If you’re beginning the next chapter of your career by either entering the veterinary field or changing practices, it can be tempting to rush through the process and accept the first job offer you receive. Interviewing and solidifying your contract can be cumbersome, but a little extra time and consideration upfront can help you secure a better position long term. As you prepare for your transition, keep these tips in mind to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success.
Make Sure the Practice Is a Good Fit
Before you make any commitments, it’s beneficial to meet the team you’re considering joining and determine if you can get along with all the personalities at play. You’ll be spending a significant amount of time at work, and you want to make sure there’s a good culture that you feel comfortable with and excited to join.
One way to ensure you’re compatible is to spend a little more time at the hospital than you normally would in a sit-down interview. Ask if you can do a working interview for a day to better understand how the practice operates. This will give you more opportunities to meet and talk with all members of the team from Veterinarians to receptionists. Spend your time observing if coworkers speak to one another with respect, if the team seems stressed and how leaders of the hospital interact with others.
Furthermore, a working interview will also help you better understand the client base at the practice you’re considering. Observe how the other Veterinarians introduce you to clients and how clients receive the idea of a new Veterinarian joining the team. You want to make sure that you have support in growing your client base. If all the existing Veterinarians are staying after you join, you’ll need them to be comfortable sharing some of their clients with you.
At the end of your working interview, you should have a good idea of the practice culture and if this is somewhere you could see yourself fitting in.
Identify a Mentor
You will continue learning throughout your career, so you want to make sure you find a good mentor that is close by and supportive of your growth. Your mentor at the practice should be willing to invest time in showing you the processes at the hospital and growing your clinical skills. Make sure this person exists within the organization you’re considering and that they seem patient and knowledgeable.
If you are considering joining a single-doctor practice, make sure that the existing doctor has no long-term leave plan within the first few months of you joining the clinic. A good mentor will make sure you’re completely up to speed and confident before taking a vacation or leave of absence.
You may also find that joining a larger network with lots of mentorship opportunities is a better way for you to learn and grow. If you have a specific interest, veterinary groups tend to have a wider variety of specialists that can act as mentors. This could also be a good solution if you prefer to have a mentor outside of your immediate practice.
Secure Your Role With a Contract
Don’t accept an opportunity without a contract. A contract gives you and your employer the chance to align on your hours, time off, benefits, expectations and pay. Getting these items established upfront can save you a lot of grief in the long run and ensure your relationship is more sustainable.
There are a couple of areas you should take extra care to review including compensation and non-competes. You may ask your employer for a compensation package with a stronger base salary, especially if you know you’ll need to grow your own client base. This can take time and you don’t want to compound the stress of low pay on top of adjusting to a new job. Additionally, if your contract includes a non-compete, be sure you’re comfortable with what you’re agreeing to. If things don’t work out, you do not want to be forced to stay because you can’t work anywhere else in your area.
Are you interested in making a change? Make next year the best year of your career with CareVet. We’re here to support you as you make your transition to the next chapter. CareVet’s Strong Start Program offers a variety of benefits for DVMs in their first year with CareVet.