It’s Not Nepotism, He’s My Brother

Okay, the joke is, perhaps, a poor one, though you likely laughed because you can think of people who would say exactly such a statement.

I was asked recently regarding an inherent bias toward hiring people from my community. While many of the people in my office are from my community, there was actually another reason for this that had little to do with nepotism. It was more a matter of convenience, which, after a few years of operating this way, has demonstrated certain limitations.

The convenience is the fact that these people are easy to find via existing community listings and mailing lists. An email to my network can produce several responses with resumes, usually within a couple hours. If background information on a candidate is needed, it’s usually pretty easy to get that information.

However, the cost is in regard to time away from work – as the employees all are from the same community, their holidays all coincide, and they will all have the same restrictions regarding when they will work.

That’s not to say that I would not hire within my community or network, or even that I would not give preference to someone from that group over a candidate from without. However, the evaluation, to avoid the accusation of nepotism, must start with qualifications for the job, and then the cost to the business of hiring each candidate. Only when those two qualities have been met can nepotism raise it’s head to make a choice.

Businesses do not succeed because of nepotism, but rather, despite nepotism. Success is found by hiring the best qualified people, factoring in their existing skills, their dollar cost, the amount of training they will need, and how they will fit into the culture of the business. Hiring family or friends will often (though not always) meet the last of these criteria, but this is only one of several factors to be considered.

Only once all factors have been considered, and the candidates have been found to be equal in all other respects, can you fairly say “It’s not nepotism, he’s my brother!”