My friends work as recruiters at a company which has recently boosted their income so they are hiring. I have several people in my rolodex who more or less fit to an open position. Some of them are really rock stars, and some are just so-so and need to be guided and trained a lot. Should I keep the standards high and only reference those who can act above expectations, or is it okay to reference all of them who fits the offer despite there can be some limitations (like, a person isn't proactive enough, and similar distressful features of personality)?

  • The simplest approach is to ask your recruiter friends what candidates they want to work with. Most likely, the rock stars and the so-so's who are dependable. But again, the simplest approach is to ask. Apr 8, 2015 at 11:01
  • The pitfall here is the recruiter can answer something like “of course, we need the best!”, but it's not always true. Sometimes what the team that is getting expanded needs is a slightly above average professional. Budget may be limited. And many other variables in this equation. So I'm asking generally about how recruiters work and what they expect, rather than how I should feel about the situation.
    – rishat
    Apr 8, 2015 at 11:04
  • 1
    Your recruiter friends are the best judges of what they want or need. All they have to do is tell you what they want or need, and all you have to do is cooperate. You are not a recruiter nor are you trying to do their job for them.o Apr 8, 2015 at 11:07
  • So I consider the point is that I should reference all the guys I know who fits the position more or less, even if I feel a mismatch on a personal level may happen. And it's the answer to my question.
    – rishat
    Apr 8, 2015 at 11:52
  • You are adding friendship to the mix. All you have to do is to ask your recruiter friends because they know best the trade-offs they want to live with. Asking me what the acceptable trade-offs are is asking the wrong party. Apr 8, 2015 at 11:59

1 Answer 1


The thing is to be honest in your recommendations.

Describe the rock stars as rock stars. Describe the dependable but middle of the road types as dependable and middle of the road.

If you think somebody is objectively useless then either don't mention them, or be clear that you're not endorsing them.

It's then up to the recruiters to decide which, if any, of your recommendations to follow up. Some positions need rock stars, some need solid plodders. They may even see something in the useless candidates that you've missed.

Give the recruiters honest information and leave it to them to decide what to do with it. That's their job.

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