Associates: How to find your perfect practice


Lots of practices are searching for associates. Use these tips to help them find you.

I'll be honest: I've been a horrible associate at times. I've also worked for what seemed horrible practices-to me, at least.

But after working for over twenty veterinary establishments over the past ten years (mostly during one long, scary stint as a relief doctor looking for the practice of her dreams), I've learned a lot about the industry. There are not so many bad-egg associates or stinker practices as there are mismatches between potentially great employers and employees.

In other words, “fit” is everything. If you're looking for an associate position, here are some guidelines for finding the perfect job:

List your priorities. Are you looking to learn? Would you be willing to take home a smaller paycheck in exchange for more flexible hours? Rank your wants and needs in order of importance.

Resist the charm factor. Don't be swayed by the gleaming floors and the roomy desk with your name on it. Stick to your list.

Interview your boss. Remember that the hiring process is a two-way street. While you shouldn't turn the tables too early in the interview process, you deserve answers to your questions and the opportunity to determine whether you and your superiors will see eye-to-eye.

Talk to your prospective co-workers. Have lunch or a phone conversation with another associate at the practice to learn invaluable information. If you'd be the first or only associate at the practice, get in touch with a local associate in a nearby hospital and get as much information as you can.

Take your time. It may seem like a waste if you're an impatient person, but participating in a working interview is a great opportunity to find your potential fit. If this isn't an option, at least hang out and chat with the staff. Check out some cases. And don't forget to assess the clientele.

Dr. Patty Khuly, MBA, is an associate at Sunset Animal Clinic in South Miami Beach, Fla.

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