Better the devil you know: the pros and cons of hiring someone you know

Hiring someone you know

Better the devil you know: the pros and cons of hiring someone you know

Hiring family or friends can be tricky to navigate; both for yourself and the person you’re hiring. On paper it sounds great: you know their strengths and weaknesses and can count on them. But in reality, you’re running the risk of ruining personal relationships and having your business suffer if things were to go pear-shaped.

When it’s good it can be great, but when it’s bad, you’re the one with more to lose. It can cause a personal and professional headache, so let’s break down the pros and cons.


You save time – It takes an average of 27 days to complete a new hire. By hiring someone you know, you remove the long-winded process. You want to spend your time running your business and driving growth, so any time you can save is a big plus.

You know them – You’ll already know a lot about this person; their strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics. You know if they’re loyal, passionate, and trustworthy. Basically, you already know exactly what you’re getting. You also don’t run the risk of hiring someone who will ruin the office dynamic.

You’ll be giving them an opportunity – If you match someone you know with their perfect role in your business, you might change their life. Maybe you offer them the big break they’ve been waiting for or salvage their career after a difficult time. Either way, you’ll be giving something back.

They’ll be motivated to help you succeed – A friend or family member will want to prove hiring them was the right decision and will have a personal stake in your success. Because of this, they’ll work harder and may be more likely to go above and beyond.


You’re risking the relationship – If things go wrong, for any reason, you risk losing this person from your life. After hiring someone you know, your relationship will change, for better or worse.

Others’ perception – You could hire a friend and maintain the utmost professionalism at work, but others might still perceive it as favouritism. This could hurt their productivity and hurt your business.

Hard to establish boundaries – When you know someone personally, it might be hard to handle certain situations. How will you tell them what to do, criticise their work, or discipline them when necessary? Talking about finances will always be a difficult topic as well.

It’s a distraction – Having someone you know personally in the workplace can be a distraction for you. It’s all too easy to spend an extra ten minutes each day catching up on last night’s match or the latest drama. 

Hiring people you know should always be approached carefully. It can be amazing to bring in someone you know is perfect for a role and will fit in well with your team, especially if you set out some ground rules beforehand. But you’re risking a lot if things go wrong. Your personal and professional lives will intertwine and sometimes there’s no turning back. You could end up losing a cherished friend, encourage resentment within your team, or see business productivity go down the drain. 

At Big Hand, we offer expert advice on all things business. If you want help with hiring, we can make sure you’re making the best decision for yourself and the business. If you have any questions, get in touch on 0161 327 2911.

About the Author:

Since 2013, Sophie has been an integral part of the Big Hand team. As a social butterfly, Sophie is mostly responsible for introducing new clients to the company. If you’re an avid networking, you’re most likely to meet Sophie at local events. Alongside attracting new business, she also assists with account management, and she manages payroll on behalf of clients. For fun, Sophie loves to keep fit running or playing korfball with her team. She is also in the middle of learning a new language and so her most recent challenge is attempting to read Harry Potter in Dutch.