AAMI News January 2016

When Is It Time to Talk Money? Tips for Negotiating Your Salary

During Salary Negotiationthe interview process, navigating questions about salary can be a delicate balancing act. On one hand, you want to make sure you are going to be paid what your skills are worth; on the other hand, salary expectations are often used to weed out potential candidates.

Part of walking this tightrope is knowing the right time to talk numbers. “If an employer asks you for your salary expectations up front, you don’t have to give them a number,” said Jenifer Brown, president of Health Tech Talent Management, LLC. “It’s best to say something like ‘flexible’ or ‘negotiable.’ Most candidates shoot too high, thinking employers will negotiate them down later, but you don’t want to be thrown out of the running before the interview. You want the employer to be the first to bring up a specific figure—at the verbal offer stage.”

With the push toward online applications, many employers are starting to require that candidates enter a specific desired salary. In these cases, it is important to research the market value for the position and decide the minimum compensation you would be happy with, according to Ken Maddock, a longtime healthcare technology executive and AAMI Board member.

“If you have to put a specific required salary, don’t be overly aggressive, but don’t put an amount you would not accept,” Maddock said. “If you have done your research and you have a strong résumé, asking for a high, but realistic, salary won’t prevent you from being called in for an interview.”

Earning credentials like CBET certification for biomedical equipment technicians or a bachelor’s degree for healthcare technology managers helps make your résumé more appealing to potential employers and can increase your bargaining power, according to Brown. Degrees, certifications, and professional experience all provide tangible reasons to support a counteroffer for a higher salary.

While asking for unrealistic compensation is a big mistake, so is not negotiating at all. “It never hurts to ask for more than the initial offer as long as you have communicated to the company your minimum requirements rather than a specific amount,” Maddock said. “Once a company makes an offer, it is obvious they want you, and they won’t want to walk away.”