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Contract Negotiation: Basics

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There are many steps between receiving a job offer and signing an employment contract. These steps can be unfamiliar and intimidating, especially if you are accepting your first attending position. At PracticeMatch, we provide education and resources to help you understand the ins and outs of this process. Then you can confidently navigate from reviewing a contract through negotiations and signing.

When reviewing and negotiating a contract, your top priority should be signing a fair agreement. While an employer will extend a contract that serves their best interests, you must ensure it does the same for you. No one wants to sign a contract which does not pay them fairly, provide necessary benefits, outline reasonable scheduling, and include other important terms. Many physicians fear they could be asking for too much when negotiating, but that should never be the case if you are making a fair ask. Your primary goal is to sign a contract that works well for all parties involved. You should never be asking for more than you deserve, but you also do not want to be undercompensated in any way.

Start by determining the market for your specialty and location, as well as considering your individual priorities. If you know what other physicians like you are receiving, you know what is reasonable for your contract to include. In some cases, that could require many significant contract edits, and in others your contract may already be competitive with fair market value. While you can access concrete data on average salaries, signing bonuses, and other numbers, some terms of your contract might need to change based on your personal priorities. Terms like scheduling, call hours, work location, and paid time off are all more subjective. Some general guidelines exist for what is acceptable, but how much you value each of those terms can be a matter of personal preference.

Physician contracts are often long, complex agreements with nuances that have not yet been mentioned here. However, if you approach the negotiation table armed with market data, an awareness of your priorities, and a mindset centered around signing a fair contract, you will be on the right track. For more in-depth information on contract terms to consider or questions you may want to ask your employer, explore our related pages to your right.

We know how overwhelming contracts can seem, even after you have read about best practices. That is why PracticeMatch has partnered with Resolve to offer hands-on contract review and negotiation assistance. When using Resolve's services, you will be connected with an attorney specializing in physician contracts. Your attorney will point out problematic contract terms, take your priorities into account, and help you negotiate with an employer. You will also receive access to salary data for your specialty and location, so you know where your compensation stands. Click here to explore everything Resolve has to offer and access an exclusive discount on any contract review packages.

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