Business is a series of connections and people are commonly called upon to make a recommendation for a friend or co-worker. Maybe a client is recruiting at the same time an acquaintance reaches out about finding a fit for their specific skills. The two just happen to line up with what they need and have to offer. While the friend should still follow the companies hiring procedure, a cyber introduction can go a long way in placing a potential candidate.
It may seem as simple a “how do you do,” but there are ways to assure a successful e-introduction and others that guarantee a crash and burn complete with fallout. First and foremost, consider what each party will get out of your recommendation. Don’t send a steady flow of opportunities or applicants that don’t fit the needs of either party. No need to waste anyone’s time by sending unqualified applicants or suggesting unreliable employers.
"Your goal should be to benefit both people you are introducing," says Auren Hoffman, CEO of Rapleaf, a company that collects and provides demographic and lifestyle data on US consumer email addresses. "Both parties should be happy you made the introduction, glad they met the other person, and thankful to you. You should not bother making an introduction if it will only benefit one of the parties."
It’s also proper etiquette to ask permission of both parties before making the introduction. Sending out e-mails to multiple recipients without getting the go ahead to share that info first can swiftly sabotage relationships with business contacts. It’s akin to giving their address to a potential stalker. Even if everyone agrees to the introduction it’s still important to clarify the email address where they prefer to be contacted.
Recommendations can be pitched to and for a variety of different people. Childhood friends, family members, former employers, or club contacts are all lingering out there just waiting to meet each other. No matter what the relationship CNN suggests erring on the side of formality when making a business introduction. “Dear …” is a much better opener than “Hey!” This is business and the language should reflect that everyone involved in the introduction is taking it seriously.
Make sure any info shared will put the applicant in the best light. Otherwise, it’s pointless to make the referral in the first place. The best way to avoid an embarrassing blunder is to start the introduction with a fresh email instead of forwarding something to or from either party.
No need to pass out resumes for others, but a brief bio is often appreciated by most hiring managers when reading a recommendation. Quality referrals include a full name, location, contact information, and a brief list of experiences allowing employers to connect but not be bogged down by too much information immediately.
Close the conversation with a call to action to ensure a quick response time. Recommendations don’t do anyone any good sitting stagnant in cyberspace with everyone wondering what to do next. The Small Business Digest suggests making sure that the weight of the e-mail encourages both people to quickly arrange a time to talk.
Wikipedia’s top recommendation for job hunters is to find a job through a friend or an extended business network, personal network, or online social network service. Be prepared to make a referral that counts the next time someone asks but don’t be afraid to say no. Speaking up for someone not only reflects on their character but also on the person offering the referral. Don’t offer to put a good word in for anyone whose work ethic is undesirable or unknown or questions about the credibility of future contacts could arise before an introduction is ever made.
Sometimes it’s a match made in executive heaven and worth the risk. Take the time to construct a proper digital meet and greet and hope that the success of the interview spills over into other areas to create a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at Free Digital Photos.