During the recruiting cycle, be ready to embrace any opportunity to meet with or at talk to your candidate’s loved ones. While your candidate’s focus is on employment, those who are relocating with them are grappling with other concerns. Namely, "Is this the right place for us to live?"
Here are some topics to raise with those who will be relocating with your potential new hire. Your goal is to spot any areas of concern, as well as to promote the community and your organization.
Q: What do you think about the region?
Ask the partner directly if they like the area. Some may offer a demur, polite agreement, while others may share an eager affirmative or negative response. Use their answer as a jumping-off point for the discussion. Ask about their preferences regarding weather, cultural opportunities, recreation, work or educational needs. Listen more than you talk, inviting details. Think about how your community does - or doesn’t - meet those needs.
Q: What sports, hobbies or interests are important to you and your family?
Being able to pursue personal interests is a key factor to how long anyone stays at a location. Try to identify what’s important to your candidate and their family. Do they like to hike, be near the water, go to the theater? This is also a good ice breaker question.
Hopefully, you’ll happen upon some positive points to promote about your region - but if you discover a gaping hole, don’t try to sugar coat it. "Our nearest ski area is a solid 4 hours away" will serve you better in the long run than a vague "Sure, there’s some great skiing nearby!"
Q: How frequently do you see your extended family?
The individuals relocating with the candidate aren’t the only influencers; loved ones back home can have a big impact, too.
If either partner has strong ties to extended family, ease of travel becomes a factor. You may not have to ask this question directly; if a spouse speaks fondly about new nieces and nephews, or references family events often, promoting your proximity to a train station or airport can be in your favor.
Q: Will you need a job?
Physician partners may be so accustomed to making sacrifices for their partner’s career that they don’t even bring up their own. But the partner’s employment needs should be given proper attention. Don’t be pacified if they politely tell you they’ll figure it out on their own. Find out what line of work they are in, then provide any resources or connections you can. Inquire if working virtually could be an option, perhaps even temporarily.
Q: What concerns do you have?
If you’ve built a good rapport with a candidate’s partner, this question can help you learn what they’re thinking. Everyone has something nagging in the back of their minds, even if the destination seems ideal. Bringing it to the surface can lead to an enlightening conversation for both of you.
Establishing a connection with your potential new hire’s spouse or partner will be beneficial in securing the right fit. Do your best to be available for coffee or a walk for any nearby candidates and extend offers for phone or video calls to those at a distance. Listen attentively and make notes on the important points that would benefit from a follow-up.