Discussing pay during an interview can be uncomfortable. Here are some tips from the ADA for a smooth negotiation that results in a win-win situation for both applicant and employer.
Know your value
Before your interview, research the salary range for your position by comparing salaries in job listings and contacting people with the same job. Be prepared to respond to employer questions with data supporting your position.
Say as little as possible
Try to avoid discussing salary until you have a job offer. If pressed by interviewers about your desired salary, you could ask about the salary range they are offering. Do not disclose your past salary.
Sell your skills
Be prepared to talk about the skills and accomplishments that support your value.
Establish your target salary and absolute bottom line
Your target salary should be at least 10-15% higher than the minimum salary you would be willing to accept, as this gives you some margin for negotiation.
Take into account the whole package
There can be a wide discrepancy between a basic salary and the value of the total package, so be sure you are seeing the complete picture. Look at basic pay; bonuses; insurance; vacation and sick time; parental leave; and reimbursement for tuition, continuing education, equipment and organized dentistry membership.
Make the negotiation a friendly experience
Make the employer feel that you are on the same side, working together to find a package where everyone wins. Do not tell employers about other offers you received that pay more, unless they ask.
Never agree straight away
Be appreciative when you receive a job offer, but always ask for time to respond. If you do not receive the offer you want, make an appointment to discuss it, but if you cannot negotiate an offer that makes you happy and you feel you need to decline it, do so on the best terms. If you do receive the offer you want, make sure you have it in writing in a signed letter.
For more contract guidance, visit our Career Guidance and Kickstart Your Dental Career resources.