To work with your relatives…or not

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September 8, 2009
For the last 6 months I have been lucky enough to be able to participate as a guest speaker on WIBC‘s Morning Show with hosts Terri Stacy, Big Joe Staysniak, and producer Dan McGowan.   My most recent engagement yesterday involved a discussion around hiring and/or referring family members and friends.  Check it out by clicking on the following link:; then go to the "Audio" section and click on "Sep. 3 – To work with your relatives…or not." 

I’ve had some other random thoughts on the topic since yesterday morning’s show (at 6:30am I might add)!

  • Know why you are referring that person.  (Whether it is for a particular position or just in general.)  Remember, your reputation is on the line more than anyone else involved, so make sure you are referring them for a solid reason besides just trying to help that person in the job search.  You are not doing them (or yourself) any favors by submitting them for a position or company for which you know they aren’t a fit. 
  • Set clear expectations for the person you are referring and don’t promise anything!  You don’t want them to think that they are guaranteed a position just because they were referred by you.
  • Make sure that they are prepared for the interview (if they get one), but don’t coach them to the point to where they sound rehearsed.  
  • Ask that your family member/friend not rely on their relationship to you in the interview.  It needs to be their own experience and an accurate presentation of who they are.
  • If you submit your family member/friend through an online referral system, make sure that you follow up with someone (HR, the hiring manager, etc.) to really explain to them why you think that they would be a good fit for the organization and/or position. 

Referrals are a great way for companies (especially Indianapolis staffing firms like ours) to attract and hire great talent, so they take their referral programs very seriously.  So if you know of someone that is in the Indianapolis job search and you are considering referring them to your company, make sure you follow the above guidelines so that you don’t jeopardize your reputation with the company and/or your relationship with your family member or friend.