Negotiating and reviewing a physician job offer can often be a nerve racking process. Candidates regularly ponder such questions as: When should I bring up compensation, how should I ask for more money and will this make me look greedy? These are all valid concerns that arise commonly in this stage of the recruitment process. Here are some physician job offer negotiating tips to help alleviate some of this initial stress.
- Do Your Homework: The best way to gather information is by asking your recruiter or human resources representative if a hospital’s offers are flexible or not. Be aware that the majority of positions at a price point which allow the client room to negotiate. Gathering information is something you must be pro-active about, however, be sure to do this in a manner which does not lessen your credibility as a truly interested candidate. Timing in this case is of paramount importance and your recruiter should provide insight into when the best time to bring up money is and what the employer has done historically with candidates. If all else fails, use professional courtesy to discern if you are being appropriate or not.
- Know Your Worth: Your worth as a candidate has just as much to do with the location of the job as it does with what you bring to the table. Major metropolitan areas which are over-saturated with physicians consistently offer less money than the majority of undeserved and rural locations of the country. If the job you want is in the heart of Los Angeles, chances are slim that you will be the only one interviewing. This would be a good time to ask your recruiter about your competition. If the job is offered to you, be tactful in your approach to negotiate as there are other candidates who might be willing to take the job for less money. The more competitive the job market is the less leveraging power you will have. So even if you think you are an all-star, there just might be several other candidates competing for the job who are just as qualified.
- Honesty is the Best Policy: Be open regarding salary expectations on the front end so you set yourself up for success on the back end. Don’t say you want to be offered “market value” just to be tactful. Granted some physicians are not focused on money, but if you are adamant that you would like to make a certain amount based on your research, let that be known from the start. You might just be saving yourself a lot of time down the road by taking this simple step.
- Leveraging an Offer: Most would consider it poor etiquette to leverage an offer from one position to obtain a higher salary from another. If you have two jobs and the one you want comes in lower than your second choice; then at least you know what you are worth. There is no harm in asking for the difference, granted it is a reasonable sum, but there is no reason to demand they meet the other offer. If you were the client, is that the type of person you would want to work with? Playing hard ball and pushing people into meeting your demands is often a turn off.
- One Time is Enough: Too many good deals are spoiled by back and forth negotiation getting drawn out over a far too long period of time. Eventually both parties become disgruntled and someone almost always walks away. If you chose to negotiate, is make one counter-offer and be done with the process. Don’t be scared to have an open conversation; this is the best way to negotiate. Almost all clients prefer this than going back and forth with lawyers or third parties such as recruiters who are stuck mitigating between the physician and client.
Lastly, any time you ask for more money, you open the door to be perceived in a certain way. Knowing historically what the trend is in that market, understanding your competition and having done your homework up front will allow you to gauge if negotiating will yield a positive result. If all else fails just remember that showing courtesy and professionalism will always increase your chances of finalizing your deal. Being overly demanding and pushy will not get you very far in this game.
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