Are you preparing to interview for a new job in speech therapy? One thing that people never ask, but that I think is critically important to learning more about your future position, is the question of longevity. Next time you have an interview, ask, “How long was the previous person in this position?”
The best jobs are ones that people stay in for a long time, plain and simple. All the jobs that I have enjoyed were positions that the previous person held for a long time. Other jobs that weren’t good were ones that had high turnover. For example, the clinic that I currently work in (on Saturdays) told me during the interview that no one on their staff had less been there for less than 10 years. That kind of low turnover rate made me realize that it was a great place to work. (I believe that the reason is that a therapy clinic is a unique environment with OTs and PTs; you don’t have to do a lot of explanation and education about the work that we do and the value it provides).
Many of the school based speech pathology jobs that I interviewed for and worked and had extremely high turnover. Many of the school districts were turning over SLPs year after year. Some school districts I have interviewed in had never had a bilingual speech pathologist before. If the previous person left the job after one year, that is a red flag that the job may not be the right fit for you. Whether it’s the school climate, the caseload, or the parents, there was something that just didn’t make it a great fit for the previous speech pathologist.
You will want to ask follow-up questions to your interviewer about why that person left. Hopefully, they moved or left to be a stay-at-home mother. One time during an interview the school district told me that one of the schools I was going to be staffed at was a difficult environment. It was really valuable to get that information ahead of time, but the school district did nothing remedy the concerns in that placement and ultimately I left after one year as well (as did the one other bilingual speech pathologist).
When it is a totally new position (e.g. there has never been a bilingual speech pathologist on staff), you have no data points for whether or not this is going to be a good job for you.
Ask additional questions if turnover is high. You might not get a lot of information from administration, but you need to try. Even though you may not get to the bottom of why the person before you left, it’s important consideration when you are trying to decide where you want to work. It’s also good to be able to be prepared for what you may encounter on the job.