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What physicians consider in a contract

Posted by Alexandra Cappetta on Oct 13, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Read some of the items candidates look for in their physician contract.Candidates have more to contemplate than just their salary when signing a contract. Sure, they’re thinking about how they’ll be compensated, but they’re also looking to opportunities that will support their family, professional goals and personal pursuits.

A prospect’s acceptance is the goal when extending an offer. But to get there, you’ll need to know which items will be most influential when candidates review their contracts.

Termination clauses
Some prospects may be looking ahead at their termination clause before signing a contract. In the event they may not be able to, or do not want to complete the term stipulated in their agreement, what causes are admissible to leave?

To avoid feeling boxed in, new physicians might be more apt to consider these provisions than more seasoned physicians who have a better idea of what they’re pursuing and how long they’d like to stay. However, candidates may also be considering what qualifies as a reason for you to terminate their contract as an employer – so be in tune to their attitude or concerns when it comes to feeling too tied down – or too replaceable.

Work/call schedule
At the end of the day, physicians of all experiences and ages want flexibility. When physicians get to this part of their contract, it’s like trying on a shirt in a store: If they aren’t fully happy with the way their schedules will look before committing, they wont like it any better after the fact. Be prepared to talk through any concerns or questions your candidate may have about adjusting their schedules and maintaining a work/life balance.

You’ll likely come across all types of candidates. Some will look to their salary first, and others – who really know how to compare opportunities aside from the number presented in the offer – will have a broader outlook. Be prepared and ready to answer questions about how compensation is determined and what opportunities for advancement are in place.

Recently, COVID-19 has impacted many health systems’ ability to compensate physicians. If they haven’t been furloughed or laid off, there’s a chance your staff may have experienced pay cuts. Make sure you’re equipped to talk about recent changes like these within your organization. This should also include fluctuations in patient volume – especially if your facility uses work relative value units or revenue-based compensation models. Candidates may also ask if you’ve decreased incentives like productivity bonuses. Regardless of financial standing, know how your offer has been shaped and how to highlight other incentives if you’ve had to make changes – such as opportunities for insurance coverage or hazard pay.

While compensation is a big factor in accepting an offer, most candidates know base salary isn’t everything. Many will be weighing the benefits in your offer against others to see how yours stack up. These might include student loan reimbursement, vacation and sick leave, maternity or paternity leave, relocation expenses, insurance coverage, and retirement planning. Candidates will also consider whether malpractice and liability insurance will be covered by you as their employer.

Get a feel for your candidate’s values. Do they have a family? Are they considering starting a family? Did they leave a previous organization for a specific reason, such as lack of time off or student loan aid? Determine which benefits are strongest based on your candidate’s needs, and make sure those are standing out as clearly as the offer’s salary.

When handed an offer, candidates have many factors to consider outside of the obvious. As you tout your package, remember: Different prospects value different things. Make a point to know your candidate so you can know what to emphasize and how to best guide them in their decision.

Topics: Job Postings, physican recruiter, physician onboarding

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