Originally published: April 7, 2016
The subject of a new study reveals that a well-placed referral can boost the upward career mobility of African-Americans.
Job searches can be fraught with false starts or dead ends. That’s why there’s some truth to the old chestnut, "It’s not what you know, it’s who you know." And recent research from Tufts and Stony Brook University reveals that Facebook friends—especially those who you don’t know very well—could provide the all-important referral that lands the job. The study found that 90% of these so-called "weak ties" helped get friends jobs.
Adina Sterling, an assistant professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, has also seen how powerful referrals can be. "Knowing somebody in a company prior to joining—someone coming through, for instance, a referral—helps people develop more robust networks inside firms," she told Strategy+Business. Those hired through a referral were more likely to stick with the employer longer, she found. Likewise, those with friends in a company tended to do less shopping around for a better offer because it could reflect badly on the friend already working there.