Recruiting Candidates and Their Families: The Best Way to Close the Deal

By AAPL Staff
March 15, 2018

Accepting a job offer is not a solitary decision. Candidates confer with spouses or partners before making a major career change. That means you’re recruiting several people for the position.

THE CHALLENGE:  You have an open position in your organization, and you’ve found the ideal candidate — a physician with the strategic mind, the leadership ability and the track record you need. Preliminary interviews have gone well, and the candidate is scheduled for one last meet-and-greet with organizational leadership. What’s the best way to close the deal? Recruit the candidate’s family. Accepting a job offer is not a solitary decision. Candidates confer with their spouses or partners before making a major career change, and that means you’re recruiting several people for the new position.


A quick takeaway to help you hone your leadership skills.

A Quick Legal Note

You’re not allowed to ask if a candidate has a spouse or partner, nor whether a candidate has children. If the candidate volunteers this information, however, you’re safe. You can ask questions such as, “Will working nights present any problems for you?” in hopes that the candidate mentions a spouse or children. At that point, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I’d love to have the opportunity to meet your spouse.” But what then?

Develop a Database of Interests and Hobbies

In some organizations, recruiters create spreadsheets that catalog the hobbies and interests of the executive leadership team — as well as their spouses’ careers and the ages of their children. This can be useful when talking with a candidate. If the candidate has a spouse who’s an attorney and a child who’s an accomplished water-skier, you can use the database to set up a dinner meeting involving you, the candidate, the candidate’s spouse and three or four executives who have similar interests.

Set Up Meetings with Other Spouses

Before the interviewing process has ended, make sure the candidate’s spouse has had the opportunity to rub elbows with other spouses from your organization. Whether it’s at dinner, or a reception or a weekend event, it’s important to offer the spouse a chance to ask questions about your organization and the lifestyle it presents to employees and their families.

Get Real (Estate)

For candidates from out of town, a separate meeting with a real estate agent can help them envision their lives in a new place. There are some considerations you should make, however.

  • You pick the agent, and have him or her contact the candidate ahead of time.
  • Make it clear that the agent should not be trying to sell homes at this stage. The candidate doesn’t need that added pressure. Instead, ask the agent to show off nice communities and answer questions about living in the area.
  • Follow up with the agent afterward to get a better sense of how the candidate and the spouse felt about a move to the area.

Adapted from Managing Leadership Performance.

The American Association for Physician Leadership provides a comprehensive online curriculum. Click here  for more about our educational offerings and credentials.

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