How to get a friend hired at your company

How to get a friend hired at your company


I went to work as an engineer at a company when it was quite small. Then it got taken over by a large company that got swallowed by another company. We are growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, we are moving to a new office as we are bursting at the seams.

Many people have worked here since the 1980s, and there are growing pains. Part of the challenge is adapting to big corporate ways. I learned a few days ago that direct managers are no longer tasked with interviewing. Rather, someone else interviews and then the manager is told who is coming on board.

Right now I’m trying to help a former coworker hired. Of course, my boss is not supposed to interview him. How do we get past HR and the recruiter? Any advice on how to get a friend hired?

Nick’s Reply

get a friend hiredSo now the recruiters run the asylum? And control who gets hired? Perhaps you should reconsider subjecting your friend to that, and perhaps ask yourself whether you want to continue working for a company whose managers are not involved in selecting their new hires.

It will be interesting to see how the best managers cope with this. I suspect they will develop a black market for hiring, out of necessity. They will create their own recruiting and hiring channels, but make it appear HR is in control.

I’ll start with a suggestion to the managers in your company (if I don’t transgress!), then we’ll talk about what you can do to help get a friend hired at your company. I would not talk to HR or to the recruiter. (You can also help a friend get a job elsewhere.)

It was just lunch!

If I were a manager, I’d find my own good candidates and take them out to lunch.

Interview? What interview? I didn’t break the new HR rule. I just went to lunch!

If I decided to hire the person, I’d instruct them to submit their resume to the recruiter and indicate that they are interested in working in my department. Then I’d get in touch with the recruiter and say, “Someone I respect just told me So-and-So is a great engineer who’s being heavily recruited by our Competitor X. Any chance that person’s resume or application is in your system?”

HR recruiters love being in control, but they love making their jobs easier even more. I’d nag the recruiter if necessary until I confirmed the candidate was interviewed and issued an offer.

How to get a friend hired

Since you’re not a manager, you have even more degrees of freedom. I think you can get your friend hired if you go the extra mile. This is just one suggestion to get the ball rolling. I hope readers will chime in with more ideas!

Ask your boss out to lunch. Say you’re meeting an old friend — an engineer from your last employer. “We always have fun talking shop. You’d fit right in.“

Interview? What interview? We’re just having lunch!

During this casual meeting offsite, your boss will have a chance to learn about your buddy without pressure. Of course, if interest is sparked, after lunch your boss must be assertive enough to go talk to HR and say, “I just learned a great engineer is being recruited by our Competitor X…”

You know the old expression, “You can’t wash your hands with rubber gloves on.” Well, managers can’t run successful operations if somebody else is picking their new employees.

I think you have a lot more influence — and control — than you suspect. After all, don’t you want to be working with the best people? Someone’s got to help your company’s managers subvert a silly new policy!

I’d love to hear more suggestions from readers!

Have you ever helped get a friend hired at your company? How did you pull it off? Did HR handle it expeditiously?  Were you paid a referral fee? Did your personal recommendation clear the path for interviews? Who does the candidate selection and hiring at your company? 

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