Questions all new associates should ask

Many new dentists interview for associate positions.  One of our most often asked question from newly graduated dentists is: “What should I ask a prospective employer when I interview for an associate position?” The information you gather can have a major impact on your job satisfaction and your paycheck. Below is a list of the most relevant questions that you should ask when you start the interview process.

  • How have you treated other associates for tax purposes? Are they treated as employees or independent contractors?  There are tax considerations for both, but if you get the answer to this, your financial advisor can help you decide whether it is a good fit.
  • Have you had other associates work for you in the past? If so, how did the employment end and were there any concerns?
  • What hours are you looking for me to cover and do you have a business expense reimbursement policy? If so, what types of expenses will you reimburse for?  Malpractice insurance? Continuing education courses?  What are the limitations imposed?
  • Will I have direct access to the practice management software and how often? This can be critical in determining whether you are being properly compensated since most associate compensation is somewhat dependent on associate production or collections.
  • What types of training and how much will you provide? Will I receive “on the job” training or formal training?
  • Do you have a plan for succession of your practice? Will there be ownership potential at some point in my tenure?  What is your timeline for this and how do you envision the transition to ownership?
  • How will I be introduced to staff and patients? Do you have a full time hygiene department?  If so, what are their production expectations?
  • Can I review the employment contract you wish for me to sign? (There should be one.)
  • How much control will I have in developing treatment plans for my patients? How much involvement do you anticipate?

What are some other questions that you consider important to ask when considering a new position? Let us know in the comments section below.

~Megan Mather, J.D., Mathers Law

Megan Mathers

Megan is an accountant and tax attorney with Mathers Law, a firm focused on providing accounting, tax, business advisory and legal services to the dental and medical communities. Megan earned her Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Marquette University and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Megan's practice focuses on tax compliance, tax planning and wealth and estate planning.

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  1. It was interesting to read this blog. It will be easier to select the new dentist for an associate position. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Informative blog. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Tim W. says:

    Great article for new graduates ! Thank you for sharing.

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