They say networking is often the key to landing a job, so it stands to reason that if you work for a decent-sized company, you might wind up in a scenario where a job is advertised publicly, and a person you know decides to apply and asks that you put in a good word on his or her behalf. It's always nice to help a friend or former associate, so your first inclination might be to instantly oblige without giving it much thought. But before you rush to endorse a candidate, remember that when you do so, it's your reputation on the line, and if you sing the praises of an applicant who turns out to be a total dud, you stand to look bad. Therefore, the next time someone asks you to intervene so that he or she snags an interview, do the following things first.

1. Make sure the applicant's skills are strong and relevant

Endorsing a job candidate on the basis of his or her intelligence alone isn't always the right thing to do. If the person in question is missing key skills or experience needed to do the job, then you're better off being honest and encouraging him or her to hold off on applying until a more suitable role opens up. Along these lines, don't let yourself be pressured into submitting a resume that doesn't align with the job's requirements. Doing so could damage your credibility, and then you won't be helping anyone at all.

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2. Make certain the candidate really wants the job

Some people apply to a host of jobs, including ones they're not thrilled about, when they wind up desperate for work. Before you endorse a candidate, make sure the person asking you to do so really wants the job. Otherwise, you might come to look bad if that applicant gets an offer but doesn't take it.

3. Determine whether the candidate is reliable

Maybe you know someone with all the right skills for an open position at your company. However, if that person doesn't have a solid work ethic, you shouldn't offer up your endorsement. Remember, when you recommend other people for a role, it's a reflection on you, and if your company hires someone on your suggestion and comes to find that he or she is unmotivated and irresponsible, you're not going to look great.

4. Consider the implications of working alongside a friend

One final thing to think about before endorsing a job candidate is how working together might affect your personal relationship. For example, if a friend asks you to help him or her land a job at your company, and that'll put you both on the same team, things could get awkward socially if you end up butting heads over work-related issues. Similarly, if you wind up engaged in a conflict having nothing to do with work, you might struggle to collaborate at the office.

Of course, if the person you know is asking to work in a separate area of the business, this most likely won't be an issue. But if that's not the case, decide whether you're willing to compromise a friendship, or put yourself in a position where things could potentially become uncomfortable in a work setting.

Helping someone you know land a job is an unquestionably nice thing to do, but make sure that person is worthy of your recommendation. If you're not comfortable moving forward for whatever reason, say so firmly but gently. It's a better bet than risking the good standing at your company you've worked so hard to establish.

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