To Spouse Or Not To Spouse?
That Is The Question
One of the key things I have learned in the last 20 years in this business, especially with physician candidates, is the critical nature of the spouse in the process. The spouse is often overlooked in the historical academic process and yet it is those institutions that effectively engage the spouse early who are seeing the greatest results. If you are not currently bringing the spouse on the first interview visit then here are a few things to consider.
*It works! A spouse who is invited on the first visit feels more engaged and included and is more likely to be an advocate in the process. Approximately 90% of our first round interviews over the last 12 years have included the spouse. Creates a conduit early for your team to get an additional reads on candidate interest.
*You must acknowledge the real difference between recruiting candidates who reply to ads and letters and those who are happy where they are currently employed.
*Inviting the spouse is a true litmus test regarding family support for the process.
*A spouse who finds reason not to attend the first interview is a big red flag that there may not be family support for a move. Our national recruiting and retention survey indicated that many wasted first round interviews with candidates who know they will likely not be able to bring their family around on the idea of a move.
*An uncommitted spouse often indicates a candidate who is using your resources to enhance their leverage at their home institution.
*It is false security to assume that you are ever assured a second interview because of a strong national institutional reputation. Spousal first impressions are critical if we want candidates to come away believing that we are ready at all levels to grow.
*That said, combining a great national institutional reputation and a "red carpet" spousal treatment only sets you further apart from competing opportunities.
*Lastly, bringing the spouse on the first visit ultimately save you significant committee time and dollar resources and it usually shortens the overall search process.
There are always exceptions, but in twelve years I have found very few valid ones. When I have violated the "bring the spouse on the first visit" rule, I am usually reminded a few months later as to its validity.
I encourage you to contact us for assistance with your internal recruitment strategies and leadership needs, we'd be happy to help.