Jeff Swartz on the next big thing in media

Touching on everything and anything to do with media, advertising, and marketing

Jobs For Friends

The saying “it is not what you know, but who you know” circulates around a college campus like a merry-go-round. I always understood it to be true, but never thought about the negative possibilities for hiring your friend or a friend of a friend. I hold an on campus job right now where I bust my hump everyday I work. A friend and fraternity brother needed employment during the school year, so I put him in contact with my boss, and he was offered a job simply on my word that he would be as good of a worker as I have been for the company.

It has been a few months and I have never heard a good thing about my friend from my boss. I pick up the slack for him, he does not come in sometimes, and it seems like he does not even try. Thank goodness my boss is easy going and finds my friend’s work ethic humorous because he knows he has me to get the job done.

This is just a campus job though. What about when I start my career in advertising and have a thorn in my side like this? In Ogilvy’s book Ogilvy on Adverting he touched on this issue. If someone from another company wishes you to hire their son, daughter, friend, etc…then it probably is not worth the risk. If you have to fire or butt heads with the person you hired your relationship with the other company maybe hindered or even terminated. When it comes to your friends or friends of one’s employees/ co-workers, I believe that as long as they are qualified then it is fine to hire them. The only problem with this situation is that instead of hindering or terminating a relationship with a company it is personal relationships that are being damaged, but that’s only if work related problems arise.

My simple solution is to hire the person who fits into the company best, is most qualified, has the best work ethic, and will benefit the company most.


March 6, 2006 - Posted by | Diverse topics, Media 2.0

1 Comment »

  1. A tricky situation to be sure. It has to be handled with a frank discussion up front that this job recommendation or offer is not a free ride, and that the person coming in to work isn\’t just representing himself he\’s also going to be a reflection on the person who recommended/hired him. If that\’s clear and the person genuinely seems to have a good potential for the job, then go for it. If not then one\’s asking for trouble.

    The dynamics of choosing the right applicant are almost always tricky. Few jobs are black box affairs, where raw material goes in one door and some product comes out the other, so having someone who one can pleasantly work with is important. A technically-proficient person who doesn\’t mesh well with the rest of the staff is often a poor hire, while someone who may not be as impressive but fits the workplace dynamic better will be a better choice in the long run.

    Situations vary radically with the work and people involved of course, so hard and fast rules – however tempting – are likely going to be flawed.

    Comment by Mike Norton | March 7, 2006 | Reply

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