Should You Hire Your Friends To Work For You?

Does it usually work out?

Is it worth it when it doesn't?


Asking this question is a bit of a pandoras box. It depends on the friend really. I have friends that a lazier than #### and there is no way i would ever have them draggin down my business, and i also have friends that are really go getters, and they have the personality that they would go above and beyond what it takes to get the job done. So you need to ask your self, what kind of friend are they? Why is this friend in a positionto work for you in the first place? If its because they can't hold a job anywhere else, and you feel bad for them, then I suggest no go because after a month they won't be your friend anymore, trust me.

I have worked in companies where the owners cousins and family members have held positions, one hanging cameras (best camera installer I have ever worked with by the way) and others are dead beat freeloaders working at daddies business because they have to.

I would suggest really looking into what they bring to your business, and if they can help compliment a need. It could be awesome working with your friend, or it could be the start to the end of a friends ship. Just my two cents.

Only if you feel confident you could ask them to leave.

For 'friend', do you mean a 'friend' in the same field or a 'friend' who knows nothing about the industry you are in. I have seen both but the later is obviously far riskier.

It's interesting to hear both, though typically it would be someone who you wouldn't even consider hiring because they lacked the required skills or experience.

But I do mean to say 'good friend', maybe in your top 10 (assuming one keep such lists). People that become friends after meeting them in the industry are not what I'm talking about.

So here's a more concrete example. Your old friend Joe, who's been OOW and looking for a couple months, hears you are still looking to hire a junior tech. He's says he knows someone that might work out; himself of course. Let's say Joe's intelligent and can present himself without embarassment. He's not a deadbeat.

But Joe never struck you as the technical type. You quiz him. You write out "UNIONIZED" on a piece of paper and he says "YOON-yun-ized" with a smile.

The obvious answer would be no, but is it the common one?

"hears you are still looking to hire a junior tech."

Junior techs (at integrators) are a special case because (1) the job pays fairly poorly and (2) they are not expected to know a lot. So if a person was responsible and had some intelligence, it is worth considering.

The tougher case is where your friend is a senior person in another industry. I recall an integrator owner who was buddies with the sales manager at a high-end car dealership. He hired him to run sales at the integrator. It worked out very poorly because how different selling surveillance and luxury cars were.

The tougher case is where your friend is a senior person in another industry.

I agree. And sometimes it can be both. Consider if you tell the senior friend, "sorry but it's a job that really needs someone with a lot more industry experience". They say ok.

And then they say they'll take pretty much anything that gets them a paycheck. Once they ask that, no matter what happens, it changes the relationship.

"And then they say they'll take pretty much anything that gets them a paycheck."

Uhhh... It's 2015, not 1935 :)

I am sure this can happen but most senior professionals right now have lots of options.

And then they say they'll take pretty much anything that gets them a paycheck.

Consider yourself lucky if you haven't had someone ask you for a job way 'under their pay grade'. Key here is the 'they say'. Of course they will quit within a month and leave you in the lurch if you do hire them...

And then they say they'll take pretty much anything that gets them a paycheck. Once they ask that, no matter what happens, it changes the relationship.

Does your every hire have to be seeking lifetime employment with your company?

As a 'friend', if you know the person is put into the position of having to ask for the entry-level job just to have an income coming in, then that is a person in need of your friendship. What is wrong with addressing this embarrasing part right up front? Since you are 'friends' and all, right?

Tell OOW Joe that you understand how hard it has to be for him to have to even ask you for the bs job and that -since he could probably perform the duties efficiently enough - that you will help him out and let him have the job if it will help him bridge his current situation until he finds something in his own field?

You get someone who can temporarily fill an open slot and you can take your linkedin recruitment ad offline for a bit.

And the relationship does not have to change.

I've done it twice, every time I was ever asked, once where it worked out and the friend learned a new trade and then after 5 years moved on but stayed in the industry, and another where it didn't work out.

In the first case even though it worked out, it was never really the same friendship. Let's say you're out late one mid-week evening, blowing off steam and guzzling (birch) beers with your pal/employee. When you decide that its getting late and announce that you are going to get some sleep to be fresh tommorow, it comes across as more than just your personal preference. Cause your the boss, no matter how you cushion it.

In the second case, ironically, my younger friend Michael and I now joke about when he worked for me as a Oracle programmer trainee for a month or so. Michael was definetly intelligent; an internationally ranked chess master he had an amazing memory, though he would be the first to admit he lacked any sort of business sense or desire to get some.

Anecdote: when he first started, I gave him a Unix command-line reference book and told him to memorize it. Which he promptly did in about a week. He told me he was ready to get on a real project, so I put him on one.

After a while a I asked him how it was going and he said not good. After memorizing the Unix commands book, he thought that was the actual job, not just a tool. He thought people were going to need his help to "cd - change directories" and "ls - list files" and "kill -9 terminate running jobs". Now he a professional poker player, go figure.

Throughout your career you make many acquaintances and friends through work. I have no problem recommending these individuals or even hiring them since the foundation of our friendship is work related and I can vouch for their work performance. However, it does get more complicated when the friendship is founded outside of work. It can work great or be a disaster and I have seen it go both ways.

It is important to keep a separation in business and friendship. There always has to be a line of understandng and respect . When you hire a friend it is very important to make sure to lay out the terms, policys,expectations upfront so as not to let go of any of your standards and tear down the other employees and communications lines created during employment .

Keeping and holding onto the different levels of respect is hard with friendships because you tend to let things go, look the other way, and not be as strick with policy's. (be carefree)

So I would say it really depends who, what, how long you have had the friendships, Charactor, and many other significant factors for relationships.

It would be like a marriage commitment ( some work and some don't ) different worlds

Be very carefull you dont forget what you really expect of them and let them know what they are in writing upfront .

Many friendships go by the wayside thru business relationships due to not really knowing who they are and finding out the character flaws in the business venture or partnership.

There always has to be a good understanding of what is expected and standards to be followed.

Like a well written company handbook or policy manual. Goals,Directives,Disciplines,Standards

No it doesn't work if you want to stay friends.

It's interesting that a day after I read an article about Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn, that this question comes up on IPVM. In an interview they mention an article where Hoffman "makes a case for hiring your friends". It's about mid-way down from this link..

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/22/8639717/reid-hoffman-the-alliance

I'd agree with Und B, it really depends on the type of person your friend is. You can have some types where it might be great, and some types it can be disastrous.

No absolutely not...however your questions is virtually not practicable to answer. Unless we could as an example envision what he looks like, how he acts, any why does he wants to work with you? Explain how he fits with your company as to justify hiring him?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: nooooooooo.

Best case scenario, you gain a good employee but your relationship is never the same, even after they leave.

More common scenario, your employeefriend screws up and you have to discipline or fire him or her. Friendship over.

Worst case scenario: you're unwilling or unable to fire or discipline your friendemployee, who then goes on to damage your business, your relationships with your other employees, your relationship with your customers, or all three.

Never hire friends or relatives. Get them jobs with your competitors, or your distributors or customers if you're really sure they won't screw up, but don't hire them. Never lend them money either- give them money, and if they can pay you back eventually, great. If not, no harm no foul.

An exception can be made if you want to partner with a friend. I've partnered with friends, and it worked out great as long as responsibilities were clearly delineated and the partnership could be dissolved at will by either party. If you know each others strengths and weaknesses, it could work out very well- and, of course, getting to hang out with your buddy all day long can be a lot of fun, if you are both task oriented people capable of focusing on the work at hand. But hiring a friend? Risky.

Never hire friends or relatives...

I guess we're just lucky your family didn't feel the same way... ;)

Yeah, well, they do now.

short answer: no.
Long answer: nooooooooo.

I laughed way too hard at that.