In part one of this series of posts, I provided 7 tips for new dentists. After you have received your license and secured malpractice insurance, it’s obvious that your focus will shift towards finding your first job as a dentist. For many of us, finding employment is challenging and often extremely stressful. The fact is senior dental students are viewed as relatively inexperienced professionals ill-prepared to manage the patient volume required to be considered a profitable hire. Not to mention the risks associated with the increased liability that an owner exposes herself to when incorporating another doctor into her practice.
With that said, new graduates will find employment – just be aware that finding a “good” job can be a long process.
You will receive interviews and at least one of these interviews will lead to an offer of employment. In many situations the hiring party will require that you be considered an “independent contractor” and you’ll be stuck paying self-employment taxes and receiving little to no benefits. You are not an independent contractor and should be treated as an employee but you have little leverage to negotiate this into your first contract because you have no experience and need a job.
The working interview:
Working interviews vary between potential employers. I have had working interviews where I was compensated for my services and I have had working interviews were I was not offered compensation. In general you should be compensated if you are asked to provide dental care to a patient. Your compensation may be a flat fee for the day, an hourly wage, or a percentage of your production.
Your first job offer:
As a new graduate who loves to talk to other dentists, I received an abundance of advice while I was seeking employment early on. Some dentists recommended taking the first job, any job, and whatever job you are offered. Nervous about my employment prospects, I followed this advice and took the first job I was offered. This was a mistake and I ended up leaving the position in 3 weeks. I would advise new graduates to take their time making any commitments and delay signing any paperwork for as long as you can. Delaying a contractual agreement gives you an opportunity to understand the owner and business model you are associating your license and reputation with.