Nurses, Pharmacists And Other Healthcare Providers May Have The Upper Hand In Salary Negotiations, According To

An Expert Explains How To Negotiate The Best Possible Salary

Marysville, WA - June 4, 2002 - Now may be a good time for nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, pharmacy technicians and others to review how best to negotiate their salaries, says Frank Heasley, PhD, president and CEO, MedZilla, a leading Internet recruitment and professional community that targets jobseekers and HR Professionals in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and science. “There are shortages across the board in nursing, pharmacy, radiology and in some areas of biotech. What better time to flex your muscle and try to get the highest possible salary,” Heasley says.

Tips from a pro

“You might want to shout your desired salary to the world, but don’t,” says Joe Stimac, president of Kansas City-based, an applicant screening company. In fact, according to Stimac, the key to negotiating an acceptable salary is to remain silent about what you want to make or expect to make until the employer utters the first words.

It might rattle your nerves, but let the hospital make the offer first. If you start talking salary before the employer does, it says, “I’m greedy. What’s in it for me?”

“This is a horrible faux pas that an untrained applicant will make. The first question to the employer should never be: ‘What’s the salary and benefit package?’ This is when you haven’t even explored the job! Your primary motivator appears to be the compensation package,” Stimac says. “It’s almost like dating. The first question you ask your date should not be ‘How much money can you afford to spend on me?’”

Instead, be patient, Stimac says, and wait until the employer makes the offer because that’s when the jobseeker has leverage. The employer’s goal is to pinpoint and offer the lowest attractive salary. “They’re going to ask you, ‘What are your salary requirements?’ The way to respond is: ‘What is the salary range you typically offer for someone with my skills?’ Throw it back in their court,” says Stimac, who is author of the books The Ultimate Job Search Kit and Winning Career Strategies.

By mentioning a salary figure, you set a mental boundary that might be too low or so high that it knocks you out of the running. But if you know the low and high ranges then you know exactly what to shoot for, and, of course, you would go for the high end. Here’s how: Let’s says the salary is between $30,000 and $36,000 and the offer is $30,100. Don’t accept immediately. In fact, say that you’ll need a day to think about it.

“It’s time to play some poker,” Stimac says. Take your day to do research and prepare your case. Look at salary surveys on the Internet for your region of the country. If they’re paying below the going rate, you want to ask why. Hospitals that pay far below the averages send red flags that they might be in trouble. Build a strategy to counter offer. Figure out why you’re worth $36,000. Maybe it’s that you had high grades in nursing school, you have a good work ethic or great experience. Always ask the employer to reconsider—never demand it. State your case and consider acting as if you have another job offer. Be confident. Always shoot high because the employer will counter. “This takes a little bit of guts,” Stimac says.

Do the negotiating before the job offer because once you start the job your negotiating days are finished. The ball’s in your court when you get the final offer. You have to decide whether you can live with the salary. If the salary is low, look at other aspects such as benefits, including insurance, time off, and shift differentials. These are all things that are negotiable before you’re hired. According to Stimac, in many cases you can negotiate starting date, vacation, relocation expenses and a starting bonus. Sometimes hospitals will offer a bonus if the jobseeker starts immediately. Everyone is under a budget crunch these days so be respectful of an employer who can’t offer more but may have some great fringe benefits (nice working conditions, great staff, etc). The ultimate reward may be just a few months down the road with a promotion.

“Your job is basically to make the presentation as strongly as you can about what you have to offer then negotiate the offer to be a win-win situation,” Stimac says.

There’s no time like the present to improve your negotiating skills, according to Medzilla

“Healthcare costs have risen dramatically in the past few years, but healthcare salaries haven’t kept pace. We are seeing that hospitals and other employers are under pressure to hire more and better quality staff, for a variety of reasons,” Dr. Heasley says. “These observations lead us to suggest that now may be a good time for nurses, pharmacists, radiologists and a few other healthcare professionals whose abilities are in demand to improve their salary negotiating skills.”

Established in mid 1994, MedZilla is the original web site to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare. The MedZilla jobs database currently contains about 10,000 open positions. The resume databank currently contains approximately 7,500 resumes, less than three months old. These resources have been characterized as the largest, most comprehensive databases of their kind on the web in the industries served.

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