Companies that spend as much time and interest getting to know the candidate’s spouse/partner as they do the actual recruit close a lot more deals and keep the new hire longer than those that don’t. This is a fact we have witnessed hundreds of times in the 35 years we have been helping companies to recruit and relocate executives to Northeast Ohio. And, when a relocation is involved, as it always is when Executive Arrangements is retained, we see that the spouse/partner often has the final say when it comes to a job offer that requires the whole family to relocate to a new town, so do not ignore this important decision maker!
Think about it. The candidate is excited about a new challenge, new co-workers, better pay, a signing bonus, travel to new places, and a chance to shine. The spouse/partner on the other hand often has a year of feeling like a fish out of water as they settle into a new town. They often bear the brunt of the childcare and chores as they ease children into new schools, work to make the new house feel like home, and struggle to meet new friends to replace all the networks they gave up when they moved. Often, they even have the additional burden of finding a new job, with little help. That is why EA spends upwards of more than 50% of our time responding to the concerns, needs, interests, and hobbies of the other half. And when they say yes and relocate, our services don’t end there. The spouse/partner at home often needs additional help their first year in town as they re-establish themselves. Here are our suggestions for how to show your recruit’s other half the love and attention they need to help you land you new hire from out of town:
- If they are employed, ask the spouse/partner for their resume so everyone is thinking about ways to connect them to people who could help jump start their career in Northeast Ohio. Chances are someone in your company has a direct connection to someone who has the same job. Dozens of times in the past year EA has invited the spouse or partner of a new hire to brainstorm at our office in Cleveland Heights as they contemplate their next career move. We’ll have them describe their ideal job, share their strengths, and reveiw their resume. We are a not a placement agency or a career counselor; but after 35 years of working with a client base that is heavily based in HR professionals, we can provide them direct access to lots of potential companies who may need their services. Spouse/partner career transition is just one of the many services we provide to insure the whole family is happy and settled.
- Choose the hotel for their first visit carefully. First impressions mean more than you know. Plopping them down at the hotel closest to the airport might make logistical
sense for their early flight home but does nothing to make sure the candidate or spouse gets a true feel for the quality of life in the region. Finding a hotel in a charming neighborhood to see how families live is one choice. Or if they have three kids at home under the age of 10, they might really enjoy a date night hotel in a cool downtown neighborhood where they can walk to dinner after the day of interviews. For more info on hotels that really help sell NE Ohio, check out our earlier blog posting.
- Don’t ignore the spouse/partner while you are busy interviewing their other half. What mood do you think they will be in for the business dinner if they sat in their hotel all day or were encouraged to spend a day seeing houses with a local realtor when they don’t even know if they want to move here? Nothing screams “we don’t care about you” more loudly than keeping the candidate busy from 8 am – 6 pm with no alternate plan for the spouse/partner on the interview day. If Executive Arrangements is involved, we fill their day with a customized orientation so they can picture themselves living here. We set up coffees and lunches to introduce them to like-minded community members (who are transplants themselves) so they can ask questions and gather info on our region in a social setting. We arrange behind-the-scenes stops at local spots that match their interests and passions. All this adds up to the spouse/partner feeling like the company cares not just about the potential new employee but his/her whole family. This can really help your company stand out in a competitive recruiting situation.
- Insure that you are providing Post Relocation Settling In Services. At least once a quarter, Executive Arrangements plans an “alumni” outing as continuing education for newcomers to the region and to provide an opportunity to meet other recent transplants to extend their networks. Anyone who has relocated in the past year using EA’s services is invited to attend. Many of these outings are aimed at showering love on the spouse/partner who holds it all together on the homefront. On February 26, 2015, EA hosted a group of women, (trailing husbands were also invited but unable to attend) the wives of recent hires for Parker Hannifin Corp., PartsSource, University Hospitals/Case Medical Center, KeyBank, and Materion. Also included were two babies, born since our clients relocated to CLE! And because it’s been such a long hard winter, we thought a taste of spring might help improve everyone’s mood so we arranged a private tour of the Cleveland Botanical Garden followed by tickets to see the annual special exhibit of OrchidMania. Most of the newcomers were aware of the wealth of museums in the University Circle area but hadn’t taken the time to venture out to explore them yet. We make it easy for them to do it for the first time by picking the date, inviting lots of newcomers to attend, arranging for tickets and parking, and coordinating a private guide to give the outing the signature VIP touch that EA is known for. Many times we hear of lifelong friendships that result from these purposefully small gatherings. Afterwards, we provided snacks and warm drinks at the nearby Coquette Patisserie, the darling French bakery and wine bar in the Uptown neighborhood of University Circle, well known for their pastries. So even if your firm has a third party relocation company that handles the move logistics, helps with turning on utilities, getting a driver’s license, and the raw basics, the spouses/partners of high level executives need the soft touches that we provide.
- Although we know it is human nature to offer advice on the best neighborhoods and schools for them to consider, please RESIST. Often this means the hiring manager offers their own neighborhood as a great place to live, with no consideration of the awkward situation it creates for the recruit. Unless you know all the details of their family situation (do their kids have special needs? are they underwater on their last mortgage? do they want to be immersed in a diverse neighborhood?), these casual suggestions can be loaded with land mines. We wince when we hear a recruit jump into our car on their orientation day and say, “My boss thinks their neighborhood would be a good fit for us, can you include it on our tour?” Often that neighborhood doesn’t match any of the criteria that we have spent a week gathering to identify the 3-4 most likely spots that will feel like home to them. To woo a family, give them their privacy and allow them to explore the new city with local experts (like Executive Arrangements Guides) who have carefully thought through their interests and needs and created a customized orientation to help them see what life could be like for their family in our town.
To learn more about how Executive Arrangements can help you land a top recruit or quickly acclimate a new hire by creating our Discover Cleveland or Discover Akron/Canton experiences, call us at 216.231.9311.