Salary Negotiations: Do’s & Don’ts

As healthcare leaders, we often focus on the leadership side of staffing by concentrating on important issues like how to retain talent and reduce employee burnout. However, since the job market recently experienced the highest turnover rates in recent history, it is important to know your worth should the right position present itself. And while the application process for a new position can be time consuming and tedious, below are five tips you can use to reduce the amount of time you spend negotiating salary and making sure you put your best foot forward:
Never give the first number. We’ve all been there, you’re on an interview and focused on making the best impression possible when the interviewer asks you a fairly straightforward question like ‘what is your desired salary range?’. While this may seem forthright, avoid giving numbers if at all possible. By giving any range, whether it is reflective of the market value of the position or not, you can price yourself out:

  1. Of the position if the range you give is too high or
  2. Out of your desired salary and potential earnings if the range you give is too low.

Rather, it is best practice to let the interviewer know it depends on the overall compensation package. If you are truly interested in the position, you can also explain that you would like to learn more about the details of the position before giving a number. However, if you are working with an outside recruiting agency, it is helpful to share your desired salary range with the Recruiter – they often know the pay range for the position and can advise whether you are in the ballpark to help you be well positioned when the time comes to formally discuss salary for the job.

  • Do your homework. Before entering into salary negotiations, it is crucial to know what an appropriate salary is for the position you are applying for. This means, what you are/have been paid for performing similar job functions in the past, and what positions with similar responsibilities in the area are currently offering. It is always important to keep in mind if you are considering relocation that geography plays a part in influencing salary ranges as well.
  • Wait to discuss salary until you are asked. From an organization that specializes in staffing, it is always best practice to wait to discuss salary until asked. Candidates who are overly eager to discuss salary with hiring managers can come across as more interested in the money than they are in performing the responsibilities of the position and creating value for the organization.
  • Consider the overall package. If you are truly interested in the position because of the title, facility, career growth etc., remember to consider the whole package. If the salary you are offered is too low, don’t forget to consider the impacts of other aspects of the compensation package like bonus program, tuition reimbursement, contribution to health insurance and retirement, and distance from home (if you were commuting 2 hours and would only have to commute for 10 minutes for this position, your travel expenses will go down).
  • Look at the position’s impact on your career trajectory and don’t forget about potential future earnings and career advancement. If you get two job offers and job A is offering $10K less than job B, most candidates would probably be inclined to accept job A. However, if you are someone who focused on career growth and job A is offering the opportunity to get your foot in the door as a Senior Director which could help you ultimately achieve your career goals of working in the C-suite, job A might help you earn more in the long run than job B which is willing to pay more for a Director position in the short-run.

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