Should You Hire a Friend or Family Member?

When it comes to hiring a friend or family member, opinions are often divided. Some people believe it can lead to strained relationships, while others see it as an opportunity to work with people they trust the most.

In this post, we’ll explore the topic of hiring friends or family and provide insights into making informed decisions that benefit your business. We’ll address the importance of setting clear expectations, focusing on qualifications (no matter their affiliation with you), and the potential risks involved.

Yaniv Masjedi
CMO, Nextiva

Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business

Make Smart Hiring Decisions

Focus on Qualifications

Before you consider hiring anybody, you need to know they can actually do the job that you need them to do. This goes double for friends and family. If you can’t get past that first hurdle, the consideration should cease right then and there.

To ensure a successful hire, it is essential to thoroughly evaluate the candidate’s track record. This involves assessing their past accomplishments, reviewing their professional achievements, and considering their overall experience in the relevant field.

When you think of the likelihood that anyone you hire may not be fit for the job, ask yourself why you think hiring a family member reduces the odds of it possibly failing.

Even without the friend/family member component, 74% of employers believe they hired the wrong candidate for a position at some point or another:


It’s natural to feel inclined toward hiring someone with whom you share a personal connection. But it is more important not to let these connections cloud your judgment.

Regardless of personal ties, the ultimate goal should always be to find the best fit for the job. By focusing on qualifications, you ensure that you are making a decision based on merit and suitability rather than solely relying on personal relationships.

In the pursuit of hiring the most qualified individual, you demonstrate your commitment to creating a productive and efficient work environment.

Learn More: Quick and Simple Tips for Hiring a Marketer in 2023

Setting the Right Expectations

In hiring a family member or friend, one of the key ingredients for a successful outcome is setting clear expectations straight out of the gate.

While the idea of working with those closest to us can be appealing, it’s essential to establish a framework that differentiates the personal from the professional. This becomes particularly important when hiring family members for work.

Blurring the lines between the professional and personal realms can lead to complications down the road.

It’s crucial that all parties involved fully understand and embrace the nature of the professional arrangement. Clearly communicate your expectations and the level of professionalism required to satisfy the job role.

Emphasize that while there is a personal connection, the dynamics of the working relationship should be treated with the same seriousness and commitment as any other employee.

If you treat your friend or family member as you would any other employee, you demonstrate fairness and create an environment that promotes equality. Establishing boundaries and expectations upfront fosters a healthy work environment where everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities.

Be direct and honest with them about what to do if things don’t pan out the way you intended. There has to be an escape plan that both parties are on board with to help protect the relationship if it doesn’t work out.

Learn More: 7 Tips to Hire the Best SEO Freelancer for Your Business

Are They a Good Learner and a Good Cultural Fit?

In addition to qualifications, there are two significant questions to ask yourself that contribute to the success of a family member or friend hire:

  • Are they a good cultural fit?
  • Are they able to learn quickly and independently?

These points play a huge role in determining whether a friend or family member will thrive at your organization.

Cultural fit refers to the alignment between the values, beliefs, and work ethic of an individual and the company’s culture:

Company culture - perfect fit

Like any other candidate, you should apply that consideration process for your friends and family if you are considering hiring them. Try to learn the following details about them:

  • Assess whether the friend or family member shares your company’s values.
  • Determine their ability to integrate well with the existing team.
  • Evaluate their compatibility with the organization’s work ethic and beliefs.

Additionally, they have to be competent enough to retain information and learn from their surroundings. In other words, you don’t want to be spoon-feeding them every step of the way.

Look out for the following character traits in them:

  • Assess the friend or family member’s capacity to adapt and learn independently.
  • Consider their ability to acquire new skills without excessive support.
  • Look for a strong learning mindset and proactive attitude towards self-improvement.

Striking the right balance between these factors will enable you to make an informed hiring decision that aligns with your company’s values and isn’t clouded by relational biases.

Learn More: How to Onboard New Hires

Navigating Potential Challenges

In the event that the professional relationship doesn’t work out as expected, it’s important to handle the situation with honesty and professionalism.

Avoid letting personal biases or emotions dictate your decisions. Instead, focus on the business needs and make choices based on what is best for the organization as a whole.

Communicate openly with the individual involved, expressing your concerns and discussing potential solutions. If the decision is made to part ways, emphasize that it is a business decision and not a reflection of personal feelings or bias.

Throughout the entire process, it is crucial to maintain open communication channels. Encourage regular check-ins and feedback sessions to address any issues promptly and prevent them from escalating.

Managing Relationships and Professionalism

When it comes to friends and family in the workplace, it’s absolutely critical to maintain a balance between personal connections and professionalism. While these relationships may bring a sense of familiarity and comfort, it’s essential to remember that success or failure in the workplace is not solely determined by these connections.

Here are some key points to consider when navigating these dynamics:

  • Ignore bias: Treat your friends or family members with the same level of professionalism, fairness and impartiality as you would any other employee. Avoid favoritism or bias based on personal relationships.
  • Set goals: Establish clear channels for discussing performance, goals, and expectations. Regularly provide feedback to help them improve and grow professionally.
  • Set boundaries: Clearly delineate between personal and professional matters. During working hours, focus on work-related discussions and responsibilities. Maintain professionalism and avoid letting personal matters interfere with business operations.
  • Plan for the worst: If conflicts arise, address them promptly and professionally. Seek resolutions that prioritize the best interests of the organization while preserving personal relationships outside of work.
  • Lead: As a leader, set the tone for professionalism and integrity. Demonstrate to your team that personal connections do not compromise the values and standards of your organization.
  • Collaborate: Encourage open dialogue and foster a culture of mutual respect. Emphasize that success is achieved through a combination of individual contributions, teamwork, and merit.

Learn More: 7 Questions to Make Sure Your Next Marketing Hire Is a Slam Dunk

Last Word on Whether or Not to Hire a Friend or Family Member

The decision to hire friends or family members for your business requires careful consideration.

These kinds of arrangements can be prone to crashing and burning if they aren’t set up with precautions from the onset, and even then, they can still go awry.

One of the biggest pills you may have to swallow in considering hiring a friend or family member is that you may have to accept that if the working arrangement doesn’t pan out well, you may either damage the relationship or lose it entirely. This should be the ultimate measurement of whether it is worth trying it out or not.

Again, the goal is to find the best fit for the job, no matter what their relationship is with you.

A lot of the time, good talent will likely exist outside of your friends or family. So ask yourself: Is it worth the risk?

By approaching the hiring process professionally and devoid of emotional tugs, you can ensure that personal relationships remain intact while benefiting your business through qualified hires.

Make Smart Hiring Decisions


Repurposed from our Marketing School podcast.

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