Would you hire your friends in this economy?

There’s an old saying about never talking politics with family or friends. Too problematic. But how about hiring them to work for you?

I wondered about that after hearing from John Snell, who told us he’s been making an effort in this economy to hire friends and local firms who need the work.

That got me thinking: I know a bunch of people who’ve lost jobs or had hours cut in this recession. Would I hire them if I could (important note: I’ve never run anything that turned a profit, including the third-grade lemonade stand)? Not sure.

Snell started a business two years ago selling classic cars online. Prices have been down but volume’s been steady and he describes his economic outlook as bright. Snell, part of our Public Insight Network, wrote:

I feel like I’m keeping a part of the economy moving by hiring friends that have lost their jobs, by sending repair business to a local shop, by keeping my Web Master busy with posting photo galleries and videos of the cars I have for sale, and I sure keep the shipping business busy by sending the cars I sell to all parts of the world.

I have a friend who was laid off at a tire store and I’ve been hiring him to do some light repair and restoration work.

I also just bought a foreclosed home in Roseville and I’ve been hiring another friend who is out of work to fix up this place.

I would rather that my friends were able to find a job but in the mean time I’ll keep doing my part to share in the good fortune that this new business has brought me.

In a followup conversation, Snell, 35, said he’s since hired two more people, friends of friends who’ve been out of work, to help on his home restoration project.

“Mainly it was just that I had all this stuff to do all of a sudden….I’m just fortunate enough to need the help.” Things have worked out managing the personal and business connections. “These are symbiotic relationships,” he added.

Would you hire a friend or family member if they needed they help?

There’s no doubt people are struggling. National data released today show the U.S. unemployment rate climbed to 8.9 percent in April. But could it cost you a friendship or family tie?

What are the pros and cons inherent in hiring people you know well or hiring people vouched for by a friend or family member? I found some helpful tips, but I’m still not sure if I’d do it.

What’s your take? Post something below or click here and share a story with MPR News.

Check out some stories below on the current jobs climate in Minnesota.

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