Ensuring that you get rewarding pay at a job you’re applying for can be tricky.
This is especially true of physicians. Employment contract negotiations can get complicated in the medical field. As a result, many physicians can feel a little intimidated by the process.
However, when you know the rules, the process should be smooth and easy and leave you pleased with the results.
Follow these seven tips for physician salary negotiations:
1. Know Your Worth
The fair market value of a physician can fluctuate based on a ton of different factors. These include location, experience, the type of practice, and of course, the physician’s specialty.
It can be challenging to walk into salary negotiations before doing your own research to determine what a fair salary would be for a physician with your unique situation.
You can get an idea of how much you can ask for by reading through the latest physician compensation reports.
2. Negotiate More Than the Salary
Many physicians begin contract negotiations with only one number in mind; the salary. Unfortunately, they leave many benefits such as paid time off, health insurance, and more on the table.
There may be some positions that might not look too promising when you look at the pay, but the benefits make up for the lack of income.
If you can’t get the employer to budge on the salary being offered, see if they are willing to compensate with better benefits.
3. Get Everything in Writing
Interviewers can throw around many discussions and promises during the negotiation process. This could lead you to believe that you are getting one thing when you find out down the road that this isn’t even in your contract.
After coming to a resolution with your potential employer, read over the contract very carefully before signing anything. What was verbally agreed upon should always be backed up on paper.
4. Don’t Go Straight for the Jugular
According to Physicians Thrive, residents are severely overworked and underpaid. So it’s no wonder that a physician stepping into their first actual practice is so eager to talk about money.
However, jumping into discussions about salary too early in the negotiation process can leave a bad taste in your potential employer’s mouth.
They may begin to wonder what drives you as a physician. They may start to think that you might not be the best fit for their practice.
Although you should not be shy in discussing your desired salary, you need to use tact and good timing.
Often money isn’t even discussed within the first interview. Therefore, it’s best to wait for a request for a second interview before you begin speaking dollars and cents.
5. Ask the Right Questions
When negotiating your position at a new practice, there is no such thing as a bad question. If you want to know about a specific policy or potential benefit, just ask.
One of the biggest mistakes that many physicians make during salary negotiations is failing to ask the right questions.
Asking questions doesn’t just give you answers. It shows your potential employer just how invested you are in this position. Those who don’t ask don’t seem to care very much.
So, what exactly are the right questions? As already mentioned, there is no such thing as a bad question, but you should try to balance your questions to show concern for your interests and the interests of your employer. Here are a few sample questions to help you get started.
6. Think Long Term
Whenever you evaluate a physician employment contract, always check to see if the contract has the potential for a long-term commitment.
It isn’t easy to transition from one job to another. However, you can prevent the need to do this by ensuring the position you land is scalable.
Be honest about your hopes for a long-term relationship and ask if they can add the future possibilities into the contract with clear terms on how you can earn them.
7. Get Your Contract Reviewed
As brilliant as physicians are, they didn’t go to law school. So reading through some of their contracts can start to sound like they are talking in another language.
Many physicians hire a contract attorney to look over their contract before they sign to check for any holes or potential pitfalls that aren’t in their best interest.
This attorney can simply help translate the language in the contract into clearly understood words so that you can sign your agreement with confidence.
Good physicians should be paid fairly for their expertise. However, without the process of salary negotiation, this will never happen.
These tips can help any physician to get the most out of their next employment contract negotiations.