Every physician, whether seeking their first job out of residency or fellowship, or seeking a new opportunity after having been in practice, needs to negotiate the terms of their new position—either employed or as a member of a practice.
A minimum of two parties are required for a negotiation, and that means two viewpoints will be represented, and two sets of requirements need to be fulfilled.
As in-house recruitment professionals, our job is to help our physician candidates be clearly informed about the organization, opportunity and community when they interview with us, and fully understand all of the information and options being presented to them by the prospective practice/employer, who we represent.
Today we will assume that you, the candidate, have already done preliminary homework, and have selected several opportunities for site visits.
Important questions to ask
Once serious discussion has begun regarding an opportunity and you are considering an offer, you need to make sure you understand the following for each opportunity, in order to appropriately negotiate the points that are important to you:
- What is the timeline for post-visit contact and/or an offer?
- What is covered/included in an offer?
- What are the timelines for responding with questions or acceptance?
- Once I’ve accepted the offer, what are the next steps?
- Does the organization have additional interviews to conduct?
- Have you given the organization your timeline for making a decision?
- Do you need to provide the organization with any additional information so they can make a decision?
- Do you need more information from the group in order to be able to make an informed decision?
Understanding the offer
Next, understand what may be included in an offer. Depending on the type of group you are joining, an offer outlines the following:
- Compensation model and first year salary/draw amount
- Initial contract term (One year, two years or more? Renewable, limited or self-renewing?)
- Any practice restrictions or restrictive covenants
- Work schedule
- Productivity, such as patient/procedure volumes
- Call schedule
- Administrative duties
- Teaching responsibilities
- Research responsibilities
- Professional liability (malpractice) insurance, including tail coverage
- Termination of agreement (with and without cause)
- Proprietary information
- Items unique to the organization’s culture and hierarchy