Why is it so tempting to hire friends/family?

It’s an age old problem, but the real quandary is: You can provide opportunity, and friends and family may be in need, how do you deal with this situation? How dissuade them from wanting to work with/for you?

Thank you for your input.

Edit: Thank you all for the input! Much appreciated.

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  1. It’s tempting to hire friends/family as you have a foundation and past history. This might include factors just as knowing their personality and trust factors. If a family/friend approaches you for work and you don’t want to proceed along. Just let them know the requirements of the job that they don’t have. Shouldn’t be hard to list of requirements they’re lacking as you already know them. No one would want to take the job if you’re pointing out in the beginning it will just end in disaster.

  2. It’s human nature to want to help someone out you know/like/love. Only becomes a problem when it overshadows their qualifications and suitability for that particular job.

  3. Just don’t do it. When you’re hiring someone you have to be prepared to fire them and sour the relationship – if you can’t do that with family then forget about it.


    And just be honest you want to keep family and business separate, people will understand. What will be more difficult is making a bad decision and then trying to undo it.

  4. The fact you ask “tempting” and not “beneficial” should answer your question. It’s tempting because it sounds fun, but entertainment at work means less attention to the work. Beware, friends/family may not actually help you with work.

    Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard
    “Oh, I know the manager”
    “The manager is my friend”
    “Manager would side with me, because I’m (family)” 😬😬

  5. You don’t do it, because you (hopefully) Value your relationship with that friend/family member more than putting it at risk by hiring or firing or partnering with them. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

    Unless you’re willing to never be able to talk to that particular person/burn the bridge with them. They will never, ever look at your business the same way as you will as the owner.

  6. Of my experience, I would not hire a friend or family for work. But it is depending on many situation and especially about the relationships & communication. How much ppl keep their words? Minimum mandatory is have a contract with them.

  7. Man, everyone in this thread is being so absolute about never working with family. There are obviously times and places where it can work wonderfully. How many successful family businesses are out there? A lot. I’ve seen some wildly successful ones first hand (I went to a private college prep school). I also hire my nephew from time to time for contract technician work and he works better than other technicians I have paid much more for. Friends and family are known quantities. You know how reliable they’ll be. You know their skill set. They can’t hide their history.

    However, you must put family and friends through the same rigorous vetting process as anyone else. And if they don’t perform, you must respond to them like everyone else: kindly, rationally, and firmly. The wording in your post implies you want to hire them as a favor. No. Bad. If they are a good match for the position, hire away. But don’t do anyone any favors. My partner calls this a “bear favor,” meaning you actually hurt them by trying to help them. If they can earn their keep, no problem. But if not, do them and you a favor and don’t pursue it. They need to learn how to add value to the world.

    SMH, all these people who apparently get through life without learning how to be honest and communicate with their families…

  8. Of course it’s tempting to hire your friends/family and the biggest reason behind this is because it’s convenient. It’s easy. You already know the person. What’s important to think about it that you might be missing out on people who have higher competent in this specific area. You might hire your family member cause they’re looking for a job and you have an open position. But in reality you’re missing out on all the people that are geniuses in that area. Choose your team wisely. Good luck bro

  9. I personally have hired family in business and it can work BUT rules have to be in place:


    1. Don’t hire someone you cannot fire. Make it clear from Day 1 that even though they are a family member, you don’t mix business with pleasure. If you don’t have the balls to fire them at some point, then don’t hire them.
    2. Rules of engagement. Treat them the same as any other employee. Don’t do favors or keep things loose with them. Treat them with respect and professionalism but at the same time, keep the same expectations as any other employee. Make it clear to them. They should not treat you any different than employer as well and neither should you.
    3. Do not discuss personal life with them while at work. It can get tempting BUT it is better not to bring personal life at work. With family, it gets difficult but if you can set those boundaries, it is ok.

    TL;DR: You can hire family and have some great results but you need to be strict about certain rules and have a lot of grit and will power. One of the best employees at our company is a family member.

  10. Because we’re all caring. I’ve had quite a few friends ask for jobs and I always feel like a jerk knowing I can help but choose not to. It’s an interesting way of putting it and now I feel worse lol.

  11. I think it has to do with the fact that things work so well in one aspect of life with them that you think working with them will be the same. But from reading others comments here it sounds like the best way to provide for your friends and family is to build a foundation for yourself, then help them indirectly (not through offering a path that worked for you. ie, a job)

    Let them know that the endeavor you’re in right now can’t take on anyone else. Or maybe ask them for some money to put in and that will dissuade them.
    Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to say no.

  12. Culturally we are not nepotistic.

    But in reality over 80% of NYSE and nany others are family controlled.

    Family businesses have enormous advantages compared to regular hires. Of course there are downsides.

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