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Career Coach

How to Find the Right Job for You

Published August 22, 2016 8:37 AM by Renee Dahring
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.


My dream job completely unraveled in less than 6 months. The environment was toxic and I was pretty much left alone to figure things out by myself with minimal training offered by medical assistants!  

I was forced to resign before finding another position and it's been a nightmare. The local hospitals even the one I resigned from do not want to hire me as an RN because they know I'll leave when I find the right NP job, add that to being a new graduate NP it's been challenging. The good thing is I am getting interviews set-up. Thus the reason for my question.

I want to ensure that I'm not sending the wrong message when I am interviewing for a new position.

The first interview I went to I said the position was not a good fit due to the fact the surgeon's practice and schedule was so busy he just did not have the time to train me to bring me up to the speed he needed to have a smooth practice. I tried to leave it at that however, then questions came such as why wouldn't he train you, I don't see anything wrong with training, etc.  It was here I got stuck on what to say? What advice do you have on how I should answer this question or if the question comes up about why I resigned without another position?

I said the department did not have many NPs and they did not have a formalized training program for new graduate NPs and the surgeon was not available due to his schedule. (I was by myself at another location except for Surgery day and his clinic day). I said I used multiple resources to learn all I could about the specialty on my own however there was a lot of content that I needed some more in-depth detail. I told them I felt what I needed could have been easily provided in a short amount of time as I didn't feel I needed my hand held, but I did need the surgeon to be available to enhance my learning especially when problems occurred that were outside basic post-op neurological complications. (My RN background all pediatric ED/ICU) The position was adult neurosurgery primarily spinal surgeries & DBS procedures.

Christina Flores, Nurse Practitioner May 5, 2017 10:24 PM
Houston TX

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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