The Contract Series: Part 2 – Reviewing the Terms

You’ve been offered a contract. In many cases, the initial contract is a standard document with some wiggle room. Remember, you’ll have to live with the conditions of this contract for a long time, so it is essential to understand the offer in its entirety.

Start by reviewing the general terms of the agreement. You probably have a good idea of the salary being offered, the position, and the insurances from previous correspondence, but the devil can indeed be in the details. A legal review is a prudent investment at this point as it can help identify areas of ambiguity before the final contract is written. You may also want to have a colleague or mentor review the document before proceeding. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you read through the contract:

Make a note of any areas of discrepancy based on previous conversations

Often, something that may have been verbally mentioned during initial interviews is not included in the contract. This shouldn’t be an automatic red flag. Sometimes, a practice may have interviewed several clients and it could be a simple oversight, but be sure to address it upfront. So long as both parties agree that it was an oversight, it shouldn’t be considered a negotiation concession and can be easily amended.

Make a list of areas you would like to discuss. 

Mentally classify the issues in order of importance to you. Justify areas where you want to see improvement. Don’t just say, “I’d like an extra week of vacation.” Who wouldn’t? It is much more compelling to present facts of the vacation time for professionals at a similar level.  Your ETS representative may be able to supply you with some useful information. 

Go into the meeting with a plan. 

You don’t have to take over the meeting, but be sure all the areas you wish to be covered are addressed. Don’t be afraid to take notes.

Be willing to negotiate but try to stay positive and pleasant. 

You are a candidate they want—that’s why you got this far. 

In the end, this is an agreement between someone who is entrusting their career to a practice and a practice owner who is entrusting their reputation to you. Our experience is that these things generally work out. But don’t sign anything until you’ve read the third part of our series!


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