Friends Don’t Let Friends Hire Them — Or Do They?

Imagine this: your company has just hired your best friend or roommate. What used to be a relationship that was carried out after working hours has become a ride to work together, 9 – 5, hang out after work constant companionship. You even dream about them.

Yes, this is a worst case scenario, but in most instances, this is what you can expect when you hire a friend.

Not only are you constantly together, but you see another side to them that you may not have seen before. You see their weaknesses as a professional, perhaps their inability to meet deadlines or their disregard for a client’s wants and needs. Essentially, hiring your best friend to work on your team isn’t advisable.

So when does it work out? Typically, when your friend or roommate is working in an entirely different department from you. It’s like having a built-in lunch buddy, right?

But let’s be honest, there will be times when you have to chalk up your reservations for the betterment of your friend. Let’s say a position becomes available on your team, and it’s more than a good job for which your friend meets all of the qualifications. It’s like this job was made for him or her. What then?

Have a frank conversation. Before they start, sit down as friends and talk about what your working relationship should look like. Set times in the day when it’s okay to be friends — first thing in the morning, lunch, at the end of the day. Otherwise, agree to view and treat one another as merely co-workers the rest of the time. It’s not easy, but you’ll both need to actively work to separate your feelings as friends from what’s necessary as professionals to create an ideal working relationship.

Look for the good in your friend. As a fellow team member, you’re inevitably going to be exposed to the professional weaknesses of your friend. And as a friend, it will be all too easy to focus on the bad, changing your perception of that person entirely. As a professional and co-worker, you must rise above their perceived weaknesses and look at the positives. Co-workers and team members have their moments of frustration with one another, and we all usually move on. Grant your friend the same immunity.

Know when to call it quits. If it all begins going downhill, surrender to the circumstances. This calls for another frank conversation with your friend, and unfortunately, his or her termination. But it doesn’t have to end badly. Chances are, your friend is quite aware that it’s not working out either. In this case, make a professional decision, but communicate it as their friend. They’ll most likely need a hug from someone who cares about them once it’s all over.

Are you currently working or have you worked with a friend? What was the experience like for you? Share your stories in the comments below!