Smokers Need Not Apply…

I knew this would happen sooner or later. I guess I just was not ready for it.

I engaged in a senior level search assignment last month and went on the initial site visit to meet with the CEO and the rest of the executive team and to take a tour of their facilities. As I walked through the halls of their very nice office space I noticed how everyone looked energized, busy and healthy! Hey – we are in the healthcare business right? Why not promote healthy lifestyles. There were bicycles leaning up against cubicles and a rec room. Employees are encouraged to work out each day during their lunch break and of course the gym membership is paid for by the company.

This company reminded me so much of my Healtheon days in Silicon Valley. Bicycles and skate boards cluttered the hallways and the sound of competitive foosball could be heard in the large employee break room filled with Cappuccino makers. Back to my point.

As I went over the position requirements for this critical position I checked all of the boxes to make sure I did not miss anything. I leaned over to the CEO and asked him if he had anything else he wanted to discuss and he casually replied “Oh, yeah we don’t hire smokers.”  What do you mean, I asked?”  “You heard me,”  he said. “We don’t offer employment to people who use tobacco products.”  Got it.

That was the first time I have ever heard that and the first time I documented “No Smokers” on the position profiles. And, given the new healthcare reform policies that were just signed by Obama, I believe this is only the beginning for employers to mandate healthy lifestyles for their employees. With employers now being forced to provide healthcare coverage, more and more employers are going to ask their employees to live healthy lifestyles.

So if you are thinking this might be a good time to kick the habit, now you have some added incentive.

About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.