During a recent college visit, we were prompted with this question: how do you know if a company is reputable if you’re not from the area? Many times, newly licensed therapists consider positions in different cities and states from where they grew up or attended school. Pursuing an opportunity out of your geographic comfort zone poses excellent potential opportunities including: landing a job in your desired setting, growing and developing as a person and a therapist, and a chance for a fresh start. However, sometimes it’s difficult to determine if the new position you’re considering will actually be in your best interest in the long run. Here are some tips for finding and vetting a new company:
Relocating for a Job – Tips
1. JOIN THE STATE ASSOCIATION Consider joining the State Association in the state that you’re contemplating. Most State Associations have excellent networking opportunities both in person and online that will give you the chance to connect not only with companies but other therapists, as well. Therapists in your new state will most likely have an idea as to the reputation of a company you’re considering.
2. REACH OUT TO COLLEGES
Reach out to colleges in your new area to connect with the Program Director or Clinical Fieldwork Coordinator. While some colleges may not have the time or resources to respond, most are willing to help as they’d want other programs to show their students the same courtesy. They may even be able to provide feedback on companies with which they partner for fieldwork which would be a good indicator of the company’s standing.
3. UTILIZE YOUR COLLEGE CAREER CENTER
The career centers at universities are often underutilized resources. Sometimes, college career centers have a reciprocity agreement with colleges in other parts of the country and the world. This means that the career center at your college may already have contacts or career information at a university near your new location.
4. PREPARE QUALIFYING QUESTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEW
Prepare specific questions while interviewing with a new company that can help you determine if the company culture matches your requirements. The American Physical Therapy Association has an excellent article on their website entitled, “Considerations for Practice Opportunities and Professional Development,” that offers some question suggestions to better analyze an unfamiliar company. Some questions include, ‘Is professional development valued?’ ‘Do PT’s/OT’s have control over all clinical decisions related to physical/occupational therapy?’ and ‘What are the therapist’s responsibilities in the facility?’
5. SCHEDULE A JOB SHADOW
Ask if it’s possible to job shadow at the facility. Often companies will propose an on-site interview or facility visit prior to making an offer. However, these visits are often less than an hour and do not allow for a great understanding of the dynamics of the staff and the building. A job shadow of a few hours can give you a better idea of how the team functions and whether or not the overall company culture matches your ideals.
We hope these tips will help you to determine if your new opportunity is the right fit!