Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, January 17, 2001
'Friends' help friends find jobs


Help a friend find a Farm job and get paid in cash for your efforts.

A new program called "Stanford Friends" aims to encourage staff and faculty to help the university find a sought-after Silicon Valley commodity -- the successful new hire -- and help fill the more than 500 vacancies posted campus-wide.

"It's a win-win situation for all of us," says John Cammidge, executive director of human resources, who helped secure funding for the pilot program from the President and Provost's Office. "It allows you to help a colleague fill a job. It allows a friend to make a career change. It helps Stanford become a better employer. And it helps you with some additional financial aid."

The internal program, launched this week, allows eligible staff and faculty to refer someone they know for any posted staff position. If the person is hired -- and after they've been employed for 90 days -- the "referee" will be sent $750, subject to withholding tax. Furthermore, people who make referrals during a previous quarter will be entered into a drawing every three months for a grand prize worth about $2,500 that could range from a tropical vacation to Cardinal athletic tickets.

"We want to encourage people to bring people here," says Linda Jack, former director of the Office of Employment who established the referral program. "Studies have shown that people who come through a referral have the lowest turnover rate."

In determining the program's awards, Jack says the university tried to strike a balance between Bay Area employers who hand out T-shirts to those who give away cars. "What I thought was important was that every position be counted," Jack says. Half of all campus openings are categorized as non-exempt, and can range from a residence hall cook to a tree surgeon to an administrative associate.

Stanford Friends will supplement existing local referral programs already operating at Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) and the Law School. Jack says that ITSS's program, in place for more than a year, has made a difference in filling positions in the ultra-competitive information technology job market. "For most employers that have these programs, up to 30 and 40 percent of positions filled come through referrals," Jack says.

Despite the recent slight downturn in the Bay Area economy, Jack says that the overall unemployment rate is not shifting. "This is a worldwide phenomenon," she says. "Baby boomers are retiring and no one is replacing them."

Richard Ledwin, a human resources officer in Housing and Dining Services, will start managing Stanford Friends full time next month. Jermaine Jenkins, a recruitment specialist, and Monica Valerio, a senior employment representative at the Office of Staff Employment, will help run the program. For more information about Stanford Friends, log on to The program has some restrictions that are explained on the website.

"Ultimately, the success of this program depends on Stanford staff and faculty to be engaged," Jack says.