Here’s a problem I ran into while trying to recruit employees long-distance.
We hired this awesome guy Alex from Germany. We went through all the work of getting Alex an H1B visa and helping him move to San Francisco. Everything is great.
Unfortunately, Alex is married and his wife has a profession as well. She’s ok to not work for a while because Alex makes enough to support both of them, but pretty soon she understandably wants to return to her career.
At this point, we have a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, Alex’s wife’s job is not our problem. Most companies would leave it at that. But if Alex’s wife can’t find a job, he’ll likely go back to Germany. If he’s a key employee, we are now rationally incentivized to help his wife find a job so he will stay.
I’ve run into this problem surprisingly often. Or maybe not surprisingly, because it makes sense that the significant others of highly skilled employees are likely to be skilled and ambitious professionals themselves.
How to find a job for a significant other
The first thing we tried to do was outsource it. After all, job finding is not a core competency. So we tried calling contingency recruiters we knew to see if they’d take on the case. Some said yes. Unfortunately, contingency recruiters are a fickle bunch. Because you’re not paying them, they only work for you to the extent they feel likely to close a hire. When the going gets tough, which is exactly when you need them, they drop you like a hot potato and move on to more promising clients.
Next we tried subsidizing career counselors. These people are paid out of pocket, so they stick with it. Unfortunately, we had a tough time finding career counselors who were *any* good in San Francisco, particularly for younger people who want ‘new economy’ jobs. The industry seems geared towards retraining / emotional help for older people who’ve lost their jobs.
Finally, we ended up just doing it ourselves. We took our recruiters, who normally try to hire people, and had them do the reverse, helping people find jobs. It turns out they were good at this and were reasonably successful.
Will someone make a service for this, please?
But the experience left me wishing someone would just create a service for this. Doing it ourselves was a strange use of company resources and was internally controversial. Have the same problem? Say so in the comments and maybe we can get something started.