Hi, A collegue just resigned. The position is open. I thought of a friend I studied with for the position. I wish to help him prepare and apply. How should I proceed? Should I be open about my agenda and talk openly to the resigning collegue to know more about the job? Approach openly the hiring manager (3 levels above me)? Talk to HR? Or talk to no one and try and help the best I can with my current knowledge? Is there any best practice? Is there a related potcast or blog topic? Thank you Arno

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I think a lot of this depends on the environment you're in and the relationships you already have.

If you talk to HR I think that, unless your environment dictates otherwise, it would probably be best to keep it very factual and about the policies.  Maybe something like "Hi, couild you give me some advice please?  One of my colleagues has jusrt resigned and I think a friend of mine outside the company might be interested in the role.  Before I talk to him I just wanted to check if there are any restrictions or policies I need to be aware of.  Thanks."  Some public sector bodies and companies that supply them have to comply with equalities regulations.  This sometimes translates to very draconian policies of barring personal recommendations.  Other companies positively welcome personal recommendations and even have incentive schemes.

If you already have a relationship with the person who is leaving them, unless they are leaving under a cloud or there is a policy barring it, talking to them would probably be a good idea.  Presuming they're leaving for a better job then it would probably be best to approach them with congratulations on the new job then mention that you have a friend who might be interested and be a good fit, could you buy them lunch one day this/next week to get a better idea of the job so you'll know if this friend is a good fit.  Be prepared to say why you think this friend would be a good fit: "I know a big part of your job is selling toothpaste.  My friend has spent the last 5 years selling toothbrushes so obviously there's a lot of overlap of market there."

Talking to the hiring manager is a bit more tricky.  I'd say only do that if there is already some sort of relationship, or you think this might be a good opening step to a relationship and the colleague leaving will open the door for you, and once you've spoken to you friend with the information you've gathered and confirmed that they are interested.  Prime your friend with the information and make sure they know when you're goign to make the approach.  You want to be offering a warm lead so if the manager phones your friend there and then they'll get a response like "Thank you very much for calling me.  Yes I am very interested in applying for the role.  I think my 5 years selling toothbrushes, top sales growth per annum 4 years running, will stand me in good stead." rather than "Huh?  Who?"

One caveat, if you recommend your friend it will reflect on you.  If they do well all well and good.  If they mess up the interview, perform badly on the job or run off with the petty cash then you can expect some negative consequences for your self.






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arno7's picture

Hi again,

I never took the time to respond to your very thourough answer Stephen.

Thanks for the great tips. I actually went straight to my resigning colleague, with whom I have a pretty good relationship and simply told him about my friend. He replied that he agreed with the hiring manager, his boss, that he would be supporting the finding of a good candidate to replace him. And for that, he would be willing to meet informally any candidate to explain what the position requires and what it consists of. I then put my friend and the resigning colleague in contact and let them arrange an informal meeting.

I followed up and called my friend a couple weeks later.

Finally, he did not get an interview. He was probably too junior for the position. But anyway, I showed good will. I had helped a friend with an opportunity and helped my company get another resume.

Who knows, maybe he will be the one forwarding me a job post next time.

Thanks again.