Question—What should we do when we need to hire a person who is not a member of our family?

Answer—Look very carefully to find a person who will fit well into your family and do your job well too.

This task is probably the most often questioned in family businesses.  Family members are limited in number but the number of jobs in your business could easily outnumber your family members.

Many families hire friends

Most have hired a person they know.  Most people they know either quit or are let go in the first three to six months of their employment.  Hopefully, they have learned some attributes they do not want to have in their employees.  That is according to discussions with family who have hired their neighbors.  They discover that they have not thought enough about the job and the person they want to work with them.

Here is a process

That has been shown to work

By many families

First: Write out the job requirements of all your family members: parents, and children.

This will take a while but without it you really do not know what your family really does in your busines.  And with it you can more easily see how your job functions fit together.

Second: Write out a description which jobs in your family need help.  State specifically what help is needed.  Be as specific as you can.

Third: Write a job description for the position you wish to fill.  Be careful that you describe a realistic position rather than a dream that solves all your work needs.  State the salary you intend to pay.

Fourth: Take that job description to an employment agency and ask their opinion of the probability you will be able to find a person to fit your job at the salary you want to pay.

You may need to use their comments to rewrite your job description.

Remember, you have not yet tested your community to find the right person for your needs.   And your salary estimate may be too frugal or too generous.  Don’t forget the benefits package, for many, what is benefits are included are a bigger factor than the salary.

Try filling a part-time job

Or jobs

Before you think about filling a

Full-time position

Fifth: Spend time together to arrive at a description of all the personal characteristics you want this new person to possess.

This task is more important

and more difficult to describe

than the job duties you want to fill.

Remember: you have not even talked to a person about your position and you do not know yet if that person really exists.

Sixth:  Go back to the employment agency or use the Internet to find applicants for the position you describe.

Seventh: Interview that person with everyone present.  Have your questions written down (personal attributes to look for as well).  Ask the prospective person about their background.  Show them your business.  Ask them how they think they will fit in tasks and do they think they will fit into the family and how.  Do not discuss the personal attributes you are looking for, observe their behavior.  Ask the candidate if they are interested in your position.  If they are interested, invite them back.  Tell them you will want them to work with the family in a task you have designed

Have Questions?

Resolving many such complicated issues requires experienced professionals with extended experience working with family businesses.

If you have questions or would like to follow up and learn more, get in touch.


Eighth: Before you invite them for a second interview, discuss what you think about how they will likely interact with your family.  Spell out a task you will ask them to do with your family in a second interview.

Ninth:  Perform the task with the interviewee.  Discuss with them the interactions you have observed and ask for their reactions.  Children then vote to hire or not.  Mother then father confirm the children’s consensus.

Congratulations.  Not only have you expanded your business capabilities and personnel.  But you have also brought your family closer together in a process that is openly loving and democratic.

A long trip that shows why being a family business is worth the effort.