Friends & Family Hires & Internal Referrals

With the unemployment rate dipping to record lows, it has been difficult for businesses to fill open positions. Management and HR may lean more heavily on Employee Referral Programs to fill these positions, or even hire friends and family members. These two options may seem like a no brainer; it saves time and money. However, it is important to note the risks of these particular hires and furthermore, how to manage them once they go through the on-boarding process.

Read further for tips on how to manage internal referrals & hiring friends and family:

Employee Referral Programs

  • First and foremost, if you have an ERP, make sure your staff is aware of its incentives and has access to the details of each open job. To get the best matched referrals, staff should be able to easily share the job duties, desired skill-sets, and requirements for each open position.
  • You should always perform pre-screening on every referral. This doesn’t mean you have to bring in every referral to interview just because they came from a trusted staff member. Remember, you have a reputation to uphold so always conduct a thorough review and contact each referral with your decision. Each referral should go through the same vetting process as all of your job applicants.
  • With LinkedIn and other social accounts making it so easy to pool unknown candidates, be mindful of who is referring candidates and how many they are referring to make sure it isn’t just to receive the incentive or bonus. If you’re being flooded with disingenuous connections with unqualified candidates implement a system where relationship context is documented by the referral. This will help weed out less serious or incompatible referrals that eat up valuable time.


Hiring Family and Friends

  • There is no special treatment for family and friends. Practicing favoritism pushes employees apart and creates a negative environment. All employees should be held to the same standards and expectations. Be sure to clearly communicate job duties expectation of goals and behaviors in the workplace.
  • Be sure to measure their performance and their successes the same way you measure all employees’ contributions. Be aware that since this employee is a friend or family member, your interactions should be work appropriate and free of bias.  Treat these employees the same way you treat all other staff members.
  • Employees will talk amongst themselves and even disclose information such as their salaries and compensations. Make sure that friends and family members are fairly compensated and that their pay scale and benefits align with the company’s overall benefits package and wage scale for all other staff members.