Physician Job Search: Tips and Advice

Negotiating Your Contract

Negotiating Your Contract

Now that you won them over with your CV and interview, (for more help, take a look at Top 3 Ways to Create an Effective CV and Purpose and Basics of an Interview) next comes the negotiation.

Contract negotiations are a very difficult part of the hiring process simply because of a physician's unfamiliarity with the legal aspects of a contract. The following are some suggestions to make the negotiations result in satisfaction to both parties.

You and your attorney:

  1. Choose an attorney who is acquainted with medical contracts or physician employment law. A lawyer whose specialty is wills and divorces is not the advisor you need. Ask your faculty or attending physicians for suggestions or ask your recruiter (if you have one) for names and phone numbers of experts.
  2. Stipulate a date by which the review must be completed. The hiring entity expects you to respond in a business-like manner, which means within 10-15 business days.
  3. Attorneys and physicians are trained to look for problems. Ask your lawyer to tell you what is good about your contract as well as what needs reconsideration.
  4. Ask your attorney which items are most important. Negotiation is compromise. You cannot expect to prevail on every issue. Are there any "deal breakers"?

You and your future employer:

  1. If you want changes in the contract, you should request them yourself. You will appear stronger and savvier if you plead your own case.
  2. Be prepared to compromise. Prioritize your requests; know what is most important to you and what is not essential. Present all your requests at the same time. Do not ask for three things in one conversation, have the employer acquiesce, and then call the next day to request three more.
  3. If you must return to your attorney for further advice, let the employer know your plan and specify when you will call again.

If you are working with a recruiter, keep them informed of your plan and your progress. Recruiters read dozens of contracts and may be able to suggest language or compromises that have worked in other situations.

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