Recruiting Members of the Same Family

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Henry Brown 8 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #105854


    This is usually observed that most of the companies don’t permit to appoint siblings/spouses or other members belonging to the same family especially within the same department. The possible reason could be to avoid any chances of conflicts, favoritism and grouping in the office which can have a negative impact on the overall company’s environment.

    However, if such appointment takes place in different departments then it can be of a lesser concern for the employers because they will be working in different divisions, having dissimilar reporting lines with different sets of performance standards to be met. Nonetheless, the pros and cons associated with it should be understood because if it is identified and discussed in advance then there’s a probability that it can turn out to be a positive experience.

    Would like to know, what according to you are the pros and cons of recruiting members of the same family in the same department or otherwise? Besides, what factors would you consider if you were given an authority to make a decision under such circumstances?


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  • #105872

    Henry Brown

    I came from this environment, my first job was working for my Dad. It wasn’t until much later in my working life that I realized the minefield that he had to walk thru…

    Most organization do not permit family members to work in the same “chain of command” unless there is at least 3 degrees of separation which I agree with completely.

    Although even with the separation it in fact can become an issue if there is some sort of personal relationship between the different groups. But most of these issues can be dealt with easily by a degree of communication that does not permit these things to fester.

    I have had 2 of my children work for the same organization and my wife has done it twice. In all four cases I made sure that the person hiring knew of the relationship, and I tried to stay out of the process as much as possible so as to insure there was minimal conflicts anywhere in the process.

  • #105870


    Thanks for sharing your experience, Henry.


  • #105868

    Peter Sperry

    I could see where supervizing certain family members could be fun. On a hot day. When I could find work for them outside. With no shade. đŸ™‚

  • #105866

    Stephen Peteritas

    hmm this is an interesting question. I’m not sure I would want to work with a family member. I think keeping several checks and balances in the situation is pivotal. Normally I’m all about hiring the best person regardless of anything else but disrupting the balance of power in the work place can be a scary thought

  • #105864

    Henry Brown

    regarding the small business (less than 4 employees) the issue of favoritism is probably much less pronounced, probably a significant number of those companies are in fact what use to be called “Mom & Pop” business and doubt if it would be too much of a stretch to say that, at the very least, most of the these small companies could probably be called a family enterprise where maybe 1 of the employee is NOT a relative. And the one or two “outsider” employee usually goes into the organization with at least some awareness of the situation

    Regarding the marriage of employees working in the same environment/office, I can speak from experience; been awhile but when I met my spouse and started dating her it was suggested very strongly to me (since I was the junior employee, although she was NOT a supervisor) that I ought to consider seriously moving on to another employer if at all possible but they would consider the transfer of me to another facility within the company. I got a transfer to another division for the year that we had left with the company and “Management” was grateful enough, or perhaps that was their plan all along, but my spouse to me was shortly after promoted to a supervisory role in the original division.

    The loss/risk management issue has “always” been discussed with me and my family members, suspect for those leaders who give a hoot it probably goes back to the “Sullivan Brothers” in WWII Navy history…

    DOD has some rather strange rules regarding spouses working in the same unit. but suspect that is more a carry over from some rather ancient policy in the military, than any well thought out policy.

  • #105862

    Peter Sperry

    @ Harlan — Growing up I was able to see the dynamics of family businesses. My grandfather on my father’s side hired my uncle into his law firm. My greatgrandfather on my mother’s side hired my grandfather into his electric utility repair shop and one of my uncles hired his son into a small manufacturing business. In each and every case the younger relative was expected to work like dog for less money than the rest of the hired staff because a) they were family, b) they were being trained(?) and c) they were going to inherit the business. In every case the business was worth zip by the time it was ready to move to the next generation. There are many myths about family businesses but I’ve noticed that mine is not the only one that where older generations work the crap out of younger with vague promises of inheritance.

    Obviously this would be much different in a corporate or government environment but I would bet there would still not want to work for a relative.

  • #105860

    Mark Hammer

    There are a few aspects to this:

    1) The possibility, or perception, that such hiring does not meet the criteria for a “merit-based” hire. The prototypic case is hiring the idiot son-in-law….as seen on stage and screen.

    2) The possibility, or perception, that familial relationships will somehow impede speaking truth to power. In other words, a family connection creates its own sort of conflict of interest.

    3) The possibility, or perception, that there is simply no point in aspiring to move up, or around, in the organization, because such positions are effectively “reserved” for family members. The impact is not unlike what Jeffery Pfeffer noted about always bringing in outside talent for senior positions. At a certain point, your internal talent pool stops thinking about their future in the organization, and loses interest in acquiring organizational knowledge that might be leverageable in management positions.

    Sometimes, such hiring patterns can appear to exist for reasons unrelated to nepotism. For example, we’ve seen that the folks who get hired into student programs in the Canadian federal government tend to have family members already employed as public servants. That pattern would seem to occur because students whose parents are already in government are more likely to know about these programs, and more likely to receive good guidance about how to apply successfully.

    In some instances, the likelihood of hiring people with the same family name is greater in smaller district offices or areas where the local talent pool is constrained. Some regions also tend to have a few dominant family names, enough that you can know where they hail from just by knowing their last name.

    Finally, EVERY manager wants to know they can trust the people who work for them. Not to suggest that family members ARE more intrinsically trustworthy, but I can certainly see how somebody might feel that picking a relation rovides some assurance of trustworthiness and cooperation, conceivably by virtue of reason #2 above.

  • #105858


    One big con is the gossip it causes. I’ve seen employees take it to the extreme — why the person was hired, where they got “placed” in the organization, who the next relative is rumored to come aboard next time in their family, etc. Doesn’t matter if it is true or not, gossip spreads fast in the grapevine which in unfortunate.

  • #105856


    I work in the same place that my mother does, but we work in completely different areas. I can say that one of the biggest factors to take into account is that (no matter who they are related to) they still need to be judged on individual performance. I can’t tell you the number of meetings that I go to where I get, “Oh! You’re so-and-so’s daughter!” The worst was going to a high level manager’s meeting and being introduced as “so-and-so’s daughter.” I don’t feel that it plays a role in my everyday work because we are in different areas, but if I’m lucky enough to have a meeting with upper management, I want it to be for the work I do and not have people thinking about my mom.

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