Finding the right job for you to start your career as a new graduate can feel rather daunting. How do you know what you are looking for? In this blog, we have highlighted four essential things to find out about from a future workplace before you accept a job offer.

1. Supervision and Support

Every employer says they offer lots of clinical support, but what does quality support actually look like?

  • One hour of 1:1 supervision weekly. Some workplaces are offering supervision in small groups. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from others, but should not replace 1:1 supervision. As a new graduate, Speech Pathology Australia recommends 1:1 supervision for one hour per week for your first two years of working.
  • Access to a team of therapists to observe sessions, and ask questions by email, phone, or in person. Being able to reach out to other team members should be encouraged in any team to ensure you are able to grow from a range of different therapists who would all operate slightly differently and allow you to learn more than you would from just one team member.
  • Opportunities for joint sessions or the opportunity to have a senior therapist observe some of your therapy sessions. Getting feedback from joint sessions or from having your sessions observed is also a wonderful way to receive support and continue to grow.
  • Case presentations / discussions on a regular basis.
  • Personal support as well as professional support. Find yourself a team that really cares about you and helping you achieve your goals (as well as the business goals!).

2. Professional Development Opportunities

Your university training has been wonderful to get you to this point… but let’s face it, you will need to learn so much more in your first year or two of working! So, what does good PD look like in the workplace?

  • There needs to be a focus on continuous learning – perhaps one of the company core values is about growth and learning, or the team encourages new ideas.
  • There might be regular in-house PD sessions – team presentations, and access to a PD library.
  • There might be paid professional development leave or study leave.
  • There must be some financial support to attend external courses, webinars and workshops.
  • For those keen on continuing to study in a post-graduate capacity, flexibility with work hours is also something to enquire about.

3. Billable hours / KPIs

Asking about what a typical day looks like, is often a wonderful way to find out finding out about typical numbers of clients you are expected to see, or the billable hours you are expected to do. As a new grad, you will be learning on the job, and things will take longer, for a while. You will need to have time to write progress notes, prepare reports, prepare for clients, read and respond to emails, make and return phone calls, and leave work on time. Finding a workplace which has a comprehensive induction period, with a caseload which slowly builds up in numbers of is ideal, to enable you to become used to the systems and processes involved in the workplace, while also adjusting to working full-time.

4. Team Culture

How do you really get a feel for the team culture before working with the team? Team culture is probably the most important part of any workplace. Can you get a sense of the team members and culture from the interview? From social media? From the website? What are the core values of the organisation and do these resonate with you? Is it possible for you to do an observation day or half day to help you really get a feel for the team culture? What do the team members love about working in the team?

There are many factors to consider before rushing in to accept the first job you are offered as a new graduate. Take the time to consider what the workplace is offering in terms of support, opportunities for ongoing learning, expectations of you regarding client numbers and really try to get a sense of the team culture before accepting a job or signing a contract. Taking the extra time now, will ensure you find the best possible job for you to launch your career.

Some possible questions to ask in your interview:

  • What does your supervision program look like?
  • Will I have access to 1:1 supervision? How often?
  • What other support do you offer as part of your new graduate program?
  • What opportunities do you have for professional development?
  • How much financial support do you provide for professional development each year?
  • Do you have paid leave to attend professional development opportunities?
  • How many clients / billable hours do you expect your new graduates to see each week?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What are your company core values?
  • Tell me about the last team event you had?
  • What do you love about working here?
  • What do you love about your current team?

Hopefully we have armed you with a few great questions to ask in your job search and a few things to think about when deciding on a workplace that will help you to thrive as a new graduate. For more information about working life as a new graduate, feel free to look at our Join our Team page on our website, for a video created by our new graduate team members from 2021. We hope you find your dream job to launch your working career as a health professional!