Overcoming Work-Life Barriers to Recruitment

Activity Description:


To brainstorm recruitment strategies that can be used to overcome problems hiring due to work-life issues


1. Divide the class into groups of five people. Each group represents the top HR management professionals in an organization. They have met to brainstorm how to address a recruitment problem relating to work-life issues.

2. Each group receives a paragraph describing the recruitment problem. Each group gets a separate recruitment problem. Examples of problems are provided below. You can also create additional problems on your own.

  • Your organization has identified the ideal candidate for the position of Chief Financial Officer. After an extensive search you find the ideal candidate for the position. The problem is the candidate lives in Dallas, TX and your position is in New York City. Although the candidate is very interested in to position his wife is very reluctant to relocate because (a) she doesn’t want to be far from her family in Texas, (b) they have two children in high school and she is concerned relocation would be difficult for them, and (c) she believes she would not like living in New York City (although she has never been there). What could you do to overcome this barrier to recruiting the ideal candidate?
  • You manage a large call center for a major telecommunications firm. The people you employ as call center operators tend to be high-school educated female employees in their 20s and 30s who have small children at home. Many are single mothers. You have trouble recruiting and retaining operators for the 3pm -11 pm and the 11 pm – 7 am shifts. Through exit interviews you learn that many operators have difficulty obtaining child care during these hours and this contributes to turnover. You expect this may also contribute to the recruitment problem. How would you determine (a) if this is in fact a barrier to recruitment and (b) if it is, how would you overcome this?
  • You are the HR manager for a management consulting firm. Your firm has a good reputation and your compensation package is very competitive. However, your consultants typically travel up to 80% and you have recently encountered great difficulty recruiting workers into these positions because of the extensive travel requirement. Moreover, workers that turn down positions due to travel are demographically diverse single and married, young and old, parents and non-parents – so it appears that there may be varied reasons why travel is undesirable to these workers. How would you handle this barrier to recruiting management consultants?

3. Each group should discuss the recruitment problem their organization is facing and identify strategies that could be used to overcome this problem. Each group should receive 15-20 for this discussion.

4. Next, reconvene as a class and have each group report out on their recruitment problems and the strategies identified for overcoming it. Facilitate discussion with other members about any strategies they may have missed. While you are doing this, list the problems and strategies on the board.

Activity Source:

Content contributed by Wendy Casper as a Suggested Work and Family Class Activity