So you have established yourself a fantastic reputation at your workplace. You worked your way up on your own merit, maybe starting off at the very bottom as a school or college leaver, knuckling down and putting everything you can into furthering your career. You are well respected, so much so, that your opinion is asked when it comes to hiring someone new. Now you know a friend of yours, who has the basic skills needed, is out of work, but seeking employment and would be able to start more or less straight away. Think about how welcoming and peaceful the office will feel with two great friends working together, what an amiable atmosphere this will be, right?
- You have never actually worked with your friend before, have you? You may be brilliant friends, but being friends and being colleagues is a whole different kettle of fish. In your place of work you are expected to be professional and hardworking and to spend your time – that you are being paid for by your employers – doing the work that your employers want you to do. It will not be helpful to you having a pal there who wants to catch up on the latest gossip and have a laugh.
- You don’t know how capable your friend will be of doing the job, well unless you have worked together before, of course. You may have gone to the same school or college so you know your pal has a certain degree or numeracy or literacy but will they be as competent as they need to be for the position? Will they be as conscientious and committed as you? Might they even be a little bit lazy? That awful momeny when you realise you are carrying the can for them, might be the time to smack yourself on the forehead and wonder what the hell you have done.
- You conduct yourself in a completely professional manner. You know how hard you have worked to get to where you are now. You value your job, have good relationships with everyone there and would never do anything to tarnish your reputation. Your friend, however, probably doesn’t get that. He or she is just looking at it as an easy way of getting a job, they might even be thinking of it as a stop-gap until they find something better. Their degree of professionalism is not going to be anywhere near as high as yours.
- It might make you forget how much you value your job. It is easy to be swayed by what someone else is doing. If the office is empty, apart from the two of you, it may seem like fun to have swivel chair races, to see what happens when you spin your chairs round and whizz around the office. Yes it is hilarious and feels wonderful to laugh so much your sides hurt. BUT when it is your responsibility to answer the phone, it is not professional to be laughing so hysterically you can hardly speak, with the sound of a hyena in labour in the background.
- Inevitably your friend will probably leave. They may not even go through the expected formalities – after all they didn’t get the job in the conventional way in the first place. So they may just disappear or decide they can’t be bothered anymore. Ultimately when this happens you will have the embarrassment of knowing you recommended them in the first place. You will also have to rectify any mistakes they may have made. Consequently you will be back to square one and have to advertise for a new colleague. You will have the misfortune of knowing that everything that has gone wrong is all your fault. You will look back on it as being a series of unfortunate events and experiencing the fact that hindsight is not the best feeling in the world.
In my opinion it is better to go through the correct channels, full stop. You know what they say – never mix business with pleasure.