The Down Side of Networking

The Down Side of Networking

Networking for a Job
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When you are a boss, depending on the structure of the organization you work for, it is possible that you will be the person who hires new employees.  The advantage with doing your own hiring is you can bring in the kind of people you feel would be best for the company rather than having to take whoever your Personnel department sends you.  However, there is a down side to having the authority to hire your own people.  It never fails that someone you know will approach you with requests that you hire someone they know, frequently the person they want you to hire is a relative.  This is kind of a peer pressure that can be difficult to deal with.  It can be problematic regardless of whether it is a relative being recommended or not.

A previous boss I had was good friends with a woman from another department.  She asked him to hire her son.  He did.  Unfortunately the son was very much a mama’s boy.  He had no idea how to take responsibility for anything.  He didn’t take anything seriously.  He wasn’t used to having to follow rules and he sure wasn’t used to being expected to work.  It was a disaster.  Eventually he had to be fired.  From that day on my boss’ friend, the boy’s mother, never spoke another word to my boss.  She would pass him in the hallway and look straight through him as if he was invisible.

Networking is a good and valid way for a person to get a job but the person who is doing the hiring needs to be careful.  I prefer to stay completely away from entanglements like that but you don’t have to.  If a person meets all the requirements and gives a good interview you can give them a shot but before you ever get to that point you should make it absolutely clear to the one who is making the recommendation that the person they recommend will be treated just like everyone else.  Don’t think that will solve all the problems but it may help.

Like I said, I prefer to stay away from those types of entanglements but that’s not easy either.  I have even had someone from our Personnel department try to get me to disregard the minimum requirements I set for my area in an attempt to get me to hire a relative.  Someone from my Personnel department.  Someone who should know better than to do that.  I was very unhappy that the person was trying to get me to violate my business ethics.  It’s very difficult to stay firm with people you know and like but I highly recommend that you stick to your principles.  Backslide once and there will be more coming to you asking you to hire their friend, relative, partner, whatever.  Some of those recommended to you will be good.  Others will not be people who will fit into your business environment.  The people making the recommendation won’t see that.  All they will see is you “being a jerk”.

If you are new to being a boss and you know you will be hiring people I suggest you think about how you will handle people pressuring you to hire someone they know.  You may want to come up with a standard response.  Something like, Anyone is welcome to apply when there is an opening.  We will be looking at everyone’s qualifications and will pick the best person for the position.  Then I would change the subject.