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By: Debra Kabalkin on March 10th, 2015

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Pros Vs. Cons of Hiring Your Friend at Work

Talent Acquisition

You have an open position at your company and your friend (or relative) approaches you about the job. Should you hire them?

As a manager you need to decide if the pros and cons of having your personal and professional life mix is something worth risking. 

First, you need to remember that regardless of how close you are with your friend, hiring them may change the friendship. If you hire your friend and they end up not working out, it could reflect poorly on you with supervisors and co-workers, which could impact how you feel about your friend. Or, it could harm your friendship/relationship outside of work. 

There are a couple of things you need to consider before you decide to hire a good friend of yours.  There are pros and cons to consider when making the decision, with the most obvious advantage being the benefit of working with someone who you know, trust and like well. Below are the top considerations:

Pros of Hiring a Friend:

  • You know they are trustworthy
  • You know their strengths and weaknesses
  • You know they are loyal
  • You will have someone around at work who you enjoy spending time with

Cons of Hiring a Friend:

  • They could take advantage of the friendship and not work as hard as you would like
  • Other employees may assume friends are being shown favoritism even if they aren’t
  • Giving feedback to a friend is even more difficult and/or they may not take you seriously
  • Problems at work may carry out of the office and vice versa

If you decide to hire a friend be sure and set a few ground rules in advance so there is a clear understanding of your expectations. These rules include: always act professional in the work place, while at work make sure your friend knows that you are the supervisor and not just friends, and if you feel like things aren’t working, talk about what you are feeling; don’t let things fester.

I don't think there is necessarily a right or wrong answer, as having friends at work can be a major benefit for engagement and productivity if you know you will work well together. Whatever you decide, make sure you weigh the pros vs. cons of how you two and the dynamics of your team will be impacted. Best of luck with your decision!