Physician Compensation – Know Your Worth

Go into interviews and contract negotiations with proper compensation expectations.

The initial interview with a prospective employer or business partner is the right time to establish a good environment to negotiate the salary and compensation plan. By asking the wrong questions or giving ill-prepared answers, candidates may limit their ability to get a better offer or may not understand the “true” income opportunities.

Residents, fellows and practicing physicians who are considering new employment or a partnership relationship all have the challenge of making a good presentation. They must create positive rapport while asking the right questions to see if the new relationship is a good fit.

Appropriate Questions to Ask Potential Employers

During the initial interview or meeting it is important to be ready when the employer asks, “how much do you want to make?” or “what level of compensation are you looking for?”

When this topic comes up it takes the interview into a realm of negotiation that a candidate may not be ready for. Many physicians don’t do their due diligence before this conversation begins and end up starting out the negotiation at a place that is not favorable to them.

What may happen when a candidate is not ready for the compensation question?

They might respond by saying “I’d like to make at least $275,000.”

Is $275,000 fair?

If it is below market value, how would an employer respond?

“Sure Dr. Anderson, we can offer $275,000…”

The employer would be happy to offer this number if they were prepared to offer $300,000. The offer could be better because the going rate in that area for that specialty is more and the candidate would be able to hit the required revenue targets which would enable a higher amount.

When these kinds of questions are asked the candidate should to be ready to respond.

How do they prepare?

The first thing a candidate can do is speak with colleagues who are in a similar stage of their career who may be able to provide insight.

A step up from there is getting access to reputable third party data sources that can provide numbers.

If the candidate has not been asked those types of questions yet and he/she has multiple offers, they can use the other offers in hand for comparison purposes.

Another way to research this information is to contact an advisory group like Physicians Thrive who maintains a proprietary database of all of the contracts it has reviewed and negotiated. That record includes contracts for all specialties, states and practice types. Without having access to this database, physicians are not able to get data that is up to date for the current recruiting year.

Residents and fellows who are considering employment/partnership or physicians who are ready to pursue a new opportunity can get access to data, analysis and counsel by contacting our advisory group.

Through a sufficient level of research and preparation from the aforementioned sources, physicians can go into interviews and negotiations confidently.