You've been tasked with filling a vacancy. You find a fantastic candidate and start moving them through the process when the hiring manager comes to you and says "My wife's niece just graduated and I want to hire her for the open position. When can she start?"
Whoa! Your mind starts spinning. "What do I tell my candidate?" "What will the current team think of this hire?" "Is this an ethic's violation?" In the private sector, you probably aren't violating any laws by hiring the relative but you are certainly going to effect the morale of the team.
How do you respond? A good HR professional will speak up and sell the hiring manager on the best candidate. Could the best candidate be his niece? Absolutely! Do not immediately dismiss this person based on the relationship, but also do not push them through without question or concern. Reach out to the hiring manager and make sure they are aware of how hiring a family member may negatively impact department morale.
In the end, the hiring manager will make the decision but behind every hiring manager is a great HR business partner that shines the guiding light.