There’s nothing quite as exciting as answering a phone call to hear the words: “You’re hired.” After hours of research and preparation, multiple interviews and a healthy dose of daydreaming about your first day, you’ve made it across the finish line. Except for one final hurdle—the negotiation process. Don’t overlook it. The negotiation process is a key determinant of success for a newly hired employee, and it doesn’t have to be stressful.
The purpose: Many people who don’t regularly engage in formal negotiations think the process is adversarial, combative and stressful. However, the main purpose of negotiations is not to create a winner and a loser, but to create a framework in which everyone involved is headed toward success.
The most important first step is to gather all of the information you’re going to need. To get you started, here’s a list of information and documents to have on hand in addition to your offer letter:
- Public information about your employer (e.g., website, newspaper, word of mouth, court filings). Hopefully, you have a lot of this from your pre-interview research;
- All information relevant to this position (e.g., job description, employment contract, benefit information, liability insurance coverage). If the employer has some of this information, ask for it;
- The contact information of the person authorized to conduct the negotiation;
- A timeline for the negotiation process. Confirm this timeline with the contact you’ve identified; and
- Legal counsel. Issues can be lurking in unlikely places during a negotiation process. Competent legal counsel can help find them and craft creative solutions.
Finally, take a minute to gather your thoughts on what is important to you, personally and professionally. This will help guide you through negotiations, and match your goals and values with those of the employer.
Some of the issues that may arise include:
Other duties as assigned: This phrase is ubiquitous in job descriptions and employment contracts. Often, the other duty is a simple request that is not quite what you do. But in the medical field, this can mean quite a bit more. Be sure to match this term up with your listed job duties and coverage requirements in the contract. Are there on-call obligations? Can you be told to move to a different shift without notice? If you think this may be a risk you’re not willing to take, you might ask legal counsel to negotiate a provision in which you would be able to renegotiate your compensation if such an event occurs.