Things to consider before hiring a friend

Is hiring a friend a good idea?

Finding qualified people to hire for your business can be quite challenging for everyone. Moreover, if you are a new entrepreneur and you don’t have previous experience in hiring people, this may become a nightmare. The first thought can easily be to hire someone you already know; a friend you can trust. But are you really prepared to face the consequences? Here are some things to seriously consider before hiring a friend.

1. Are you able to evaluate him/her objectively?

When interviewing someone you don’t know, you can easily be objective and you can examine his/her CV. You can even be hard and demanding. But when reviewing your friend’s work experience and abilities, can you really be unbiased? Or is your judgement clouded by your personal relationship with this person? A serious question you have to ask yourself. It can be really hard to set your feelings aside. You may even consider asking someone else to evaluate him/her and tell you their opinion.

2. Can you separate work from personal matters?

Hiring a friend can be really tricky, since you already have a personal relationship. You need to play completely different roles at work and in your friendship. In the workplace you are the boss, you are the one in command. You are setting the rules that everyone has to follow. You are in charge. In your personal life, roles are completely different, you may be equal or you may even be the weaker member in your friendship, the one who needs help or support most of the times. You may express your fears or you show your weaknesses. You can’t do that as a boss. So, you see that you may face some difficult situations, while trying to separate your friendship from your work. Are you prepared to do that separation? And, above all, can you do that?

3. Is your friend ready to work for you?

You may be able to get over your personal matters and you may switch easily into a boss role. But what about your friend? Can he/she see you as a boss? Will he/she be able to take orders from you? What will happen if you make a remark about his/her work performance? All very serious questions. You should also think about his/her behavior towards the other employees. The fact that he/she is your friend should never become an excuse to perform worse than others or to treat them snobbishly.

4. Can you treat him/her the way you treat other employees?

On the other hand, you should never treat your friend differently than your other employees. Are you prepared to do that? And what will the consequences be in your personal relationship? You have also to consider how you are going to deal with a possible falling out in your friendship. This will make your work relationship very awkward.

5. Are you prepared to lose a friend?

This is the real and most serious question you have to ask yourself. Most of the times, unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to keep a good friendship and a good work relationship. Usually work situations have negative effects on personal relationships, so the most common thing is that you will end up ruining your friendship. Are you prepared to risk this, in order to hire your friend?

After considering all the above, if you decide to go on and hire a friend, make sure to make some things clear from the beginning. Be very specific and clear on what you expect from him/her. You should both be prepared to face some difficult situations and some strong emotions! Work stress can test even the longest and strongest relationships. Can you handle it?

If you asked my opinion, I would avoid hiring a friend. What about you? I will gladly read your comments on the subject!

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42 thoughts on “Things to consider before hiring a friend”

  1. So true!! I know people who have actually fallen out over business and had been friends for years previous to it. Its a tricky situation, I think you both have to be on the same page and weigh out everything before going into business or doing anything together. Really great read, thanks for sharing your views, I agree with them all 🙂

    1. It’s a difficult situation. I have known many friendships that ended after a business associtation too. Thank you! 🙂

  2. I think that this is a very serious decision. It is a very awkward situation when your friend is looking for a job and you are looking for an employee. Maybe I would hire my friend but I would be very honest with him/her that he/she will be treated the same way others employers are. Very informative article Rodanthi, thank you!!

    1. I think it’s difficult, if not impossible, to hire a friend and keep a good personal relationship as well. Thank you! 🙂

  3. I have had to do it before and I find it awkward, especially if you can’t hire your friend it could cause problems if she is not the best fit for the brand/company!

    1. Yes, it’s very awkaward. I have been avoiding it, but I know many cases when someone hired a friend and he/she had to face many problems. Thank you. 🙂

  4. That is a tricky question! Good that you pointed out the facts. A friend is hiring people to the company where she works and a couple of months ago she hired her friend there. So far there haven’t been problems but last time I saw her she wasn’t so sure if it was the right thing to do.

  5. Agree with all your points I can never be comfortable hiring a friend for I would not be able to discuss the do and donts and improvements with him/her. And definitely it is a risk of losing a very good friend.

  6. Yes, I can see this being a difficult situation. Probably similar to hiring family. Also, it can make things awkward for the other co-workers wondering why someone got a job (skill vs. who they know).

  7. Great questions especially the asking are you ready to lose a friend? I think you always have to take that into consideration when you are dealing with business matters. I am very selective and because of experience keep getting more and more selective! 🙂

  8. All of the above points are good points to consider. I personally wouldn’t hire a friend as I’m not sure I could treat them like a normal employee.

    1. A tricky decision indeed! Unfortunately, most of the times work matters cause problems to a friendship.

  9. I’m an HR practitioner so I read your post w/ keen interest. Your post is straight forward and factual. Politicians and biz people should seriously consider what you have mentioned here.

  10. Hiring a friend is a difficult decision. I think it all comes down to what you are like, and what they are like. Could they take criticism/orders from you, etc. I know lots of people who work together and are great friends, but I just think it depends.

    1. It’s a difficult situation and if they are managing to keep also their friendship intact, they are remarkable!

  11. all great questions to ask before hiring a friend… it’s such a touchy subject! I’ve seen friendships end because a person had to let a friend go, they never spoke again… that’s crazy!

    1. Yes, I’ve seen many friendships end due to work matters as well. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend hiring a friend.

  12. My mother always says not to mix up these things. And I agree with her. Hiring a friend, or a neighbor can have plenty of negative consequences, unfortunately.

    1. Your mother is right – mothers are right most of the times, even if we don’t want to admit it sometimes, haha. It’s a difficult situation.

  13. You are right that objectivity is key. If you can look at the situation with outside eyes and see if it’s still a god fit, and if you can treat them just like any other employee (which is hard), then it’s something to consider.

    1. I think it’s almost impossible to treat a friend the same as the other employees without ruining your friendship.

  14. This is so true! I know couple of friends who I would hire or recommend to other people, but also some who I know wouldn’t be so good and responsible workers :/

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