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Contract negotiation red flags


Negotiating salary and contract details Posted by Alexandra Cappetta
Negotiating salary and contract details

Presenting an offer is an exciting step in your search for the physician or advanced practice provider you want to welcome to your organization. At this point, it’s typical for a candidate to negotiate details of the contract, such as its length, the proposed salary and the call schedule.

Ideally, your negotiation process will be a smooth one and will result in both of you feeling good about the final agreement. But sometimes there can be unexpected hiccups or sudden red flags.

Here are a few scenarios when it may be in your best interest to walk away from the contract negotiation process and rescind your offer:

Red flag #1: You can’t come to an agreement

Typically, candidates are advised to counter an offer no more than twice during the negotiation process. If you’re constantly going around and around with your candidate to come to an agreement, it can become a burden - and come across as highly unprofessional. We can call this the "merry-go-round negotiation."

If it starts to feel like your candidate won’t ever be satisfied with what you have to offer, there’s a chance it may be the case. When they won’t accept certain policies or practices set in stone, or their counters become excessive, it’s acceptable to tell the candidate you think it’s best to part ways so both parties explore more fitting options.

Red flag #2: You think you’ve come to an agreement, but then…

If you’re at a point where you and your candidate are nearing an agreement and they attempt to squeeze more out of the offer at the last minute, it could be a red flag. You should also note if they’re dragging their feet through the process or delaying their responses because they’re still assessing other offers.

Is the individual trying to make a final attempt to ensure they’re receiving the best possible offer from you, or are they taking advantage of your willingness to work with them? If it’s the latter, it may be time to walk away.

Red flag #3: You learn conflicting or disqualifying information

Unfortunately, there may be times during the negotiation process when you learn a candidate hasn’t been completely transparent with you throughout the interview process, or other critical information comes to light.

If you realize your prospect withheld important details about their experience, fabricated their requirements in hopes of receiving an offer or you find other information that may have removed them from consideration earlier in the process, rethinking your offer could be acceptable.

This also applies if you learn other negative information about your candidate after extending the offer, such as a failed pre-employment drug test or offensive or harmful social media activity.

Red flag #4: Your candidate isn’t the person you thought you were hiring

How a candidate handles a negotiation process can say a lot about their character and what they’ll be like as a team member. When their initial expectations aren’t met, does their demeanor change or do they handle next steps with grace? Do they become argumentative, or do they express patience to work with you to arrive at a consensus?

If an individual becomes demanding or develops an attitude when they don’t get exactly what they want, this might be an indication of who they are as a colleague and employee.

Note their willingness to work with you to come to an agreement that’s mutually beneficial; if it’s lacking, it might be time to look for a candidate who is solution oriented and more open to collaborating with you. 

Red flag #5: You’re on the other end of an ultimatum

If your candidate says something similar to, "If you can’t provide X, I’m going to reject your offer," or "I won’t be here long if this part of the contract can’t be adjusted," take note.

Someone with this approach may not be the type of staff member you want on your team. If they’re giving you ultimatums this early in the process, it’s likely their communication style will be demanding and difficult throughout their time serving your health system.

The last thing you want is a new hire with one foot already out the door, or any indication that they will be ready to leave as soon as soon as their contract ends.


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