Everyone dreads the potential of taking a crappy job – one worse than their present one. ‘The grass is always greener,’ as the saying goes.
While you can’t predict with complete accuracy every crappy job in advance, there are sometimes warning signs. These little red flags waving around, call them intuition or experience, can save you from lots of grief.
So here are my four “P”s of evaluating each job you consider – from job announcement to job offer. I would suggest these are also good criteria for evaluating your current job.
The Goal: Join a team of like-minded professionals, who complement one another.
What to Watch for: Try to determine if the office has a high turnover rate. You can often casually ask staff you come in contact with how long they’ve worked there – it’s a common small-talk-type question. You can also ask how long your predecessor was there.
The people you work with are important to your overall job satisfaction. If you can’t instantly click with the personalities you meet the day of your interview, consider it a red flag. Every office has some drama and different personalities, but if the “crazies” are running the office it may not be the best fit for you.
The Goal: Join an office that focuses more on patients than revenue.
What to Watch for: Sometimes the salary structure can tip you off. If it’s heavily-laden with bonuses, quotas, goals, and benchmarks that are a large part of the discussion – more so than building relations and caring for patients – this might be a sign of an office that lacks purpose.
Some people are comfortable with that kind of atmosphere. But I believe profits take care of themselves the better patients are served. If your office absolutely bends over backward to give every patient personalized attention (even the fussy-difficult ones), they will sense it and your practice will grow organically.
And a word about “fussy” people. I have also found that I have grown and benefited more from working with them than any other personality type. Why? Because they challenge me and when I am challenged I get the opportunity to rise to the occasion. I get to learn new things and become a better professional.
The Goal: Join an office that invests in technology and advanced learning.
What to Watch for: Ask in your interview what kinds of equipment they have purchased recently and how they like it. You could even ask what their plans are for future investments. And, also, ask about any on-going training they offer as a staff. Take note of how up-to-date the waiting room is and other aesthetics.
This, too, is important because an office that is not investing in new equipment, office cosmetics, or training can mean they are struggling to cover costs. Maybe they want those things, but their patient load or collections rates aren’t moving in the right direction. This can, of course, create many potential problems for you. That lack of in-coming business may lead to you getting laid-off or a reduction in hours.
The flip side, of course, would be an office that is over-spending on new equipment and can’t justify it. That’s a little bit harder to see, but certainly, a red flag if you sense it.
To stay viable, dental practices have to make on-going capital improvements to equipment and invest in training. The competition is too stiff to neglect those. It’s important to watch for any kind of history of steady investments in these areas.
The Goal: Join an office that has a strong upside.
What to Watch for: Talk to the interviewer about how long they have been in business and at that particular location. It wouldn’t be appropriate to ask about their production numbers (unless the job is commission-based). But you want to try and determine if there is an air of optimism about the direction the business is going in.
You want to know that the business is not going backward but also not just staying the same year after year. This can manifest itself in many ways but listen carefully about how the doctor or office manager talk about the future. Do they care or do you sense some pessimism or blame on personnel, market conditions, location, etc? If so, those are probably some red flags.
It’s hard changing jobs. You may feel your current job is not so great, but there’s always the fear of a new job being worse. I think it’s good to keep your eyes open for opportunities. But use your senses and the four P’s mentioned here to ensure you land a great job.
Doug Perry is an expert resume writer and job search coach. He and his wife, Tracie, who is a dental hygienist, created GetHiredRDH in response to the challenging dental hygiene job market and have helped thousands of dental hygienists through tips and individual services. If you need individual, click here to contact Doug.