How Well do Your Friends Know Their Friends?

Your friend recommends their friend for a high-level position.

It’s not that uncommon. Most of us find positions through our network.

The wisdom of this seems obvious. Hiring a referral from a friend means that they come highly recommended. Your friend wouldn’t recommend a loser, right? They’d know if they had a criminal record, or if they had a habit of weekend benders.

Another benefit? You save on executive search fees, and save the time you’d normally take to thoroughly vet a potential hire.

But, dig a little deeper. How much time and money are you really saving? Likely not as much as you think.


Certainly you have a good friend. But what qualifies them to suggest a key member of your staff?

Your friend can’t and shouldn’t know all of the objectives you’re hiring for. Nor do they know who their friend is in every situation. How does their friend handle workplace challenges? How do they handle conflict? How do they handle taking on big projects? How do they work in a team? Are they a born leader? Or a stickler for the rules? Do they have a fire in their belly? Are they a natural born innovator?

Maybe they know some of these things. Rarely have they observed enough about their friend to know how they’d be in the workplace, particularly in leadership positions when they will likely have to perform with some grace under pressure.

We know a thing or two about sourcing the right fit, and we know about discretion. Most importantly, we know about objectivity.