Finding an Associate Dentist Position – IC005

Need to Read it? Check out the Full Episode Transcript below!

In this interference cast I discuss my opinions and experiences of finding associate positions and what strategies DF1s and Dentists looking for associate positions should consider.

Is BDJ jobs obsolete?

Can social media help?

Is a dental portfolio over-rated?

Surely, you need to know the right people?

Questions and comments on the video welcome!

Click below for full episode transcript:

Opening Snippet: Hi, guys, and welcome to this interference cast today on a very important topic, something that I get asked about quite a bit from our younger colleagues...

Main Podcast: And that is basically I’m in df one, how do I go about getting my first associate position? And actually, the things I’m going to share with you today are applicable to those if you’re looking for your second, and God forbid your 18th associate position. So there are some things that are parallel or similar between all those stages of your career. So basically, if you’re looking for an associate position. What’s the best way nowadays? While I’m recording this, we’re in lockdown. COVID-19. So yes, what I’m saying may not be applicable right this moment in time, because everything has been sort of disrupted by COVID-19. But the principles are hopefully apply for whenever you’re about to find or look for your next associate position. And if you’re in df one right now, this is probably something at the forefront of your mind right now, when we come out of COVID-19, you’re going to be probably looking for that associate position, your first associate position. And having said that, I’m someone who’s done DCT one and DCT two posts in Guys hospital and Charles Clifford Dental hospital respectively. And they’re very useful for me, but I’m very much and I’ve said this before, in a previous episode I recorded with Dhru Shah is make sure you’re doing a hospital job for the right reason, do it because you want to, because you enjoy that and not because you’re afraid to go into the real world of GDP land, if you like. So make sure you do it for the right reasons. I’ve said that before. However, nowadays with the COVID-19, and the fact that who knows how long it will take for practice and certainly private practice to get back to normal, it might be another year. So now more than ever, I have to say a hospital DCT position is looking quite favorable for this extra reason of COVID-19. And just job security, income security. So if you’re already on the fence about whether you should do a DCT post or go into an associate position, you know, it’s not a bad time to be considering doing a DCT position. Even if your ultimate goal is to become a general dental practitioner or a specialist or whatever. It’s not a bad thing to consider at this moment in time. So where do you go about looking for your job? Well, firstly, back when I was applying when we like, you know, seven years ago there about the BDJ Jobs was there and I used it. But what I found when I was applying on BDJ Jobs was that the principal would write back to me saying, sorry, we were inundated with applicants and we made our decision. And that’s generally why I’m fine, you know, with the with BDJ jobs, those who post a job on there, they’re quite often going to be swamped with hundreds of applications, especially if you’re in London and south east. So I don’t know how effective that is. Whether you’re actually posting a associate position in your practice or as an associate when you’re applying, you’re actually competing against a lot of people. And it’s difficult for principals to sort of go through and differentiate, especially if you’re only been one year qualified, two years qualified, then I think it’s very easy for the principal to say, Okay, I’m going to dismiss these 150 CVS, because these people don’t have at least three or four years experience, and then automatically, you’re not in the shortlist anymore. So BDJ jobs is I don’t know if it’s working that well for that many people at the moment. But certainly I know a lot of my colleagues who are looking for associate positions, they’re not really using BDJ jobs as much as we used to. So you can argue, it’s obsolete now. However, at the time of speaking on this, I have to applaud the BDA. It looks like Finally, the BDA is doing something I’m liking this direction in which is going I think the BDA is starting to show some of that leadership and unity that we’ve been all begging for over the last few years. So I’m watching this space. I’m liking what I’m seeing so far. I’m liking how proactive BDA is being on social media now whether they actually amount to something and actually help to make some changes and help dentists in a tangible way, is yet to be seen. I’m also commending the works of Jason Smithson, Luke Foley et al, from the British, newly formed, British association of private dentists. I think there’s some great work being done there. So while you guys are doing a great job representing our profession. So Facebook is a actually a pretty good way nowadays to find your associate position, I found an associate position that was very happy with some years on Facebook. And I can post a link or a graphic up to some of the Facebook groups that are, I think, are quite active and quite good. Some of the bigger groups like UK dentists, and For dentist, By dentists, often looking for good associates, but there are these dedicated groups on Facebook. So that’s good. And something I’ve seen, which is pretty cool is sometimes, you actually can get a good response where instead of waiting for the right job to come on and get posted there. For some people, what I’ve tried, what they’ve tried before is they advertise themselves saying, Hey, I’m a GDP, I have this many years experience, this is why I’m about hire me. And I’ve seen that. And that’s actually work for some people. So that’s a different approach that you could take on those groups. So being proactive, and advertising yourself. And having said that, another tip I want to share with you is back when I was looking for an associate position, I feel as though everyone in my professional circle was aware of it. So don’t be embarrassed that you’re looking for an associate position. Don’t be scared to tell the world that you’re looking and you know, through six degrees of separation, you never know who that information might end up with. And you might get a phone call one day saying, Hey, I heard that you’re looking certainly, I’ve been approached or headhunted, if you like, by some very eminent people before because the word got around to the right people that I was looking for a job. And that was potentially going to work out quite well. For me, I didn’t take that job in the end. But you know, the offer is coming are just amazing. So unless people actually know that you’re looking for an associate position, how do you expect for people to gain contact with you and offer you a position, things aren’t gonna magically appear, you have to put yourself out there. It goes with the saying that having connections in dentistry is so important. And if your net worth is your network. So a few examples of how that has benefited me in looking for associate positions is dentinal tubules. I’m very active part of dentinal tubules. And Dhru Shah himself was able to put in a good word for me a few times, I remember when a few other mentors of mine, were able to pull a few strings and get my CV or portfolio to the right person. And that was quite handy. So remember to, when COVID-19 ends and the restrictions are lifted. Make sure that you’re not just an online persona, make sure that you’re attending courses, Congress’s, affiliate yourself with a professional body like BDA, study clubs, for example, dentinal tubules, BARD, PACD, BES, whatever your interests are, I think if you connect yourself with like minded professionals, then that is going to exponentially increase your chance of finding not only an associate position, but the right associate position. So make sure that you’re active not only just online, but you’re active in the real world, you actually go into these section 63 events, which are usually like these free evenings or, or heavily discounted courses that you could go on, and you meet people, and you introduce yourself and you build your network. The other thing that which I’ve banged on about before is having a portfolio. Now I don’t know, any good principal worth their salt, who will not ask for a portfolio when you’re applying to work in their practice. I think portfolios don’t need to be too fancy, they don’t need to be full of full mouth rehabilitations. Not everyone is after a big cosmetic guy. It’s good to have a whole range of procedures in your portfolio, to show the principal that you care, that you’re a caring dentist, that you take the effort to actually document your work and reflect on it. I think that is so so powerful. If you can show evidence of reflection, then I think anyone who wants a ethical and good dentist will see that’s what’s being presented in front of them. It’s an interesting story, how I actually found one of my first associate positions, and my principal at the moment in the Richmond dentists I work on Fridays is Hap Gill, and Hap been a mentor for me for many years. In fact, our journey started on Twitter, believe it or not, many years ago when I was a dental student, I was tweeting, he was tweeting, we started tweeting each other I then learned that he’s also a Hounslow boy. And I learned a lot about his philosophy. He was also a Sheffield graduate as well. So we just sort of connected on that. And you know, fast forward Three years later, so it’s a slow burner, but connecting with the right people over Twitter helped me to find what I think is a dream associate position. I’m very happy where I work at the Richmond dentist and I love working with Hap, he’s a great mentor of mine. So sometimes just being out there, be yourself connect with others on social media, so Twitter worked well, for me, I don’t know how popular Twitter is nowadays, certainly my activity on Twitter has decreased a lot, but sometimes just saying hi, and connecting. So it was actually Hap who connected with me. So it’s very, you know, I still think, wow, you know, he’s such a time I was looking up to him, like, why would a bigshot dentist connecting with me, I’m just a poor student, you know. So I felt great. So there are some great people out there, great mentors out there, who will give young dentist a chance and listen to you and talk to you and mentor you. So just look out for them, watch out for them, connect with them. So that was a story of how I found one of my most fulfilling associate positions. Another technique, which I’ve successfully used is actually finding a practice potentially locally to you or, or a practice that you want to work at. And even though they may not be hiring, I actually walked in one day on a Saturday morning, because I knew they were open and Saturday, dress in my suit, with a CV in hand. And I just went and I introduced myself to the receptionist. And I said, Look, I’m not sure if you’re hiring at the moment or not. But I just like to tell you that I really admire your practice. I done a bit of research about this practice, I knew the principal works, I was already following the principal on social media. Does that make me a stalker? But I was able to build some rapport with a receptionist, and I was able to leave my CV then at the receptionist, she wasn’t a decision maker in the practice. So she just sort of file the CV away and said, Okay, I’ll do my bit, I’ll tell the principal, but Fast Forward three months, and someone was handing in their resignation at the practice. And, you know, the principal already knew that there is a keen young dentist who is practically begging to work at my practice. So why should I advertise his practice out when there’s already someone suitable, potentially out there. So he called me up, interviewed me and I started working there. So that is another technique, you know, you don’t have to wait for a vacancy to turn up to advertise yourself or hand in your CV and your portfolio. So that worked well for me. And that could potentially work well for you as well. And finally, I’m just gonna leave you with a few, with a quote. And that is that you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince charming. So unfortunately, beggars can’t be choosers. And you know, the reality is, you are one of almost over 1000 df ones, for example, who suddenly need to find an associate position. And it may be a while before you find the right one. Now, some of the things I’ve told you like having a portfolio, being part of a community like tubules, or PACD, BARD, whatever, well, that will maximize the chance of you finding the right practice in the first go. But actually, most young dentist I speak to, I know most of it is great. If you’re still at that same practice, your first associate position has been 10 years and you’ve been there. Amazing. But that’s quite a rare story. So don’t be disheartened. That is not an all singing, all dancing practice. I think you have to remember, if you’re in DF one, when you’re just finishing, you’re still honing your skills, you’re still learning, then be in the practice that is going to help you learn and don’t forget about the earn. So don’t forget about earning money at your stage. It’s all about I was very much about learning, learning learning, I want to work in environments I could learn. And that was always a priority for me over earning. So just bear that in mind. When you’re looking for an associate position. Try and find a practice where you can see a hot, high volume of patients, that’s going to skill you up better and quicker than anything. And make sure that you have a good team behind you and a good principal and some good mentors. That’s essentially the secret formula. So I wish you all the best if I can be of any help message me on my social media channels. If you found this useful, send this to one of your colleagues. And as always, please subscribe to the YouTube channel and on my podcast, Protrusive Dental podcast. Thank you very much.

Hosted by
Jaz Gulati

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