally. If and when you do have workplace disagreements, try not to let them bleed into your personal lives outside the office.
Some friends – or family members – work very well together. This new professional context may strengthen your relationship as you get to spend more time together and share workplace stories. On the other hand, if working together proves difficult, just remember that your professional life doesn’t need to affect your personal life or friendship.
How You Can Help
If you are certain your friend will be a good fit for the company, how can you help her get a job there?
You may want to keep track of current job openings. If you see a position that makes sense for her, speak to the person in charge of hiring. You can mention that you know a person who would be a great fit for the position, and pass along her resume and contact information. Your recommendation can have a huge influence, and your co-worker may appreciate your help. Some companies even offer an incentive if you recommend an individual who ends up being hired. It can be a win-win situation.
If there aren’t any current openings, you may be so bold as to recommend her anyway. Your company may keep her resume on hand in case a position does open up. As unlikely as it may seem, they may even create a new position that she can fill. Don’t be afraid to ask, especially if you’ve been at your company for a while and have performed well in your job duties. They’ll likely trust your judgment.
However, don’t be discouraged if your friend is not hired. Your recommendation and good word can only go so far. At least you tried, and in the meantime, your friend may find some other prospects that lead to a job.
These are all important points to consider when helping your friend find a job. If she’s a good fit for your company, then by all means, see how you can influence her potential hire there. But if she’s not the right fit, or is ultimately passed over in the interviewing process, support her in the continuing job search. You can’t work career magic, but you can always proofread her application materials, alert her to job prospects, practice mock interviews, and buy her a coffee from time to time. With any luck, your friend will find a great job in no time!
Amanda Whitbeck is Vice President of Operations at Petite2Queen. Since earning her master’s degree in Global Entertainment & Music Business from Berklee College of Music, Amanda has played key roles facilitating growth at start-ups. She’s also worked in diverse sectors of the music industry, from live events promotion to entertainment journalism. She brings her expertise in music business, writing, and website development to Petite2Queen.