Should You Hire Your Kid?

Hiring your child into your company can be tricky, but it can be successful if handled properly. The handling properly part is what often can cause problems.

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“As challenging as it may be, you need to view them the same as the other employees,” says Chris Dardis, VP of HR Consulting at Versique, an executive search firm. “If you hire your son or daughter, be mindful to not over inflate their abilities, but also do not underestimate what they are capable of. Keep in mind that while they are your child, if hired to your company, they are a crucial part of making the company successful.”

Lori Freeman, President of Inside Talent, a corporate recruiting and search firm that hires local and national talent in the manufacturing, engineering, medical device, sales and management, marketing and human resources industries hired her daughter while she was in college.

“I was pretty casual about it and didn’t set expectations like I have with other employees, so it was challenging,” says Freeman.

That’s why, when hiring a child, Freeman highly recommends emphasizing with your child – and potential new employee – that you have the exact same expectations and guidelines as you would any other employee.

“If you feel that you won’t stick to that or your child might take advantage of your personal relationship then I would not advise getting into it,” says Freeman.

But even when expectations are in place, it does change the relationship, both Mike Mazzarino and Scott Cohen, say, in the article Big Question for the Family Biz: Should You Hire Your Kid?

“It’s the rare parent who can look at his child and be brutally honest in assessing the child’s ability to succeed and be content,” says Mazzarino, a partner in executive-level consultancy for The SCA Group. Cohen, vice president of Rush Index Tabs, which was founded by his father, added “No matter how fantastic your relationship is, once your child works for you, it’s going to put stress on the relationship.”

Before deciding to hire your child, consider some of these scenarios brought to attention in the U.S. News and World Report article 10 Things to Consider Before Working With Your Child:

  1. Is he or she enthusiastic?
  2. Is he or she a promising employee?
  3. Have you considered the implications for your personal relationship?
  4. What happens if the professional poisons the personal?
  5. Have you explained that special privileges will be nonexistent?

This scenario is going to present challenges no matter how you look at it and how you prepare, says Vicky Oliver author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions (Skyhorse) and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers and Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks).

“Just as working side by side with a spouse will challenge the relationship, so will hiring your child,” says Oliver. “Questions of authority abound. On the job, the dad or mom must have absolute authority. The kid needs to carry himself or herself with the same comportment as everyone else. The child should assume that he or she will receive no special privileges and may even get worse assignments than everyone else on staff. I think, with clear cut boundaries, it can work. It’s just nuanced.”

Should you hire your child? Yes you should, but set clear expectations before doing so. And realize the positives and negatives before saying yes, you’re hired.

“Businesses need to make decisions based on what’s best for the company – whether that be promoting or letting go – and the same is true if you hire your child,” says Dardis.

Written by

Kylie Anderson is an L.A.-based writer who covered employment trends for the ZipRecruiter blog.

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