When recruiting a hospitalist for his company, Jason Stuckey makes it a point to call the candidate’s home. His goal isn’t to speak with the hospitalist the company is interested in hiring—it’s to talk with the candidate’s spouse.
“One of the top five mistakes recruiters make is to not involve the spouse in the [recruitment] process,” says Stuckey, who directs HM recruiting for TeamHealth, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based company that provides healthcare staffing and administrative services to hospitals in 14 states.
Hospitalists are generally so busy with work that the spouse is often the person in the family who takes the lead in the job search, says Tim Lary, vice president of profession staffing for IPC: The Hospitalist Co., a national physician group practice based in North Hollywood, Calif.
The spouse often gives final approval on a decision to accept a job offer, adds Peggy Fricke, director of physician staffing for Eagle Hospital Physicians, an Atlanta-based company that manages hospitalist practices for hospitals in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
“The physician could be making the most money, but if their spouse and family are not happy, then they won’t stay in the position long,” Stuckey explains. “I’ve also found that if the spouse is not on board with moving and uprooting the family to a new location, then it’s not going to happen.”
As a result, recruiters and prospective employers often spend just as much time engaging the spouse as they do the actual job candidate, the recruiters say. For this reason, hospitalists who are searching for a new job would be wise to include their husband or wife as early as possible in the job hunt in order to get the most out of the recruiting process.
For example, while the hospitalist focuses on determining if the work is the right fit professionally and financially, the spouse can appraise the community to see if it meets the family’s needs in such areas as schools, neighborhoods, religious services, community groups, and entertainment/cultural outlets. If the hospitalist is invited for an on-site interview, it’s important that their spouse makes the trip as well.
“We always do a community tour, and we will do school tours when asked,” Fricke says of Eagle’s recruiting efforts. “We can introduce the families of the other hospitalists in the practice so a spouse can meet and get to know them.”
—Jason Stuckey, director, HM recruitment, TeamHealth, Knoxville, Tenn.
When the spouse is involved in the process, they usually are more receptive to receiving information about what opportunities exist in other communities and more open to the idea of moving to a new place, Stuckey says.
For instances in which children are involved, the spouse is most often interested in learning about the location’s school districts and private schools, and determining if the community has a good quality of life for families, Fricke says. For situations in which there are no children or the children are grown, the spouse often focuses on job prospects in their own profession.
Hospitalists with a husband or wife who works and whose career is important to them should see if the HM recruiter can help put their spouse in touch with potential employers in the community, because many times they will, says Fricke, who has connected spouses in IT and engineering fields with people who could assist them in their job search.
“It goes back to making sure everyone is happy. If the spouse can’t find work, that is going to affect their happiness,” says Darren Swenson, MD, medical affairs director for IPC of Nevada and regional chair of IPC’s national advisory board.