I vacationed in Washington DC with my family this last week. Great trip. So much to see and do. We really enjoyed ourselves. As we were walking down 14th Street toward the Washington Monument my wife said, “I couldn’t live here.” She went on to say, “It’s a great city with so much to see and do. Such amazing architecture. But for me, too many people. Everything seems so crowded. I just wouldn’t be comfortable.”
This got me thinking, geographical preference is such a personal choice. Every individual is different; a lot to do with a person’s frame of reference. Being born and raised in Iowa and vacationing mostly in places such as beaches in Florida, her point of reference is so much different than someone else who was born and raised in an area such as Chicago, NYC, DC and so on.
Naturally there are always going to be exceptions as certainly there are people who were raised in Iowa that would much prefer a Chicago.
But the fact is, certain people are just more comfortable in a certain surrounding. To take such a person and place them in an area they are not comfortable is a recipe for a failed relocation.
This leads me to my point, employers must take into consideration a candidate’s spouse in the relocation and interview process. But what's appropriate? What are some companies doing?
Over the years I’ve seen companies have the spouse or significant other travel along with the candidate to the on-site interview. As these companies realized that if this was going to work, the significant other must be on board as well.
I’ve seen companies extend an offer to a candidate and part of the offer process, invite the candidate and spouse/significant other to come out to look the area over.
I’ve seen candidates even ask the company if it was okay if they brought their spouse/significant other at their own expense. Sometimes the companies will step-up and offer to pay for the spouse/significant other travel expenses. That can go a long way to creating a very favorable view of a potential employer.
The employer simply cannot overlook the importance of the spouse/significant other to securing the candidate they wish to hire. No matter how much you want a candidate to come on board, if their spouse/significant other is not happy with the geographic location, it will certainly fall apart at some point. I believe it makes the best sense to determine this prior to an offer being accepted.