Contract Negotiation Tips for Medical Professionals

It goes without saying that medical professionals lead busy lives. Whether a physician, nurse, x-ray technician, or other healthcare worker, a lot of your time is spent on the job making sure your patients are getting the highest possible levels of care.

Which all goes with the territory.

But what about before you get a job? When an employment offer is made, and you may be ready to sign on the dotted line? This is where many health professionals can fall short. It’s called negotiation – it isn’t taught in most schools – and there really is an art to being successful at it.

So to help prepare yourself for this process, here are 5 proven tips for negotiating a satisfying and surprise-free medical employment contract:

Don’t Negotiate Until You Receive the Offer Letter

Before a candidate ever gets an employment contract to review, the potential employer sends an offer letter. The applicant is then asked to sign and return this letter, which not only outlines basic details of the position, but also commits the health professional to sign the employer’s standard form of contract. This is where the negotiating phase begins. 

Determine if the Offer is Competitive

The more information you have upfront, the more prepared you’ll be when you return to the table to come to a final agreement. So before deciding on whether to accept an offer – or come back with a counteroffer – it’s important to determine how competitive the offer is. An experienced healthcare recruiting agency used to reviewing a large number of contracts can share insights on the trends they’re seeing in your specialty and geographic area. Some firms may also be able to share comparative compensation data from sources. 

Come Prepared with Questions 

Your confidence level will rise when you come to the table prepared with all of your questions. No need to barrage the employer with endless queries but ask the questions you really need answered. Examples include getting clarity on starting compensation, insurance, sick time, PTO, training, retirement savings options, timing for salary increases, number of direct reports, etc. This reduces any confusion on both sides and can speed up the overall negotiation time.

Carefully Review the Contract

Once you’ve completed negotiations, take the time necessary to carefully review the details – which in most cases, should include legal assistance. Don’t sign anything until you have an attorney look at it, because there can be a lot of legal wording. An attorney will often pick up on things in the contract offer that would never have been caught otherwise.

Don’t Sign a Letter of Intent Prior to Negotiation and then try to Renegotiate it

A common mistake candidates make is signing a letter of intent (LOI) when they receive an initial offer and then try to negotiate salary or other conditions before signing the contract. While an LOI is not legally binding, it’s the equivalent of a handshake. Asking for more salary or perks after the handshake can not only rub the employer the wrong way but even torpedo your chances of being hired. That’s why it’s best not to sign an agreement — either binding or non-binding — prior to concluding negotiations. 

i4 Search Group – Recruiting Healthcare Heroes since 2019. We’re a permanent placement recruiting firm specializing in healthcare recruiting across North America. If you’re a nursing, allied health, or any other healthcare professional looking for your next career move, visit our website and see how our experienced team of professionals can help you find a great position in 2021. 

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