A few months ago, a former neighbor asked me if there were any job openings in ETR’s editorial department. If so, she wanted her daughter “Gwen” – a young woman I’d known for years – to apply for a position.

Turns out ETR was not hiring at the time. Phew! I breathed a big sigh of relief.

Why was I so glad? Because I wouldn’t have to tell my neighbor that I couldn’t recommend her daughter. Although she’s sweet and friendly, Gwen has been known to show up late, call in sick so she could go to the beach, and otherwise act unprofessionally. In other words, she’s NOT the type of person we want on the ETR team. And I would never be an advocate for anyone who could embarrass my company.

I was reminded of this potentially awkward situation when I read Jason Holland’s recent article “When You Shouldn’t Give Friends a Helping Hand.” He noted that you should put your weight behind someone only if you can personally vouch for her.

It’s true. Your recommendation can go a long way toward influencing a hiring decision. And you don’t want to abuse that trust.

But this rule doesn’t end there. When you run a company, you may be approached by other businesses that would like to joint venture with you. Which means running their ads in your newsletter and promoting their products to your subscribers. If you can’t personally vouch for the product or service you’d be recommending, don’t do it.

ETR follows this rule to the letter. Jessica Kurrle, our marketing manager, reviews every product or service before we promote it to make sure it adheres to our standards. Among the primary qualifications? It must be good for our customers, and it must have a money-back guarantee. (If you’d like to read more about ETR’s outside advertiser policy, click here.)

It’s a good idea to have a similar policy in your own business. It will help establish you as a careful and discriminating businessperson. It will help maintain the trust you work so hard to build with your customers. And, heck, it will help you sleep at night.

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