WWYD: The Referral

In this installment of “What Would You Do?,” a friend asks another friend for a job referral.

The company I work for is doing really well and is expanding its operations. My boss asked all the employees to reach into our networks to see if we knew anyone who wanted to join our team, so I posted on Facebook that our company was hiring, and that anyone who would be interested should get in touch with me for details.

One of the people who messaged me was this guy I knew in college, and he’s been unemployed for a while. He’s notoriously late and unreliable (and was fired from his last job for being late and unreliable), and honestly, I don’t think he’d be a good fit for the job. I waffled on whether or not I should give him the information, but felt like I had no other choice. He said he was going to mention me when applying for the job, and now I’m worried it’ll reflect poorly on me if he gets the job and is really bad at it. — C.

The first thing I would have done would have been to not post that job opening on Facebook. I would have thought about people I knew who might have been a good fit for whatever jobs were opening up, and reached out to them directly. I see the crowdsourcing value in a Facebook post, but it can also create a touchy situation like the one you’re in now.

When I was in college, someone I met in study group told me she was applying for a job on campus and since I was already working at said job, she asked me if she could mention that she knew me in her cover letter. I said yes. Later, when my supervisors asked me if I would recommend her, I told the truth: That I didn’t really know her that well outside of class, and that they should just choose the applicant they felt was the best for the job. She didn’t get the job, but things worked out—she mentioned later to me that she found another job off campus.

So if I were C., and my boss came up to me to ask about this guy, I would just tell the truth. I wouldn’t throw him under the bus, but I would say something like, “I know him from college, but am unsure if he’d be the right fit. I’ll leave it up to your discretion.” Hopefully, this boss will be able to root out the issues during the interview process.


Email me your WWYD experiences to me with “WWYD” in the subject line. See previous installments.




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