Negotiating Your Best Contract: Tips from a Physician Recruiter

By July 24, 2020 No Comments

Many physicians dread the prospect of negotiating an employment contract. This is especially true for graduating Residents who are looking forward to (finally!) receiving their first big paycheck after decades of education and hard work.

It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and unprepared at the idea of hashing out your employment details. After all, they don’t teach negotiation tactics in medical school (though we would argue that they should) and you went into medicine to care for patients, not to play hardball with a recruiter.

Here are six tips to help you get the best deal possible — straight from our expert recruiters. We may not be doctors, but we do this for a living!

1.) Ask Questions

You’re a physician, not a contract attorney. If you don’t understand a certain clause or phrase in your contract, don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation or clarification.

2.) Always be Professional and Courteous 

Even after you’ve interviewed, completed an on-site visit, and been offered a contract, remember to remain professional and courteous during negotiations. Although physicians are almost always in high demand, you cannot assume your prospective employer is not also interviewing another physician. If you’ve found the perfect position don’t let it get away from you!

3.) Frequent Contact / Updates 

Maintain contact and provide frequent updates to convey your level of interest. This will only serve to your advantage as employers are often times more willing to make concessions and negotiate with candidates who are genuinely excited about a position. Even if there is a delay for reasons beyond your control, like waiting for a contract lawyer to look over your contract, be sure to check in frequently so your prospective employer doesn’t think you’ve lost interest.

4.) Know the Total Value of Your Package 

It’s easy to get caught up in an annual salary or hourly rate without giving consideration to critical compensation components like health insurance, 401k company match, disability insurance, malpractice insurance, performance bonus, sign-on and relocation bonus, CME allowance, etc. Before you turn down or accept an offer, make sure you understand exactly what it includes. Ask for a breakdown of your benefits package and what, if any, premiums you will be responsible for paying.

5.) Do Your Research – Know Your Worth 

You worked incredibly hard to get here and you deserve to be compensated fairly. Compensation can vary based on many factors like location and level of experience. Research rates and compensation data for the position and region you’re applying for.

6.) Make a List of Your Wants vs Your Absolute Deal-Breakers 

While some elements of a physician employment contract are negotiable, not all are. It’s important to know in advance exactly what you need vs what you’re willing to compromise on for the right position.


Questions? Our expert recruiters are here to help you — even if you’re signing with a competing practice.

Don’t leave money on the table! Email us at