I think everyone has made friends in the workplace; it’s almost inevitable in a culture that spends more than 40 hours per week with the people *at* work. When you take into consideration the fact that we are hired not just for our skills but also to a great degree for a “cultural” fit. Just because you can do the job doesn’t mean you can necessarily get along with your co-workers and clients. So, based on these factors, it’s no wonder that people form friendships based on their work environment, and also why employee referrals are considered the #1 best form of new candidate generation for any organization and why many companies offer hefty referral bonuses. (I personally made over $3K at Amazon in employee referrals when I worked there; obviously a non-recruiting role as recruiters get paid for doing their jobs =)
But what about going the opposite way, and deciding to work *with* or *for* your social contacts and friends? This sort of arrangement has ruined many a good relationship, and it takes a very deep understanding on the side of both parties of their respective personalities, goals, communication styles and expectations to make such a relationship work.
For me, this has been amply demonstrated recently in several relationships I have. I joined Conquent because I know my style, personality and goals match the team and I trust that the business relationship will be enhanced by the trust and understanding we hold for each other.
Conversely, recently a friend of mine that owns a small business asked for my help. She sent me an email a few weeks ago, asking if I had any technical Project Manager resumes to fill a contract she had with a major global consulting client. I sent her two that I had just been referred to, but they didn’t have the skill set the client needed. So, she called me and rattled off a few key skills that were necessary and a two sentence blurb on the role and the team. So I crafted a short job description and sent it to my network, got several responses and sent them on to her. She shortlisted them based on their skills, and spoke to one of them in depth, but didn’t screen the other top candidate.
She set up interviews with the client team. Unfortunately, the candidate she didn’t screen didn’t do well. The other candidate was a better fit technically, but wasn’t quite right from a team fit perspective. My friend called me up very upset, telling me that I hadn’t done what I had said I would. She had assumed that I was giving her pre-qualified, fully screened professionals. I misconstrued her request for a short favor. It has put a strain on her relationship, but hopefully both of us have learned our lesson about communication and expectations.
Recruiting is an intense, multi-faceted discipline. Many people think that recruiters just get a job description, slap it on a few job boards and wait for the resumes to roll in. Pick the top 3-5, interview them and make an offer, DONE. There is much more to the job than that, and although the lifecycle of recruiting is fairly standardized, the individual methods and styles vary greatly. Add to that specialized knowledge for various industries such as healthcare, IT, academics, government, legal, non-profit and any other highly evolved niche, and it becomes apparent that it isn’t “just” about finding a few candidates.
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