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  • "Desired salary" field on job application

    I am in a low-paid (by medicine standards) specialty and I am currently in training, looking for an entry-level position.  Many of my job prospects are at academic medical centers.  One of the academic, private, not-for-profit hospitals, which happens to be in a high COL area, has a job site that asks for a "desired salary" that is a required field on the application.  There is limited data on salaries in academic and non-academic settings, so it is hard to know what I should put vs. what would be a turn-off for the people reviewing the applications.  I know that one of the for-profit health systems in a comparable high COL area has a fixed starting salary that's 25% higher than the median for the academic places.  I was wondering, do I put what is approximately the median for my field, or should I add a little to the median (because it is in a high COL area), or could I put something relatively high because in all likelihood the hospital would probably try to negotiate a lower salary than my target (so I should set the target "desired salary" higher than one I would be okay with considering that this is an academic place)?  Any input would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

  • #2
    that's weird.

    i don't think you can mess this up.

    academic centers are not very likely to do a lot of salary negotiation unless you are in some rare field they desperately need or unless you are bringing something amazing to the table.

    you should be able to reach out to your current PD or the chair at the possible job and ask for guidance on this. i think a polite email to the chair asking how you should answer this is what i would do.

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    • #3
      Those fields are stupid. I'd not write anything but maybe negotiable. You write too high and maybe they think youre nuts and pass over, too low and they scoop you up for it. No winning move on your end. The true answer is obviously the absolute highest you can get, to put 10M down or something, but same results. It reminds me of those card machines at the store that ask, 'is $42 okay?', well not really but I dont have any say in that.

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      • #4
        I agree to leave blank or submit "negotiable."  Sorta seems like they should be telling you what they're offering as a starting point for negotiation.  Ultimately, wouldn't the desired salary depend on the rest of the contract?

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        • #5
          It's always tough when you don't have something to go off of.

          For the application - You can always go with the old standby's - "Competitive" or "Negotiable".  If the field will only take numbers, I usually simply put "0".

          During the interview - Others may disagree, but if a recruiter or hiring manager insists on a number, I always aim high.  It's usually at least 20% above what I'd hope to make.  I've been interviewed dozens of times, and I've easily interviewed over a thousand people in the last two decades.  I've never kicked anyone out for asking for too much, and I've never been kicked out myself.  I got laughed at once, but then they countered.  You may not get what you asked for, but sometimes you will.  Don't be afraid of "no".

           
          I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

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          • #6
            I think "competitive" is the best answer.

            You could also get snarky and put in "See MGMA data."
            Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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            • #7
              don't overthink it.  it's not a final number.  obviously it depends on specifically what responsibilities the job entails.

              they have some bullcrap software system that forces this question to be asked.  it's not really meant for physicians.  it won't limit you.

               

              i personally was thrown by your description of your position as entry level because i have never described any physician job as entry level.  i hope you perceive yourself as a highly trained expert with skills that few people possess.  you are not a commodity.  your salary should be commensurate with a number of factors, and experience is only one of those.

              good luck.

               

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              • #8
                Clearly don't aim low.  Look up anchoring if you are unfamiliar.

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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for the advice. I agree that it's tough to put a number out there before they even review my CV.  I think WCI's snarky option is hilarious!  Thanks q-school for reminding me to not sell myself short in terms of how I think about what I could bring to the table to a potential employer.

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                  • #10




                    I am in a low-paid (by medicine standards) specialty and I am currently in training, looking for an entry-level position.  Many of my job prospects are at academic medical centers.  One of the academic, private, not-for-profit hospitals, which happens to be in a high COL area, has a job site that asks for a “desired salary” that is a required field on the application.  There is limited data on salaries in academic and non-academic settings, so it is hard to know what I should put vs. what would be a turn-off for the people reviewing the applications.  I know that one of the for-profit health systems in a comparable high COL area has a fixed starting salary that’s 25% higher than the median for the academic places.  I was wondering, do I put what is approximately the median for my field, or should I add a little to the median (because it is in a high COL area), or could I put something relatively high because in all likelihood the hospital would probably try to negotiate a lower salary than my target (so I should set the target “desired salary” higher than one I would be okay with considering that this is an academic place)?  Any input would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
                    Click to expand...


                    Yea, I would leave blank, "Competitive", or $123,456 if they make you put in a number to indicate that this is something you'd like to negotiate.

                    -WSP

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                    • #11
                      I would leave that field blank or fill in some meaningless term.

                      Salary should be negotiated, but not by a line in a form.

                       

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                      • #12
                        Definitely don't shoot first. I put zero or 1 if the field asks for a number. Best of luck!

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