Staff Selection: Making The Most Of “Mates”


Does your staff selection process allow for recruiting mates? In staff selection do you encourage employees to recommend their mates for job vacancies in your business? Recruiting mates is a very good idea. But there are some traps to avoid.

Two Main Advantages

Current employees are unlikely to recommend mates or friends who are poor performers. It reflects poorly on the employee, especially if the mate “doesn’t work out”.

You can also reduce your advertising costs if employees know that you welcome applications from their mates.

The Ground Rules

  • Treat the mates as you’d treat any other applicant. However when you create your short list, make sure that the mates must follow your normal system.
  • Ensure that any employee who recommends a mate knows your selection system thoroughly and doesn’t expect the mate to receive special treatment.
  • If you appoint a mate and the mate “doesn’t work out” don’t blame the employee who made the recommendation. You still control the selection process.
  • Keep your employee well informed about the progress of the mate through the staff selection process.
  • If you decide not to short list the mate, explain why to your employee as soon as possible.
  • Managers and employees have different perceptions about what’s required of an “ideal” candidate. Ensure your employee knows what you’re looking for.
  • While the mate shouldn’t receive special treatment, he or she shouldn’t receive less attention than other applicants.
  • Make sure that the mate is among the first to know if their application is unsuccessful.
  • Trust your staff selection system. Don’t allow your opinion of your employee to influence your evaluation of the mate’s suitability.
  • Stick to your normal staff selection system: no short cuts for anyone especially mates.

Attracting Mates

  • Place notices about the vacancy on company notice boards. Encourage employees to get their mates to apply.
  • Have no secrets about vacancies.
  • Make yourself available to discuss your vacancy with any employee who wants to recommend a mate.
  • Encourage the employee to have the mate call you to commence participation in your selection process.
  • Stress to employees that you’re always willing to accept applications from mates.

Dangers Of Recruiting Mates

The biggest danger is that mates are given special treatment. They must be treated like any other candidate. They must undertake all your screening and testing.

If you give a mate special treatment, other employees will find out about it. Should the mate be appointed, these employees will believe, tightly or wrongly, that he or she has received favourable consideration.

There is a possibility that a mate, once appointed, may expect favoured treatment because of the prior relationship with the current employee. Make sure any such perceptions are dispelled as soon as possible.

Other Issues

Many managers are reluctant to employ mates. They feel that they may be compromised in some way. Yet mates comprise a pool of potentially valuable employees. They’re worth considering. Not all employees are willing to recommend mates. That’s OK. There’s no compulsion involved.

Employing a mate of one employee doesn’t mean you must employ the mate of another employee.

You’ll get yourself into serious trouble only if you fail to follow your normal staff selection system.


Mates are worth considering as potential employees. It’s up to you how well you use them. The secret is to stick to your normal practice. If you’ve had experiences with selecting mates, let me hear your story: either directly or in the comments.

What To Do Now

It’s entirely up to you. But you may care to consider whether you could use mates in your business. What would your employees think?

6 Responses to Staff Selection: Making The Most Of “Mates”
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    October 30, 2012 | 8:38 pm

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    November 7, 2012 | 5:17 am

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  3. Flower
    November 8, 2012 | 4:19 pm

    Wow that was strange. I only wrote a good really extended comment but when i clicked publish my opinion didn¡¯t appear. Grrrr¡­ well I am not writing that over once again. Anyway, just wished to say fantastic blog!

  4. Leon
    November 9, 2012 | 9:22 am

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  5. Leon
    November 9, 2012 | 9:24 am

    Glad you liked the post. always feel free to comment or question

  6. Leon
    November 9, 2012 | 9:38 am

    Flower, Sorry that your comment didn’t register. Please keep trying.


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