I have a friend, S, who has spent the better part of the last year looking for a new job. She is currently employed but is looking to advance in her career and make more money than she currently is bringing home. While the job market is definitely tough – especially for those in marketing – there are jobs to be found. You just have to be a little flexible. This is the area where S lacks. For her, the job needs to be within a short radius of her house, have a sizeable paycheck and come with pretty standard hours. A few months back, S was interviewing for a job with a locally-based company and I casually mentioned to her that I have a friend, K who works at said company and was likely the final person she would interview with. I said I would put in a good word. Unfortunately for S, right around the time when the company was going to set up the final interview, they announced a hiring freeze and the position was put on hold indefinitely.
Spring forward three months later to present day when a local job website lists this same job as being available again. Needless to say, S contacted me immediately and asked that I put her in contact with K so that she could lobby for the desired position. I talked to K to make sure she would be OK with me passing out her contact information and introduced both women via email. I had sincerely hoped this would be the point at which I could excuse myself from the equation. I thought wrong. I have now been invited to happy hour with both women so that they can meet and network in person. I’m not sure why I need to be there but both feel pretty strongly that they would prefer my presence. At the end of the day, I want S to succeed and find a position that works for her but I don’t really want to be roped in to process. I certainly don’t want friend K to feel like I am pressuring her to make a hiring decision that she would not have done on her own and I don’t want S to feel like she is a shoe in just because I know the person doing the hiring. Hopefully after a glass or two of wine Tuesday night I can convey this to both friends and leave them to network amongst themselves. I realize that in business, who you know plays a very important role but I guess it begs the question of how far should you go to help a friend. Is it best to keep friendship and business separate or do you do what you can to help a friend succeed?