New physicians aren’t always prepared for the contract negotiation phase. You’ve probably observed a range of reactions from prospective new hires - from the mild-mannered candidate who doesn’t want to be a bother to the one with an endless stream of requests. Regardless of where your latest candidate falls on this spectrum, you can play a supportive role in keeping everything on track by offering thoughtful follow-up - especially in each of these scenarios.
You haven’t heard anything from the candidate
You’ve informed your potential hire that you’re on hand to answer questions, decipher legal lingo, or set up additional meetings or phone calls. However, days have gone by and you’ve heard nothing. It’s always wise to check back in by calling or sending a quick message, re-stating your assistance. Invite them to contact you, but also leave a date on which you’ll reach out again.
Your candidate is unfamiliar with the region
Potential new hires coming from outside the area might not have the time available to explore or research the region. Satisfaction with the area plays a key factor in employment longevity, so do your best to assist both the physician and his or her family. Keep current materials on hand that provide information on both a personal and professional level to help them evaluate. What is standard in terms of salary, expectations and insurance? What’s the area’s cost of living, available schools, child care arrangements and transportation norms?
Ask if there is any other specific information they need that might help them to gain a better idea of the big picture, either for themselves or their family members.
Your candidate hasn’t mentioned anyone other than him or herself
Sometimes a potential new hire’s spouse or family member opposes a relocation or a specific region, but the physician proceeds forward anyway, thinking that their loved one will warm up to it once the offer rolls in. This usually doesn’t end well. When the entire family isn’t on board, the physician may end up backing out at the last minute, or their employment with your organization may be short-lived after a stressful home life.
You probably have an idea of who else is important to your prospective hire. Ask if any part of their contract affects these other individuals. For example, a restrictive covenant also limits their partner’s regional flexibility in terms of future jobs. Invite your candidate’s spouse or partner to meet for coffee, or set up a video call so you can answer any questions face to face.
Everything is a show-stopper
You’ve heard back from the candidate - again and again. Their requests seem to multiply, and they are all "high priority." Though asking questions is a good sign, reel your candidate in a bit. Suggest they prioritize their items, reminding them that they’ll get a better reaction if they are willing to give in exchange for a take. Or, schedule a meeting to establish an end-point for questioning and shift to negotiating.
Everything is fine
Your potential new hire has an easy-going personality - something everyone liked about them. But in terms of their contract, they remain easy-going, with minimal to no questions at all. It’s highly unlikely they are in agreement with everything as-is; once enough time has passed, it’s important to fish around.
Find out if the candidate is still interested in the position, or if they need assistance deciphering any areas of the contract. If they remain positive about the opportunity, remind them that you are expecting them to ask questions, and doing so will only improve your long-term relationship. Conclude the call by setting a date on which you’ll talk again, or setting up a meeting.
Contract negotiations can be a stressful time for a new physician, and everyone handles stress differently. Checking in as a friendly liaison can be just the reassurance they need to cut through any problems and settle on a contract that pleases everyone.