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    Christian Green, MA

    Navigating a job change can be challenging, especially when factoring in personal and professional considerations. Before you begin to look for a new job, it’s necessary to define your career goals, gauge your growth potential and determine how satisfied you are in your current position.  

    Eric Schwab, MBA, FACMPE, chief executive officer, Select Specialty Hospital, Laurel Highlands, Pa., said assessing your engagement level can provide perspective as you ponder what you value. According to Schwab, you should ask yourself: “In your current position, do you have opportunities to grow professionally and financially? What’s more important to you … continuing education, additional responsibility, promotions?” Any of these factors can help keep you engaged on the job. 

    Once you answer these questions and start looking for a new job, you need to take the time to research employers and keep an eye out for red flags when evaluating them. Schwab recommends asking eight key questions based on his personal experience searching for a job as a healthcare administrator. 


    Are you growing in your current position?

    Before considering employment elsewhere, evaluate your current position and organization. Is there potential to advance and further develop your skills? Do you feel fulfilled and satisfied with the work you are doing? If not, it may be time to weigh your options. 

    However, as Schwab noted, it’s also critical to determine whether it’s the right time to make a move, based on your circumstances. For example, the allure of a position can sometimes cloud one’s judgment. For Schwab, this was a factor when he accepted a chief executive officer position with a medical group in Florida, which required his family to move from Pennsylvania.

    “For me, it was probably the wrong time,” Schwab said. “We were expecting a child at the holidays; it definitely wasn’t the right time for me to be looking into a position.” Being levelheaded can go a long way in helping you make the right decision. 


    How will a new job align with your career goals?

    Prior to applying for a new job, you should also define your goals to ascertain whether the job aligns with your career aspirations. It’s difficult to grow professionally, if you don’t have the means to reach your potential. “If you’re not at a place where others can teach you and you can eventually move up through their mentorship, you’re probably not in a great place,” Schwab said. 


    Where’s the job you’re considering?

    Before responding to a recruiter’s email or emailing your résumé, think about location. Family circumstances may prevent you from moving across the country or even to a neighboring state. Whether it’s your immediate or extended family, it’s beneficial to reflect on how a move could affect each member.

    “Try to anticipate the pros and cons … and keep personal and family impact top of mind,” Schwab said. “I didn’t think about the grandparents that had their first grandchildren … and they’re in Florida, and they’re not going to see them that often. I didn’t think about my wife, who … would have zero friends, zero help, would never go on a date, anything like that.”

    In addition, make time to research the place you are considering. Schwab recommends spending some time in a community to get a sense of the cost of living, demographics, lifestyle, amenities, weather, transportation and access to healthcare.


    What’s the employer’s reputation?

    When you begin the interview process, do your due diligence by researching employers both online and in person. Particularly in healthcare, you can get a sense of an organization’s reputation by asking around in the community and those who work for the organization. 

    Schwab emphasized that the opinions of the staff can be invaluable during the interview process. Employees who have negative views of their employers raise a red flag, but they are not the only individuals who can offer insight into an employer. As Schwab recounted, “I started working with a realtor before I moved and had I just told her where I was working or asked her opinion, I would have found out a lot.”


    What are your roles and responsibilities?

    Ensuring that the roles, objectives and responsibilities of a position are clearly defined can help make the difference between loving and hating a job. As Schwab related, if you’re interviewing for a director of operations position, you’ll want to know what percentage of the position is focused on human resources, finance, etc. 

    Also, if you’re interviewing with multiple people, Schwab said to “make sure they all have the same story. If they’re all telling you a different thing of what they feel your position is, that means the company’s not on the same page internally.”


    What are the expectations? 

    Similar to your responsibilities, what will you be expected to accomplish on the job? This should be spelled out by everyone you meet during the interview process. During the interview, Schwab encourages you to ask, “What are the objectives for this position in my first month, first 90 days; what is the most important thing for me to accomplish?” And when reviewing answers, make sure they are consistent. 


    Will there be opportunities to advance, learn and grow?

    Analogous to the first question, it’s imperative that you always have growth opportunities and/or the ability to move up in an organization. That’s why it’s important to ask this type of question during an interview. 

    For example, Schwab suggested asking, “How can you learn and grow? Do they support conferences like MGMA? Do they support continuing education?”


    What’s the culture of the organization? 

    You can glean a lot about the culture of an organization by speaking to employees and the interviewer(s). During the interview process, Schwab recommends asking about the organization’s turnover rate. “If people are leaving, it’s a bad sign all the way from the front desk to management. If it’s a bad culture, you probably won’t be a good fit either,” Schwab said. 

    Moreover, make sure the organization is transparent when you ask them about financials, mission, vision and their goals. “If you’re in the final stages of a job interview, it’s totally appropriate to ask for financial statements and ask for turnover reports,” Schwab said. 

    Finally, before accepting a position, make sure it’s the one you want. Schwab recalls a piece of advice his mentor gave him when considering a job: “If it’s not a ‘hell yes,’ it’s a no.” In other words, “If you’re going into a situation and you don’t feel it’s 100% right for you, then don’t take it,” Schwab said.  

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