Writing a letter to a family friend/recruiter. Should I

  • Thread starter frozenguy
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I'm writing this letter to get some advice in terms of which school (my two top choices, already accepted) his company and the industry hire more from. I'm an engineering major by the way. Also want to ask about any internship opportunities, but I don't know if it's appropriate to ask him.
I was also wondering if its appropriate to bring up the fact that when he shared his college/career experiences with me during an event a few years ago, it sparked an already growing passion and kind of made me realize the direction I needed to take to fulfill this passion.

Did I mention he is part of a hiring team in his department for a big company? It just makes me nervous because I need his advice, could use his connections or any opportunities he offers me, and I don't want it to sound too casual or too businesslike either, I don't think.
 

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Hi frozenguy,

I tend to advise you to ask him in a way that is comparable to asking a stranger - I would not try to capitalize on your relationship too much. However it really depends on your relationship and the way you communicate with him usually etc. It is very hard to give advice here. It also depends on the fact if you just want this guy's advice or if you are really asking him for a favour or a job.

I can just say that I have experienced such situations from both perspectives. From the perspective of the person being asked by 'friends': This a disturbing experience sometimes. I felt sort of blackmailed in a subtle way. It is much harder to say 'No' to a friend or family member asking for a job, letter of recommendation etc.

I am always very open to share my experiences and 'coach' younger people who embark on a career in an industry sector I have some experience with. But when somebody asks me to do a favour or endorse him/her I try to make clear that I can do this only to the same extent or based on the same criteria I would also apply to persons with whom I only have a professional relationship. As an endorser I vouch for that person's skills and compentencies.
 
  • #3
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I can just say that I have experienced such situations from both perspectives. From the perspective of the person being asked by 'friends': This a disturbing experience sometimes. I felt sort of blackmailed in a subtle way. It is much harder to say 'No' to a friend or family member asking for a job, letter of recommendation etc.
I've seen a lot of big companies deal with this, and one thing that works well in my company, is that if someone asks me for a job, then I'll take the resume and then send it to the internal recruiter. I'll look over the resume to see if it looks good and give suggestions for improving it, but once it goes to the internal recruiter, the people that actually make the decision on whether to hire or not are people that don't have any direct connection with my friend.

Part of this is that if the people that do hiring really think that the person I submitted, isn't qualified, then I personally don't want them to get the job, and having someone else do the evaluation gets me off the hook, if the application really isn't that strong.

However, even at this level, I'm useful. One of the big problems in working with big organizations is to make sure that your resume even gets into the system.

But when somebody asks me to do a favour or endorse him/her I try to make clear that I can do this only to the same extent or based on the same criteria I would also apply to persons with whom I only have a professional relationship. As an endorser I vouch for that person's skills and compentencies.
Since I work for a big company, once the application starts through the process, I keep hands off of the system. It's considered "rude" to push an application, and I really don't want to because if it turns out that the candidate is no good, it makes my job more difficult and it makes me look really bad. When I submit an application for someone I know, I try to say nothing good or bad about the candidate.

One other thing is that if the company does hire something that I submit, I get a few hundred dollars. This is pretty standard in big companies.

Also, it can work both ways. In smaller companies, I've been asked what I think of someone that I know. In those situations, I either say something good or I tell the person asking that I can't say anything.

One thing that I've found is that companies are less interested in hiring the best and more interested in avoiding the worst. In some small companies, people like hiring people that are known personally to existing employees since the existing employee can "guarantee" that the new hire isn't incompetent. For small companies that can't afford big hiring teams, this can be really, really important.
 
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  • #4
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I'm writing this letter to get some advice in terms of which school (my two top choices, already accepted) his company and the industry hire more from. I'm an engineering major by the way. Also want to ask about any internship opportunities, but I don't know if it's appropriate to ask him.
I don't see why not. The worst that could happen is that they give you no useful information.

Also if you can, I'd avoid writing and see if you can do things face to face. Have lunch with them sometime. One thing that is better is that you can sometimes get more useful information if you talk with someone face to face. For example, if it turns out that your friend really hates his work, you'll figure this out if you talk to them, but it's something that isn't going to be written down.

Did I mention he is part of a hiring team in his department for a big company? It just makes me nervous because I need his advice, could use his connections or any opportunities he offers me, and I don't want it to sound too casual or too businesslike either, I don't think.
If you are not sure how to handle it, you might get someone else who knows him better to bring it up.
 
  • #5
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Thanks for all your comments and help! :cool:

Hi frozenguy,

I tend to advise you to ask him in a way that is comparable to asking a stranger - I would not try to capitalize on your relationship too much. However it really depends on your relationship and the way you communicate with him usually etc. It is very hard to give advice here. It also depends on the fact if you just want this guy's advice or if you are really asking him for a favour or a job.

I can just say that I have experienced such situations from both perspectives. From the perspective of the person being asked by 'friends': This a disturbing experience sometimes. I felt sort of blackmailed in a subtle way. It is much harder to say 'No' to a friend or family member asking for a job, letter of recommendation etc.

I am always very open to share my experiences and 'coach' younger people who embark on a career in an industry sector I have some experience with. But when somebody asks me to do a favour or endorse him/her I try to make clear that I can do this only to the same extent or based on the same criteria I would also apply to persons with whom I only have a professional relationship. As an endorser I vouch for that person's skills and compentencies.
First and foremost, I want to ask his opinion about schools. I suppose I don't even need to bring up anything about internships yet. I haven't spoken with him in a little over three years, and had just met him that once. He told me to get in touch with him sometime, and even offered my older sister an interview if she was interested in moving. He is very nice, very willing to help. I think I'll keep this initial contact to asking about schools, and then let it progress. I'm not looking for an internship this summer anyways, so there is time. I just need to take it step by step I think.


I don't see why not. The worst that could happen is that they give you no useful information.

Also if you can, I'd avoid writing and see if you can do things face to face. Have lunch with them sometime. One thing that is better is that you can sometimes get more useful information if you talk with someone face to face. For example, if it turns out that your friend really hates his work, you'll figure this out if you talk to them, but it's something that isn't going to be written down.



If you are not sure how to handle it, you might get someone else who knows him better to bring it up.
I would attempt a face to face, but we are several hundred miles away. Depending on what school I go to though, I may end up 'close' to him. I think I'm going to keep this first email to just schools..


Maybe start it off re introducing myself briefly? Because we only met once, three years ago. Then tell him that I'm transferring, and ask for his opinion as to where his company/the industry hires more from? Or would that send the wrong message? Should I ask him instead which school he thinks graduates the more competent engineers?
And this may sound like a stupid question, but do I end this with Sincerely? Do I start with "Dear ...," or "Hi ...," in this regard?
 

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