As a small business owner, you are in a great position to offer people in your community the ability to support themselves and their families by providing them with a job. But what happens when the person asking to work for you is someone you know personally? What if it is a family member or friend?
This can definitely be a sticky situation because business dealings can hurt personal friendships and relationships, whether intended or not. Therefore, if you find yourself in the position of having someone you know asking you for a job, there are three questions you’re going to want to ask yourself before having them fill out their tax forms and ordering the nameplate for their door.
Are They Qualified?
This one should go without saying, but there are many times that family and friends make emotional pleas that cause us to want to abandon our business codes of conduct just to help them out. However, in the end, you are responsible for whether or not your small business dream survives or dies, so which one would this person most likely lead you toward?
If the person clearly isn’t qualified, then you shouldn’t feel bad about not extending a position. Business is business and if they don’t understand that, then they aren’t a very close or supportive friend or family member to begin with.
On the contrary, if the person is qualified, Monster.com suggests that you clearly define the roles and expectations up front. Let them know what they would be responsible for and what you do so there are no fuzzy lines. Also, put everything in writing so you don’t have to worry about he said she said, potentially hurting your relationship and your business.
Do You Do the Hiring?
If you aren’t involved in the hiring process at all, whether you have someone that does that for you or a whole human resources department, you can remove yourself from the process completely. Simply ask your family member or friend to fill out an application and give it to the person responsible for interviewing and hiring, then let the cards fall where they may. That way, if the person gets the job, it will be because they should have and if they don’t, well then, so be it.
On the other hand, if you do all of your hiring, then you aren’t going to have someone else to hand the application and decision off to. To help yourself make the best decision for your business possible, you might want to bring a manager or colleague in on the interview with you, as they might be able to pick up on things that you don’t see. Plus, it gives you someone else to help decide whether or not the person should be hired for the job.
Will They Report Directly to You?
Again, if the person that you know will be reporting to one of your managers, then it may be easier to hire them since you won’t be responsible for their day to day work matters. However, in this instance, it may also help to make sure your manager knows that you expect no special favors. This is necessary to not create dissention among all of your other employees.
And if the position is a direct report to you, Alison Green from Ask A Manager suggests that you consider whether or not you can provide objective feedback to them. Think about whether you would be able to say what needed to be said regardless of your relationship. Worst case scenario, what if you had to fire this person? Could you do it? If not, then you’re probably better off not hiring him or her to begin with.
There are no easy answers when it comes to hiring someone you know, so go with your gut. If it tells you not to do it, then listen. It is often smarter than you think.