Negotiation Strategies for ECPs

Many of you are on the cusp of graduating from fellowship. Some of you are in your very first job but are wondering if the grass is greener elsewhere. All of you could benefit from negotiating strategies. Here are some tips that we find useful:

  1. Remember that you bring a unique skill set to the employers. There are only about 8,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists in America. There is an increasing demand for our services across the country.

  2. Develop a clear idea of what you want from your next job. This means financial goals of course, but there are other factors to prioritize. How important is it for you to have time to work on your career development or flex time for your family? Will this job take you closer to your professional and personal goals? How much control do you need over changes in your workload?

  3. Clarify, clarify, clarify - do not be afraid of asking questions. What will your responsibilities be? If you work with a team, how functional is it? How much formal versus real authority will you have? What are the spoken versus unspoken needs of the organization? Will you have coverage during vacations and conferences? Beware of organizations that do not allow you to freely speak with current or former employees about these issues.

  4. Put yourself in your future employer's shoes and allow for give and take in the relationship. Perhaps there is a specific need in a clinic that needs to be filled immediately, but opportunities to advance later on. If the initial offer lacks a key component, do not hesitate to ask about it, especially if it is a deal-breaker for you. However, do not ask for too many things in the counteroffer, as you may have your employer resent your excessive demands.

  5. Network like crazy! Stay connected to the regional and national mentors. At AACAP, the Mentorship Network, Early Career Psychiatry Committee, and Regional Organizations have all been outstanding resources.

Thank you for reading! If you'd like some more information on negotiation strategies for ECPs, check out an annotated bibliography, composed by Howard Liu, M.D., here.