Small Business Hiring Tips: Problems of Hiring a Relative

… hire a relative of a client or customer.

In bigger firms, the practice is common — It’s a hard request to turn down, especially if it comes from a key account: “As a favor, could you have a look at my brother/son/cousin, who really needs a break. . .”

In a big company, even if the prospective new hire is a loser, there are likely enough corners of the company in which to stash him or her until boredom leads to resignation. And company secrets are much harder to find than in small businesses.

But the typical small business — as large as 50 employees — just can’t carry dead weight, and tends to let everyone at every level know an awful lot of confidential information that key clients should not be hearing over the dinner table.

So beg off — try it this way — “I’ll be happy to help you out, but you know we’re an awfully lean shop. I’ll call next time we have an opening, and let you know the special skills we need for the position.” That’s polite, but the message is clear — you just can’t afford to be that generous.

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