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How to answer: what's your ideal salary?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by nephron View Post
    The correct answer is "go fudge yourself, I don't talk to recruiters". Don't go through a recruiter to find your next job, they are not looking out for your best interest. They will try to extract a 20-30K fee from your next employer that could be used for your signing bonus and besides hiding you from potential employers, they will make an employer less likely to hire you over someone who is not using a recruiter. It's not that hard to not use a recruiter, you can google whatever specialty you are in and make a few cold calls. Doctors don't mind cold calls from other doctors. It's in our nature to be helpful.
    Agreed. 3rd party recruiters are worse than used car salesman.

    a lot of medium to larger places have their own internal recruiters tho which is what I was referencing. Agree avoid 3rd parties at all cost esp for a permanent position

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    • #17
      I get bombarded with texts and phone calls by recruiters all day, way more than I did before the pandemic. I could tell them all to go jump in an icy river but I just ignore them. I am glad to get unsolicited data (albeit flawed data) about what other positions are paying by the hour in different parts of the country. I am also astonished that the calls and texts from the same recruiters continue for months and years even though I invariably ignore them - some people just don’t seem to realize we’re not that into them.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by burritos View Post
        I'm sure I'll be perceived as a chump here. Been working at the same UC since finishing residency. Vaguely aware of average pay. I'm pretty sure I was in the bottom 25th percentile. I've gotten intermittent small pay raises over the years with contract renewals. I think I proactively asked for a pay hike maybe once or twice. It was family owned, but was sold last year to a corporation. Was going to ask for pay hike from the corporation, but when they gave me the contract it was market rate so for me it was a 40% raise plus options. Way more than I expected. So I can't complain.
        Sounds like you allowed yourself to be underpaid for a while but that the new employers caught you up. It is pretty common, and it doesn’t make you a chump. Just not proactive. While you are worth the market rate, the employer doesn’t have to give it to you if you don’t ask. You know what to do at contract renewal. Figure out the going market rate. Demand that in the new contract.

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        • #19
          I wouldn’t use a recruiter. In some industries, it’s reasonable - but medicine isn’t one of those.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Timparsons952 View Post
            Agreed. 3rd party recruiters are worse than used car salesman.

            a lot of medium to larger places have their own internal recruiters tho which is what I was referencing. Agree avoid 3rd parties at all cost esp for a permanent position
            Even with an internal recruiter, it is best to avoid “a number”. Total Comp and how it is structured is the information needed. Base, incentives and benefits need to be understood. Use the question as an opportunity to have the recruiter lay it all out.
            • You want to understand exactly how work will be measured and how you will be paid.
            • You want to understand the benchmarks they use and expectations.
            • You want to understand how transparent their philosophy is for the next contract.
            Because this is your first job out of fellowship, you will find different different comp models. Everything from a 100% fixed base to 100% incentive or productivity. Ask not only how they pay, but what their expectations are.
            This question is a great opportunity to open discussions to the nuts and bolts and avoid surprises.
            Note: An in house recruiter can actually be transparent and give you department statistics, data and a clear picture of realistic expectations. Whether they actually do, depends on the questions and how the hospital handles comp.
            Bonus for you is the discussions will reveal points for negotiation when a contract is offered. Do not negotiate during these discussions.




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            • #21
              I stay well informed of local contracts which btw are significantly higher than any of the wage estimator websites or surveys I have seen with my solid network of colleagues willing to discuss compensation. I have always told them the specific number it will take to get me to change jobs. I’m not really into negotiating and can always take it or leave it.

              The best general advice I can offer is do not ever give a range because you will look green and are telling them your bottom price and that is what you will be offered.

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              • #22
                a very reasonable answer to this question is that you'd like to be in the upper 30-40th percentile for comp for docs in a similar position.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by MPMD View Post
                  a very reasonable answer to this question is that you'd like to be in the upper 30-40th percentile for comp for docs in a similar position.
                  Your real problem coming out of fellowship is “upper 30-40th percentile” of what? The “perfect job “ for you for you likely does not exist. Median is a good reference point.
                  What have recruiters you approached indicated? That might be the best starting point.

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                  • #24
                    Since I started the job search, I've left it which an open ended answer "I'll investigate what the going rate of the area is, but I'll hear what offers are available and consider".
                    my whole thing is, if there is a job I really want, should I still leave it as an open ended question?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by SpeedingTicket View Post
                      "I'll investigate what the going rate of the area is"
                      Don't say this.

                      You should already know the going rate before having to answer this question.

                      Intentionally acknowledging that you don't know this will make your potential employer think you are either unprepared, not serious, lazy, or stupid.

                      Best to avoid those associations, when possible.

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