If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will soon. The economy drives job hunters — especially if they’re unemployed — to call everyone they know and ask for job leads. It’s an awkward request to make and people get understandably nervous about asking. It’s wonderful when friends and acquaintances can help out.
I help whenever I can and my heart goes out to those in dire straits. I urge you to make thoughtful introductions for people you hold in high esteem. (On the other hand, never recommend a job hunter who isn’t worthy. You will risk your own reputation.)
But let him beware to whom I give a valuable introduction who does not follow up. Do that to me and I’ll never give you the time of day again because you have wasted the hard-earned favor of someone who trusts and respects me. I have spoken to that contact, referred you and vouched for you. My contact is ready and expecting your call. I have just written a check to you against the good will I have amassed someone else’s bank. If you don’t make the call, I look bad. I’ve wasted an asset.
I get great satisfaction when I make introductions that lead to job offers, business deals or just to enjoyable conversations and new friendships that may blossom into business later. The recipient of the favor benefits. But so do I because the quality of the introductions I make reflect on me, and my credibility grows. My contact trusts that the next time I make an introduction, it will be another good one.
I know how frantic the search for a job can be. But don’t lose track of the “checks” your friends write to you. Enjoy the good will and use it fully. But treat a personal referral with respect. Follow up. Call the person who’s expecting your call. Behave like the person that I have vouched you are. But if you squander my assets, don’t ever call me again.