What Are Friends For?

An interesting study on the how friendship can play into finding out about potential jobs found that, most of the times, people don’t refer their friends for jobs. In fact, it is generally the people that you don’t have close ties to that will refer you for a job.

According to Sandra Smith, who works as an Associate Professor in Berkeley’s Sociology department, this could be because, “1) they are more worried that it will reflect badly on them if it doesn’t work out; and 2) they are more likely to know of the warts and foibles of their close friends and believe these could interfere with being a good worker (e.g., Jim stays up late to watch sports, or Charles has too much of an attitude, or Jane is too involved with her sick father).  Weak friends one can more easily project good attributes onto and believe this will work out.”

Although the above reasons are practical and well thought out- what happened to sticking your neck out for someone you care about? Isn’t that what friendship is all about, showing generosity?

What do you think? Have you had experiences with this in the job search process?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Comments (2)

  1. Hi Steve,

    Yes- I definitely agree. Being generous is a great way to show people that you care and transitioning between jobs is the perfect time to do this. When else do you have that much free time?

    Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. I find that the reason friends don’t refer is because you
    ASK them and put them in a bad spot. Kind of like going into a store and the clerk asking “Can I help You”! I think it is a good idea to SEEK to help your friends while you are in transition. You have the time so help them! Then when they ask how you are doing mention to them PRECISELY what you are looking for. Don’t ask for direct help just what you are seeking. That way if they see what you are looking for they will push it for you.
    Get away from asking them to get you a job at their place of work!!!!


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