Membership & Fellowship: Three Top Myths of Salary Negotiations

This article is reprinted courtesy of HealtheCareers, the managers of ACOG’s Career Connection online job board. Find your next job and career resources at ACOG’s Career Connection.

Stop believing in three salary negotiation myths.

So you’ve gotten a job offer for a great position in a health care facility, but there’s a catch—they want you to tell them what you think you should make. This question scares even the most highly educated health care professionals and often causes people to turn down job offers. This fear is driven by a myth that salary negotiation is a trick method used by companies to weed out those who want a decent salary; this just isn’t the case. Below are the top myths of salary negotiation and how they're busted. 

1. It's a no-no to negotiate salary.

Since this is the most believed myth, it seems fitting to start with it first. A college education and years of experience normally warrants a salary on the higher end of the scale, rather than a typical entry-level salary. However, some businesses offer entry-level salaries in hopes that the potential employee will negotiate the salary a bit higher. This doesn’t mean that if you're offered $40,000 a year you can negotiate $60,000 or $70,000, but somewhere in between is a happy medium that the employer is all too willing to accept. 

2. The key to winning a salary negotiation is to offer a low salary.

Many people apply for jobs that require them to set a salary that they are comfortable with based on their experience. Due to competitive job offers in the health care field, many people make the mistake of offering a lower salary thinking it will improve their chances of getting hired. Here’s the problem — the employer took the time to look through your resume, to sift through your experience and your educational background. Based on this information, they’d like to give you, the applicant, a chance to negotiate what salary you’d be comfortable starting with. If you offer a low salary, this could show the employer that you’re either desperate, or you don’t believe in your own abilities.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, when negotiating your salary, you should keep your options flexible for a better chance of success. 

3. The economy should dictate when it’s the right time to negotiate your salary.

Regardless of how the economy is doing, there are more jobs than ever opening up in the health care industry. Positions in health care administration, allied health, and nursing are growing and are expected to continue growing over the next five years. In a weak economy, this will not mean that you will lose the right to negotiate a fair salary. Just remember, U.S. News recommends only talking about your worth to the company when negotiating your salary and not your personal finances. 

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