How Long is Long Enough to Stay at an RT Job?

Career Advice from RT ManagersCan frequent job hopping hurt your chances of getting an RT job? RT managers provide advice on the subject.

Now that the job market for RTs has become tighter in many areas of the country, most therapists aren’t as tempted as they used to be to hop from one position to the next. But if you still think this is a good idea, think again.

In the following interview, three RT managers — Keith Torgerud, MBA, RRT, from Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, WI, Mikki Thompson, MHA, RRT, FAARC, from South Miami Hospital in Miami, FL, and Don Carden, MBA, RRT, CPFT, RCP, from Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita, KS — answer three questions about the length of time at a current job they expect to see on an applicant’s resume before they’ll consider her for a position in their department.

When a therapist applies for a job in your department, how long of a tenure at their current job do you want to see on their resume?

Keith Torgerud: I like to see the therapist has committed at least one year to an organization before seeking jobs elsewhere.

Mikki Thompson: To show a little consistency and commitment, about a year. Minimum six months.

Donald Carden: Assuming the applicant is not a new graduate, I prefer to see at least 18-24 months of tenure in their current job. That said, I would also be cautious if the applicant had more than two or three jobs with only 24 months each.

Why do you think it is important that the person has put in at least that length of time on his current job before seeking another job?

Keith Torgerud: This provides a bit of information about a person’s work habits. Employers want to hire and maintain quality employees. Frequent job changes and/or gaps in work history make me question the candidate’s ability to be a committed and engaged employee.

Mikki Thompson: It takes some time to establish the relationships needed with new staff, along with new processes from one organization to another, geographical location, or culture. Time is also needed to identify personal goals.

Don Carden: A medical employer is making a substantial commitment when they hire a therapist, which includes the costs of orientation, training, and competency verification. I think that a therapist does have some obligation to their employer to help them find a return on their investment in hiring them.

What advice do you have for job seekers about sticking to a job for a certain length of time before trying to find another position? How can it help in subsequent job searches?

Keith Torgerud: It is important for employees to serve the organizations who employ them, especially if there is a designated commitment agreement. Many employers consider work history, attendance, and a candidate’s abilities to work with leadership and the team during the hiring process. Be ready to answer behavioral based questions regarding your work history during the interview process.

Mikki Thompson: I think that it shows commitment, loyalty, and growth. Keep in mind organizations invest a lot in the process of orienting new employees and it takes time for someone to meet expectations, personally and organizationally.

Don Carden: While there may be appropriate reasons to leave a job early, I would recommend that this not be the dominant pattern in a candidate’s work history. A series of short-term jobs is a red flag that will cause many interviewers to want to explore that history further.