The Setting: A friend of mine was telling me about one of his good friends…..who’s no longer one of his good friends.
The Issue: His friend asked him to interview one of his siblings for a sales position in the hope that it would lead to a job offer.
The Result: I never asked about the details of the interview, but I could visibly see the pain and anguish he was going through when he was telling me the story knowing he was going to be the bearer of bad news to his friend.
Conclusion: Friendship gone.
Question: Are we in a world where we are so driven by expectations that we can’t extend a favor to a friends’ sibling? Or is it just about the money and “Sorry, but its just business”.
Answer: It’s both.
Why: The “personal” part is what got the interview. The “business” part is what didn’t get them hired…..…and the upset “friend” who decided to no longer continue the friendship should understand that.
Again, I understand everything is situational, and maybe I wasn’t presented with all the facts. (Heck for all I know, maybe “the friend” saved my friend from a burning barn or threw himself on the mercy of the court during a murder trial or pushed him out of the way from a freight train…who knows!?) But let’s just assume, for a second, that there were no courts or barns or trains. Just a regular, everyday, ordinary, “Hey, would you be so kind as to interview my son/daughter for a sales position in your company?”
From a personal standpoint, if we hired even half of the people referred to us through friends of friends, friends of family, even immediate family, we’d be out of business. Should we be warm and respectful and give them every opportunity available? Absolutely! Have a meeting, grab some coffee, you bet!
But that’s where the “personal” part ends and the “business” part begins. The rest is up to the individual to “earn” the opportunity to go to the next step. As much as we would love to help and hire our friends and family, it IS business. It’s deadlines and deliverables, customers and competition, people, process, programs, technology….lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Point being, it’s incredibly difficult to just “bring someone on” especially in a customer facing sales position if they’re not able to deliver in that role.
Just like the famous line by Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas in the movie “Wall Street” where he’s talking to Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) in the back of a limousine and it’s at critical point in their relationship where it’s either a “Go / No Go” if they are to continue to work together, and Gekko says, “Now you had what it took to get into my office. The real question is do you have what it takes to stay.”
Make no mistake, “personal” SHOULD get you in, but “business” acumen KEEPS you in!