When recruiting a physician candidate, it can be easy to get caught up in what a great match the candidate is for the opportunity and the community. But when physician recruiters can get swept away in how well a physician would fit in with a practice and the community at large, they can often forget that the practice and community need to also meet the needs of the candidate – and their spouse.

A 2008 survey from the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association highlighted the importance of a spouse’s community preferences, career opportunities, and educational opportunities on a physician’s decision to relocate. In fact, if the first relocation isn’t due to a physician spouse’s preferences, then the second usually is. With that in mind, it is crucial for physician recruiters to also woo the spouse or risk losing an ideal candidate.

Below are four ways that a spouse’s needs and preferences can derail a physician recruitment effort:

 

1. Lack of Career Opportunities

 

Like most Americans, many physician candidates belong to dual income households. Because of this, it has become very important for recruiters to be very aware of the job market in their communities. A smaller community, or one that is predominantly dominated by one major employer, may not be able to provide a physician spouse with the opportunities necessary to advance their career.

 

Get Back on Track: Make sure to inquire about the spouse’s career and ambitions during the intial interview. If necessary, the recruiter can even refer the candidate’s spouse to local headhunters so that they can begin putting out feelers.

 

 

2. Community Mismatch

When recruiting a physician, you not only want them to be a good fit for your practice, but also for your community. The same applies to the physician’s spouse. More often a concern when recruiting to smaller or rural communities, it can be difficult for the spouse to feel at home and fully integrate into the community if they aren’t familiar with a smaller town. 

 

Get Back on Track: Introducing the physician’s spouse to another community member who is from a similar background or area can help an unsure spouse feel more at ease and comfortable with the idea of joining the community.

 

 

3. Lack of Community Resources

Whether it’s a need for religious community or a passion for high quality theater, not all communities have the resources that a candidate’s family will need. This is particularly difficult in smaller communities which may only have one house of worship and no immediate access to cultural  activities.

 

Get Back on Track: Make sure to inquire as to any religious or cultural needs the candidate’s spouse may have during the initial interview. If they require access to resources not available in the community, it may be possible to find them in the next town over or a relatively short drive away.

 

4. Too Few Educational Options

 

Whether it’s ensuring that their children get a quality public school education, or their desire for their children to attend a private, religiously affiliated school, a community that doesn’t offer parents sufficient educational options can completely remove a community from a family’s list of options.

 

Get Back on Track: Help put the candidate and their spouse’s minds at ease by reassuring them of the fantastic public options in the community. Also, if there are private institutions nearby, make sure that the family is aware of them.

 

Key Take Aways:

  • Even if your community doesn’t have a spouse’s desired amenities, there may be some a short drive away that can provide what they need
  • Make sure the spouse will feel that they can easily integrate into the community by making them feel at home
  • Always ask about the spouse’s career aspirations and preferences during the intial interview