Do you know what profession depends entirely on a robust referral network, performance and trust? Babysitting.
I had a babysitting business (yes, in addition to the lawn mowing business, I told you about last week) before I headed off to college. The fact that at 13 I had an infant sister and brother was considered the consummate qualification to care for the neighbor's kids. This was back in the 70's before the emergence of childcare professionals, certification programs and liability insurance requirements. Back then if my parents trusted me enough to leave me home alone with an infant and a toddler, I must be up to the task. One set of happy parents begat recommendations to others. Within a few months, I was babysitting most every night, much to the chagrin of my parents who hadn't completely thought through the implications of my entrepreneurial success on their social life.
Building a babysitting business was easy because neighborhoods and communities naturally establish trust networks. Those networks are harder to come by in the disparate world of business. This is particularly true when it comes to hiring. With over 25 million unemployed/underemployed job seekers, hiring managers are often deluged with resumes. How can they be sure the resume is a fair and accurate representation of a candidate's qualifications and competency? Sure, references are required, but are they really worth calling? Have you ever called a reference and received a bad report?
Job seekers may not be in a position to be picky these days, but most also want to be sure the job is a good match. They certainly don't want to be back out looking again in a few months. How are they supposed to get candid feedback on the company and their potential boss?
Brian Allain, founder of the Good Samaritan Networking Group, is seeking to help both employers and job seekers. Brian is building a community of trust. The Good Samaritan Networking Group (GSNG) regularly posts job openings on its website . For each of the over 1,000 job openings listed on the site, someone in the GSNG network knows someone influential at the hiring company or the recruiting company. If a candidate that is known and trusted by the group applies to one of the open positions GSNG members have the opportunity to "put in a good word" for him. In a world where there are hundreds of candidates for a given job opening, this means a great deal. The hiring manager now has a reference from someone they trust. The candidate's resume rises to the top - or at least near the top - of the stack of resumes.
Equally important, the job seeker has a network of people she trusts to determine if the opportunity really is a good match for her.
The beauty of The Good Samaritan Networking Group is it is a virtual community of people helping each other out without regard to reward. It's a model that should be recognized for all the good that it does and replicated!