What to Know Before You Refer Someone for a Job


What to Know Before You Refer Someone for a Job

If you are an employer or have landed a good job in a great organization, rest assured that you will be getting quite a few requests for job referrals. It can be anyone from among your friends and family to an employee who recently left your organization.

Whatever may be the case, job referrals can be tricky to maneuver through and require deliberation because your own reputation is at stake. Here are the five most important points to keep in mind before referring someone for a job.

  1. Know the person well.

It is extremely important to know the person you are referring to for the job. This includes having a clear idea about their dominant behavioral characteristics, technical expertise, as well as why they are leaving their current job or what they did while being unemployed (from a professional perspective).

  • Clarify beforehand.

After doing the initial thorough research, if you come to the conclusion that you do not want to refer the person in question – clarify from the get-go so that the said person does not attach any hopes and expectations.

It may be difficult, especially if the referral request is from a friend or family member, but this is important to avoid any sudden call for a referral from a potential employer when you are not prepared.

  • Do not get yourself in trouble.

Sometimes, as a former boss, you may not have been happy with the behavior of an employee who has now requested a referral. Even if you have any grudge or personal bias toward this person, do not provide any unsubstantiated opinions.

Defamation is highly looked down upon and can backfire. Therefore, it is best to refrain from saying anything that you do not fully know to be true about the person (even if it is not necessarily something negative).

  • Be Objective.

Honesty is the best policy. However, in some cases, you may find it difficult to be completely honest about the person because they are close to you, or being honest will make the referral very negative.

The best approach, in this case, is to stick to facts and give as many examples as possible of observable good/ bad behavior or performance you have witnessed.

  • Seek help when unsure.

If you still feel unsure about what to say when referring someone for a key position (or to refer at all), especially when your own image is greatly at stake, seek help. You can talk to a senior professional for tips or take advice from an employment law attorney.

This will help you gain clarity in whether to move forward with the referral request, how to avoid it, or what to say.

Once you have entered your professional life or are a few years into it, it is common to expect requests for referrals. What is important to keep in mind is that you think through the 5 major points presented above before rushing into providing a referral or when skeptical about giving one. Remember, your own credibility and reputation are always at stake.

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