When closing a candidate for relocation, retained search headhunters have a technique known as the "spouse question." It's a device used to determine if your candidate is kicking tires or is serious in making a move. Lots of people will take an interview, but actually moving takes a different level of commitment.

One way to address this is to tell the candidate up front that you'll need to speak with their spouse before submitting to the client. You don't surprise them with this - it's not a gotcha question. What you do is say, "have you discussed moving to {London} with your spouse and children?"
Firenze Tourist

There are cultural and legal niceties to observe, but your goal is to make sure that someone working for you has addressed the basics. "Honey, what do you think of Florence?"

As the expatriate community has grown worldwide, the spouses and partners of your workers have taken to social media to share their experience, both good and bad, in how they transition, the impact on children, and ways to connect with other expatriate families. And let's not forget, health insurance, the employability of the spouse, language barriers, and the closest coffee shop.

If you're looking for information to send to prospects, try the 21st Century Mama blog, where this expatriate spouse shares her experience moving to Qatar in rousing terms.

Dubai has a huge expat community, and that is what has made it so special. We are all in the same boat, literally. We all come here, leaving family and friends behind and starting afresh. It makes you band together and to stick together. They become your family, your Dubai family. I love these girls like they were family. They mean the world to me, and I hope they have even the smallest idea of how they have helped me through the last few years.

For those with children, there's a site called Expat Child, which covers everything from how to work on language skills to how to find schools for a child with special needs when overseas.

While these kinds of questions may seem outside the realm of responsibility of your average recruiter, it's part of the package of relocation is often overlooked until the offer letter is proffered. As more families move and work across national boundaries, global mobility professionals should make sure to track what the expats and their partners are sharing. It might be the final nudge to win that perfect candidate.

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