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Podcast Of The Week: The Founder’s Journal - Should I Hire My Friend?

Hiring my friend was one of the worst decisions I made.

Six months ago, I opened a paid internship program where I gathered applicants to hire interns who I can teach the work we do and help me in the business. One of the applicants was my friend.

He went through all of the hiring steps and did manage to pass all, including the interview. In order for us to work well, I established boundaries between personal and work life to make sure we don’t get caught up in between and end up ruining friendships (spoiler alert: friendship over).

Why it was a bad idea to hire my friend

Work was all good in the beginning until he started to keep on missing deadlines and avoid communicating in our work channels. Having to DM him on his personal account as a last resort just to get work done was something I hated doing. I've invested time and resources because even though he was giving low-quality of work, I still believed in him and that he can improve over time. Maybe he wasn't fit for the job or he wasn't trying at all but it didn't seem that way when he applied. It was putting more stress on me and a burden to other team members instead of helping to make the workload lighter.

To put the nail in the coffin, he ditched us. He suddenly stopped communicating out of the blue and wouldn’t reply. After one week of receiving nothing and just getting seen zoned, we declared AWOL (Away Without Official Leave). I really failed to see through his work personality during the hiring process and it's something I learned the hard way from.

In between what happened, we talked, but there was no personal problem that would’ve caused being him to suddenly ghost us and the last message I got was a reply to a follow-up on his overdue task, which said, “I’ll do it later.” Then we never heard from him.

How it’s going

To this day, we’re still friends on Facebook, and I see him share Asphalt 9 (game) cars in his posts.

Even if I was very disappointed, I didn’t block him just in case he would finally reach out and share what happened, maybe not as a co-worker but at least as a friend.

What I learned from The Founder’s Journal and this experience

As I scrolled through Alex Lieberman’s podcast, I instantly clicked on this episode because gosh the regret is still fresh! Listening to it made me learn three things:

  1. Don't do business with friends or family. Period.

  2. Family or not, make sure there’s value alignment. Not all of your team members can have the same passion as you do for your business, but they can be someone who believes in the core values your company has.

  3. When hiring, answer this question: Could I find someone better suited for this role? It should be a definitive “no”, meaning they’re perfect for the role.

Episode Quotes

“Make sure people show you rather than tell you how intellectually curious they are. Let them show you examples of how they’ve applied the technical skills you need for the role in practice or in life.” - Alex Lieberman

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