30 July 2013

Should You Employ your Friends?

Follow Federico Hernandez-Ruiz

Source, creative recruitment specialists in London, investigate whether you should employ

your friends.

Should you employ your friends? You get on well with them outside of work; can this translate to the working environment? What if they are the best possible fit for the job, should you discount them because of your friendship? We look at the pros and cons of employing friends, and offer some advice on how to give your friendship and working relationship the best chance of success.

Received wisdom has it that you should never employ your friends. Horror stories abound of broken friendships, nepotism and betrayal when friends are employed in the workplace. Yet many of us form strong friendships with our colleagues and socialize with them outside of work, so why shouldn’t this work in reverse? Why shouldn’t you hire friends if they’re the perfect fit for the role?

A colleague shared with me their experience of how employing a friend can go horribly wrong. She hired a friend to work as a photo editor in her department. Although the friend had the right qualifications and experience for the role, my colleague’s primary motivation was to give her friend a much needed break. Needless to say, this got them off on the wrong foot with her friend feeling indebted to her new boss. On top of this, neither party had addressed how they would handle their new relationship and things quickly deteriorated.

Consider the Pros and Cons Before You Employ Your Friends

Although the stories of disaster tend to outweigh the positive ones, there are tales of friendships becoming successful working relationships. Therefore I would not discount employing a friend if they are the best fit for the job. However if you do, both parties need to enter into this with their eyes wide open.

Why You Should Not Employ Your Friends

The nature of your relationship will change to employer / employee.

How do you feel about giving orders, disciplining, or even firing your friend?

What about accusations of favoritism and nepotism from other members of staff?

What if your friend does not pull their weight? What if they take advantage of their friendship with you?

What if you have a personal falling out with your friend, how will it impact at work?

Benefits of Employing Your Friends

Most likely you have a similar ethos and vision that can be translated into your working relationship.

You have prior knowledge of their capabilities, including those that are not necessarily reflected in a CV.

You understand and trust each other.

You get on.

How to Employ Your Friends and Not Mess Up

With so many variables it’s impossible to guarantee that any working relationship will be successful. However there are things you can do to minimize the chances of destroying your friendship and having a negative impact at work.

Have a frank and honest conversation with your friend about the problems you may encounter. What are your concerns, what are theirs, what concerns do other members of staff have?

Get someone else involved in the recruitment process. Whether this is a professional contact, a colleague or a recruiter you need an unbiased opinion as to whether your friend is the best fit for the role.

Treat your friend as you would any other potential candidate or employee. Define roles, responsibilities, compensation, and get it all in writing.

Set up a system to review your working relationship in a non-confrontational way. It may be worth nominating a third-party to help mentor you both should any issues arise.

Be transparent about your friendship and mutual history. Other members of staff may feel threatened by your relationship if you employ your friends and being secretive will only create gossip and discord.

Be professional. It’s great when colleagues all get on well together and employing friends can enhance this. However in the workplace you are colleagues, outside you are mates.

Top image from Imgembed.

This piece is cross-posted from Source—a London based recruitment agency specializing in advertising and creative roles.