Here at Bond Williams, we know that your friends can be the easiest people to network with and potentially help you find a new job, which is why we operate a ‘Recommend a Friend‘ scheme. However, it can be a challenge not to upset the delicate balance between friendship and professional working relationships by making mistakes that leave you both burned.
Here are things to avoid when asking your friends for networking favours.
Certain friends might have a lot of knowledge or know a lot of people that you would love to know. That doesn’t mean that you can or should constantly ask them to share that knowledge or those connections with you. Continuously asking for help will quickly dry up your friendship, especially if you’re not willing to help them in return.
If you’ve asked your friend for a favour within the last few weeks, then try and hold off. Damaging your relationship with them is probably worse than delaying whatever you need information or an introduction for. Be considerate of them and their time. They have their own lives and their own careers.
All work, no play
When spending time socially with a friend, don’t charge right into what you want or need. It can come across incredibly rude and demeaning to be asked to go out for a drink, and then find out that there is a hidden agenda. Spend time reconnecting with your friend and enjoying being with them. You can and will ask that burning question eventually. Don’t sabotage your efforts – and potentially your friendship – by doing so too early.
Some people would say that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. However, there are some that definitely show an element of ignorance. If you haven’t worked with your friend in a professional capacity or share colleagues and professional connections, then don’t ask them to be a reference. They don’t know if you really are a good employee, if you deliver on time, or if you would do well in a particular role. This puts them in a difficult position too – having to say no to you. Character references might be acceptable or ask for their help in other ways, like proofing your CV.
If your friend feels uncomfortable about introducing you to a connection or providing a reference, be sensitive to that. You don’t want them to do something they would feel uncomfortable doing, for whatever reason. It’s probably not personal. You don’t want to pressure them into compromising their career by helping you get ahead in yours. Be aware of subtle body language that can give you a hint, and be willing to give them an easy out so that they don’t feel like they’re offending you.
Your friends can be a great help in your job search or even if you’re settled in your career. Just ensure you treat them as a friend first and not a route to others or opportunities.
Claire has almost 25 years Recruitment experience. A specialist in the regional recruitment marketplace, Claire has extensive local knowledge and holds a reputation for quality, integrity, honesty and excellent matching. Heading up the HR and Office & Commercial Divisions of Bond Williams. Claire is responsible for the overall growth and …