How to tactfully handle ‘Hire my relative’ pleas

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in Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

 Q. “What would be the best way to tell an employee we don’t want to hire her daughter? We’ve had her as a temp, but never would’ve hired her for a full-time job.” — Tina, Tennessee

Answers from readers of our online HR Specialist Forum:

Keep it professional

“Simply thank her for recommending her daughter and let her know that after interviewing several candidates you will hire the person most suitable for the job. End of story.” — Alex

Clarify qualifications in writing

“We had an employee who pressured us to hire both her son and daughter, neither of whom were really qualified. She’s important to the company and we didn’t want to upset her. So we wrote up the specific qualifications for each position, and showed her. It was obvious to her that her kids didn’t have what was necessary. She lobbied for us to change our standards, but we kept telling her we would not lower our standards because it would be detrimental to our company. It took awhile, but she finally understood. Having it in writing was the key.” — Janet

Set an ‘Ask, don’t tell’ policy

“We discuss the status of an applicant only with the applicants themselves ... not their parent, spouse, etc.” — Tobi

“Agree 100% with Tobi. I process referrals like any other applications and I would never discuss an applicant status with an employee. This scenario is no different. Thank her for the referral and that is all. She will eventually get it. Stick to your same response every time.” — Rod

Update job descriptions

“Having a job description in writing is essential. Does your company have an anti-nepotism policy? I have encountered this situation before and explained to the employee that I hired the best candidate for the position. It is hard to argue when the person being hired is better qualified.” — Shelley 

Be direct

“It has more to do with expectations management … If the issue is that of competency and her mismatch, it’s better to state it straight and upfront and deal with the issue conclusively.” — Mohan

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