Why You Should Think Twice Before Referring “Friends” For a Job

July 4, 2012  |  

Not that I’m the owner of some profitable business or hold the key to improving the poor unemployment rate here in the U.S., but I’ve tried to be one of those people who, well, let’s just say, when I got put on, I would want to put others on too. I know how hard it can be in this economy to find a job, so for years, when I’ve felt like I made a good impression on the folks at my place of employment at that time, I’ve tried to put a good word in for others. People did it for me, so why not pay it forward?

Many times, I’ve been glad to see that my friends were able to get interviews if not jobs out of my word, and would go forth to be valuable employees. But there have been times where I’ve had my rep muddied by a fool I thought I was cool with who went on to became a less than stellar worker. While doing retail in college, I worked at Victoria’s Secret and its sister store, PINK. At the latter, I did particularly well, moving up the ranks from a regular associate selling bras and panties and overpriced sweats to becoming a go-to cashier and finally a bra stylist for the store before I left. What is a bra stylist? Well, that’s a snazzy way of saying that the undergarments the mannequins wear were picked out and paired by moi. Not too shabby, and I got the promotion after convincing enough people that they couldn’t just buy a bra and walk out of the store, they had to get the matching panty…and a cute v-neck top two for $21 to show it off.

And the $50 “matching” sweatpants.

Anywho, when I went back to school to finish my senior year, a “friend” who stayed back in my neighborhood while finishing school asked if I could put in a good word for her. She had a great sense of style and a colorful personality, so I did. It should have been no problem, but of course, one, if not many problems came about:. The biggest one? She was a s****y worker. Not only did she go MIA for numerous shifts, but when I asked about her through co-workers, they could barely remember her. Oh wait, that is until they remembered she was the chick who spent more time shopping than working, and who used our clothing discount when new collections would come in to stock up on stuff and then disappear. Seriously, she worked at my job for a few weeks, used the opportunity to get some sparkly hoodies and bounced.

Greeeeeeat.

My manager made sure to let me know that homegirl was a hot a** mess, and while she wasn’t mad about it, I told myself I would do more thorough background checks before I vouched for “friends” in the future.

You would think I would have learned my lesson, but even at my current job, I’ve put in a good word for people I considered friends that I knew from one season in my life or another. Some have proven to be amazing workers, but I’ve had one or two more turn out to be unreliable people who had me grabbing my collar and doing the Kanye shrug when by boss started asking where there stories were at. Because of that, I decided that if folks were going to work on my name, it was going to be because I love what they do, see their talents on my own and want to put a good word out for them, not because they ask since and think they’re going to use me to get some steady employment for a hot second. Folks have me messed up…

It’s a shame though, and I’m sure we all know that this happens often. What is supposed to be a great opportunity for someone ends up being a wasted one that can inevitably put your reputation in jeopardy or have everybody questioning your tastes in people and more. Because of that, I don’t do that mess for people anymore. But if you are thinking about doing it, I would say that you should pray on it, have a real conversation with that inquiring person about it, and ask yourself the following things first:

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