Tonight I caught an episode of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother and boy I’m glad I did because it was not only hilarious but totally related to an HR topic, employee referrals! But before we go further I must clarify the STAMP TRAMP is not to be confused with the infamous TRAMP STAMP, totally different meanings! The stamp tramp is a person that gives their “stamp” of approval on almost anything, thus losing the value of their approval. Others begin to question the stamp tramps standards for recommending products, services, friends etc when their recommendations are less than stellar. (Check out a clip from Stamp Tramp, here.)
In this episode Marshall runs into an acquaintance and fellow practicing lawyer who appears down on his luck. Marshall decides to help him out by scoring him an interview with his boss. Long story short his acquaintance blows the interview and royally offenses Marshall’s boss. As a result of this poor employee referral Marshall’s boss pulls him off a major case. His boss lost trust in Marshall’s judgement. Marshall had to do a lot to rebuild that trust and value in his recommendations. Building trust and a good reputation can take a great deal of time and effort. It’s important to be considerate of your reputation when referring a friend or family member to a position at your company.
How can you avoid a stamp tramp situation?
Treat the person you are referring as an extension of yourself. How will they represent your brand?
Pretend it’s your company. Would you hire this person?
If you have any concerns or doubts about referring a friend, family member or acquaintance dig deeper. Are your concerns valid? If they are you may not want to refer that person.
Depending on the role you hold at work you may “have” to refer certain people. In that case be honest with the hiring authority. If you don’t know that persons’ work history or work ethic let the company know and they can decide whether your referral is a good fit. You’ve done your part!
Lastly, if you do refer someone who is “bad hire” don’t beat yourself up about it. Just learn from your mistakes and don’t turn into a stamp tramp! Stamping your approval on everything will make your stamps meaningless. To keep your value and weight with employee referrals, in addition to the advice above, you may want to give the people who ask you for a referral a mini interview. If they pass refer them, if they don’t….tell them to take a hike! Just kidding, find a kinder way to break the news.