On the wall behind the reception of a well established family-run business hangs a framed notice, possibly designed to dissuade outsiders from applying for work:
We promote family values here – nearly as much as we promote family members!
Nepotism is a bit of a dirty word, especially if you’re applying for a job and you know the CEO’s nephew is one of those you’re up against! In modern-day terms nepotism refers to the act of favouring relatives at work in employment or economic terms as opposed to them being judged on ability or merit.
For the most part, it can simply be viewed in terms of people giving somebody a leg-up or giving them a bit more of the inside track to enable them to get on within an organisation. But this doesn’t happen nowadays, surely?!
Well, take a look at the following stats and make your own mind up to see how people are getting work in the UK:
- 11 million people are either working with a relative who gave them the role, or in a position which a family member helped them secure
- Over a third (34 per cent) dodged the interview process completely after getting a nod from a friend
I went to an online forum and came across the following question that summed up the frustrations of many:
“I’m referring to a major UK PLC, who took a 22 year old with three years experience as a junior marketing assistant, and employed him as a £60K Head of Online, despite never having been a manager before, and never having worked in a website / ecommerce environment before.”
“It turns out this person is pretty good friends with the Online Director at said PLC who knew him from a previous company. I went for this job, and I’m absolutely furious to discover this – this can’t be right, surely?”
Is this sort of thing legal?
The truth of the matter is that this sort of practice is not illegal and it is all too common. There is not a lot you can really do about it, other than sit back and watch if 22 year old will crash and burn if he is incapable of doing the job.
However, be encouraged, you could still that get that job because more research shows that there is a 1:10 chance that those appointed through personal contact will leave soon after they started amid bad feeling among other staff!
Making your contacts work for you
If you can’t beat the system, go with the flow and try to work with it.
A study of 3,000 workers by Aldi Graduate Recruitment confirms that the old adage ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ still rings true. Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that good contacts are just as important as qualifications when it comes to getting a job.
Richard Holloway, Head of Graduate Recruitment at Aldi, said: ‘‘Recent graduates are having a tougher time than ever with the job market becoming more and more competitive and young adults are looking for employment through various means – friends, family and social networking.”
”Having the right qualifications is what many employers look for in new graduates but it’s better to be a strong all-rounder with extra-curricular activities and interests.”
”In this tough climate it’s essential to develop contacts and relationships in your chosen field whilst also bringing other skills to the work place such as self-motivation, dedication and leadership qualities.”
It seems graduates are a lot savvier now when it comes to using networking and social skills, with more than a third of people keep in touch with former bosses or colleagues purely because they hope they may one day be able to help their career.
Nearly half of those surveyed said they had got a job after staying on good terms with people they had interned for, done work experience with or met in a business setting.
Networking with all your contacts
It is not just your former colleagues that you can approach. Ask your friends and relatives to keep a lookout for you in their companies. Networking is one of the most successful ways of finding employment and does not necessarily involve asking your friends for a job.
It should form a major part of your job research – who works where, who knows who, who can tell you what it is like to work for a particular company, who can give you advice about your career path etc. You will be surprised at how many people you really know!
Think about all the people you know or who you have met, who could help you find out more.
- Who do you know & where?
- Current business colleague
- Ex business colleague
- Ex bosses/employers
- Suppliers/reps you have dealt with
- Fellow members of trade associations
- Your old clients/customers
- Solicitor/bank manager/accountant
- Contacts in your church
- Family friends
- Social friends/neighbours
- School, College or University friends
- Your partner’s contacts
Top tips and facts:
- In the UK 11 million people are either working with a relative who gave them the role, or in a position which a family member helped them secure
- Also in the UK, over a third dodged the interview process completely after getting a nod from a friend
- There is a 1:10 chance that those appointed through personal contact will leave soon after they started
- Good contacts are just as important as qualifications when it comes to getting a job
- It’s essential to develop contacts and relationships in your chosen field whilst also bringing other skills to the work place such as self-motivation, dedication and leadership qualities
- Many people will get a job after staying on good terms with people they had interned for, done work experience with or met in a business setting