5 Steps to Considering a Healthcare Offer

By Joe Stein

If you are close to receiving an offer…congratulations!  You have impressed the Recruiter and Hiring Manager through the entire process and have reached the point where they would like you to join their organization.  You are not quite finished yet, as you still need to evaluate the offer in front of you and decide whether to say yes to this prospective employer.

If you are in Healthcare, you may be in a much different situation than others when it comes to considering the offer presented.  The reason is that for many of the jobs within healthcare, talent is at a premium and it can be quite competitive between employers in their desire to fill open slots.  This presents you in a much better negotiation position and requires you to evaluate a job offer a little bit differently than others.  Among the areas of highest need are Registered Nurses, Home Health Aides, and Physical Therapists.

• Determine Your Current Search Situation – When evaluating the offer in front of you, take stock of your current situation.  If you are currently employed, you are in a position of strength compared to someone who is unemployed.  Decide whether your current situation is stable.  Review the other positions you have applied for and where you are in the decision process with them.  Determine whether you expect to be receiving any other offers in the near future.  All of these decisions should be made to help you determine how marketable you currently are and your relative position of negotiation strength.

• What Do You Value Most – Pull out a sheet of paper and a pen (I know “old school”) and start making lists.  The first list should be those items you “Have to Have” - these are your non-negotiable things, and you will not consider an offer without them.  The next list comprises of what are “Nice to Have” - these items are the things you like, but will not be a deal breaker without them.  The final list is the “Avoid” - these are items that you don’t want, and will not accept an offer with them.  These lists of what you value will generally be based on your previous experiences in employment, and any information you gathered from the hiring process through interviews, speaking to colleagues, etc.  You should find this exercise to be very enlightening and helpful when evaluating an offer.  I would even recommend all job seekers to do something similar, prior to starting your job search, in order to provide better focus.

 Pay and Traditional Benefits – This is the aspect of the offer letter that most people are familiar with reviewing.  Do your homework and have a feel for what is the market rate for the type of position you are seeking. This is especially important if you are new to Western New York, as compensation is generally tied to your geographical area.  Some companies in especially competitive fields have even resorted to offering sign-on bonuses for talent that comes aboard and stay a certain amount of time.  Benefits typically are fairly rich in the healthcare, but there is still room for evaluation.  Compare not only your levels of coverage, but also your out-of-pocket costs.  Examine this information compared to your personal situation and needs.  One area that sometimes is overlooked but can be very important is retirement benefits.  Does the position you are seeking have a defined pension plan or a 401(k) (403b for not-for-profit companies), and what are the employer contributions tied to it.

• Immediate Supervisor – An employee’s relationship with their immediate supervisor is a critical component to job satisfaction. Give some thought to your connection with the prospective supervisor by reviewing your interaction with the person during the interview process.  Determine whether you feel like this person is the type of leader you desire.

• Company Culture – Consider the reputation of the organization you are considering joining and how does that compare with what you have now.  How do they value employees and, in particular, the people in your particular field?  Determine if the company reinvests in their employees by providing ongoing training and certification opportunities.  Especially in healthcare, it is crucial to keep your skills current.  There are many ways you can find out information regarding an employer, from the “old fashioned” calling colleagues to searching the internet for comments. 

As you continue with your job search and close in on a new job, start to think about your potential job offer.  You can even get a head start on the evaluation process by doing the first two steps outlined above.  This way you can quickly decide, when receiving an offer, if it is the right one for you.

As always, best of luck in your job search!