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The right new job for you? A seven-step checklist for finding an enjoyable and rewarding dental job

Written by: Helen Burgess
Published on: 6 Jan 2017

Sometimes it is very tempting to take the first job you are offered, especially if you have been searching for a long time or if the thought of being out of work for a long time is a difficult prospect. It is important, however, not to rush into a role you might later regret and which could be detrimental to your future health, wealth and happiness.

Here are seven essential things to ask yourself before accepting a job offer

1.Is the job perfect and does it matter if it’s not? Make sure you remember that no job is 100% ideal but make sure you can live with the compromises you might have to make on work hours, the technical dental/specialist work or the type of manager your boss is before you accept the role. Taking some time to discuss with family or friends and reading online reviews of the practice or workplace could be useful.

2.Does the location work for you? A difficult commute can add hours to the working day and could negatively affect mental health. Read our guide to using BDJ Jobs’s postcode search to find a job location here. Don’t forget to use one of the many travel apps and websites that are available to research travel options and times.

3.What are your colleagues like? Were they welcoming and friendly at interview and did you have the opportunity to meet the whole dental team? Did you feel the culture of the practice was a fit and was the receptionist professional with dealing with patients? Was there any negativity when you visited, either from staff or patients? Did the practice manager know his/her stuff?

4.Will you have the opportunity to learn and develop with a varied dental workload? Whilst ensuring that you can fulfil all of the technical and specialist requirements of your new role, it is also important that role will allow you to develop your dentistry skills, to avoid the workload becoming repetitive and dull. Does the practice encourage regular attendance at dental training courses and further qualifications? If not, would they allow you to take the time off for your own dental training and to keep yourself up-to-date? Are they supportive of BDA membership and networking opportunities with other dentistry professionals?

5.Do you have any concerns about the pay and UDA targets? If you are able to negotiate do so, even if you don’t get anywhere a reasonable manager or HR officer should respect you for doing so. It may be more difficult to successfully negotiate if you are in an area where it is easy to find associates, but think about what makes you stand out from the crowd.  This could be your clinical experience, qualifications or expertise, or the fact you have undertaken training on issues such as NHS Regulations requirements.  It might be your track record of building strong relationships with loyal patients and with practice staff, evidenced through testimonials and references. 

6.Can you work with the Practice Owner? It’s said that having a bad boss is the main reason why people leave their jobs. The Practice Owner doesn’t need to be your best friend, but you do need to be able to have a functioning and professional working relationship with him or her. The interview is also a time for you to ‘interview’ the practice owner and possibly other staff you will be working with such as the practice manager. Try to objectively measure your rapport. If someone is impatient or dismissive in an interview, they might be even more impatient and dismissive once you are contracted to work with them. It is important that you share the same values as the practice and those who run it.  The happiest people in the workplace are those who say they learn from and are encouraged by their boss.

7.Should you use the BDA’s contract checking service? BDA members can have their associate contracts checked as part of their membership. A contract with unreasonable terms can tell you a lot about a practice, as can the way the practice handles negotiation over such terms. The BDA say, “An early contract review done now can save you a great deal of heartache in the long run.” You can find more information here.


Thank you to the BDA for providing information to assist with the writing of this article.