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Love and Work? Can You Recommend a Spouse for a Job Opening?

Attitudes about workplace romance are changing. One study shows a growing openness to romantic relationships in the workplace. Workplace Options found that “84% of Millennials say they would engage in romance with a co-worker—compared to 36% of Generation X workers (age 30–45), and only 29% of Boomers (age 46–65).” This increased comfort means that the question of recommending a partner for a position will be encountered more and more.

It’s an issue that deserves thoughtful consideration. You should exercise the same care that you would with recommending anyone for a job (Check out this excellent article from Glassdoor for advice on that topic.). The first step is thoughtful reflection on the pros and cons for the workplace reputation and experience of both members of the couple. If you and your spouse have decided that you are both comfortable working at the same company, follow these three guidelines:

  1. Know the policies. Inquire with Human Relations about the organization’s policies regarding recommending a spouse or family member. They will be able to give you information not only on the explicit policies, but also on the cultural norms and perceptions.

  2. Consider the size of the organization. In a large institution with many departments and multiple locations this will be a much more valid option than within a small, close-knit organization. The smaller the organization, the more caution you should exercise.

  3. Be forthright. If after your reflection and research, you do decide to move forward with recommending your partner, be candid about the relationship. Make it clear that you are recommending your spouse not only because you want him or her to succeed, but because you want the organization to succeed—and that you will respect whatever decision is reached. Should your partner be considered, it is vital that you not involve yourself in any way with the interview process.