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Tracey Fletcher | 24 June 2020

4 things to consider when hiring from your networks

It’s all about who you know........

We all know that New Zealand is like a village when it comes to networking and ‘who you know’. Famously, Kiwis say we have two-degrees of separation, rather than the six of bigger nations; we even have a communications company built on this notion! And when it comes to hiring for our teams, many employers lean heavily on this close connection we all have.

But is that the best way to hire? And what should you consider if you do take this path? Here are a few things to consider…

It’s all about who you know

There are some compelling reasons why hiring someone you know (or is known within your networks), is a good way to go, these include:

  • They’re a known quantity. Usually you or someone you know well has worked with them before, so there are no questions about their skillset, level of experience and general strengths
  • Their face fits. Generally, their work ethic, fit with your team culture, and alignment with your company values are also well understood
  • Trust. It’s very unlikely that someone you know well would recommend a poor hire. If anything, they may tend to be more tentative in their recommendation, so it holds even more weight.

Things to keep in mind

All these points sound like a no-brainer! And looking to your network is frequently your first port of call when you have a vacancy in your team. But before you rush into hiring your friends, or your friends’ friends, take a moment to consider these points:

  1. Make sure they are the right fit for the role and your business. Take them through your usual recruitment process including steps like an in-depth interview and meeting the team. If you don’t think you can be impartial, ask a peer to be part of your process. Ideally the candidate from your known network will go through the same process as every other candidate you hire.
  2. Diversity is key. Try to keep in mind that a diverse team in terms of age, gender, background, and experience will add more than you can imagine to your business. Try not to hire a cookie cutter image who will think exactly like the rest of the team; fresh ideas and different perspectives are gold!
  3. Check and check again - always complete reference checks! This is such an important step in every recruitment process, and even more so when you are hiring from a recommendation. Hopefully this will just confirm what you already know, but best to be sure! The pain and cost of a poor hire can be devastating for everyone.
  4. Be mindful of privacy. When you are doing an ‘off the record’ check in with your network about your preferred candidate, be certain that you are following the guidelines of the Privacy Act. Your candidate must give the OK for you to contact people about them; without this, you’ll be in breach of the Act.

Hiring someone known to you or your network is definitely a great way to bring on new team members – just remember to stick to your usual rigorous process so you are extra sure they are ‘the one’!