No one wants their dream job to turn into a nightmare. My recruiting days were spent listening to NPs who were frustrated and wanted out of their current position. Salary and benefits weren’t the problem; the problem was literally the workplace itself. They told me stories of toxic workplace cultures, horrendous work expectations and miserable co-workers. Finding yourself in a dysfunctional workplace is the last thing anyone wants. Sometimes it’s impossible to see it coming, but more often than not in retrospect the NP would admit to me they missed a few clues that all was not well.
I’ve compiled a few of these clues to help you avoid ending up in a problematic workplace:
Buyer beware: When it sounds too good to be true… If potential employers makes promises to you during the hiring process that make you want to pinch yourself to make sure you aren’t dreaming, then you probably should pinch yourself. I always get a little worried when every inquiry or request-a-job-seeker makes is answered by “yes.” No one gets everything they want. The more likely scenario is that the employer is only telling you what you want to hear. It’s not necessarily bad that an employer wishes to please you, but when it leads to multiple broken promises then it does become bad. The employer may mean well, but no one likes empty promises.
Excessively high pay. This too should sound an alarm. If an employer has to offer over-market salaries it could be a sign of deeper problems. File this under “too good to not have strings attached.”
Circumstantial evidence. I always advocate asking about the circumstances that lead to the job opening. As a recruiter finding out why the previous employee left the position was one of my standard questions. Sometimes there is a good explanation. I know of one workplace that had a large number of clinicians who all hit retirement age during one particular year. That makes sense. Sometimes a spouse moves or an illness leads to a resignation. If the explanation is a little fuzzy, then your antennae should go up.
High turnover. You have to wonder why some organizations seem to be looking for new NPs, or for that matter, any employees on a continuous basis. We all know of workplaces that are perpetually hiring. Unless they have built a new wing or started a new program, that ought to be a big red flag. Oh, and high turnover at the management level isn’t a very reassuring sign either.
Hiring you too quickly. I get a bit uncomfortable when an employer is ready to hire before doing their due diligence. If they can’t take the time to have you do some paperwork or check references, that smells of desperation.
Pay attention to the chatter. Do your homework if things don’t seem quite right to you. With social media, it is easier than ever to do detective work. Look at organizational reviews online, check out their Twitter or Facebook feeds. It’s hard to hide dysfunction.