That Thing You Do: Ideas I Stole From People Like You

LauraAll Posts

People everywhere are bursting with amazing moves that influence me…

That Thing You Do #247:

‘You know when your friend asks you to be a reference for her upcoming job, committee, or Board of Directors opportunity?

Here are two things to keep in mind:

1. Only agree IF you plan on being an advocate for your friend. That’s why she asked you anyway, right? She wouldn’t have asked you to represent her if she knew you would slam her reputation and guarantee an “I’m sorry; position filled” form letter.  If you plan on including information about your friend that could jeopardize her chances, either have the guts to tell her those things first or politely decline the opportunity.

2. When you come to the inevitable question,

“What is this candidate’s greatest weakness?”, consider my friend Renee’s awesome response:

“I don’t know Charise well enough to answer this question, though I’m sure if you asked her, she would answer honestly.”

Sheer genius! That question has always driven me batty! While I could spend a full day answering that question about myself, when it comes to answering for another person… that’s dangerous territory. I believe Renee’s response trumps the old “turn a strength into a possible weakness” advice. I had the opportunity to use Renee’s line two times recently and I felt incredibly protective, supportive, and nonjudgmental. (Who doesn’t want to be that every once in a while, ya know?)