How can I negotiate in my interview?

  1. I will be graduating RN school in December. Right now I am completing a preceptorship at a hospital that I hope to work at, and I have the feeling that the nurse manager has her eye on me as well. How do I go about asking for an interiew with this facility, and how do I negotiate for some of the things that I am hoping for, like a sign on bonus, or college loan payback, etc... It just seems like my classmates are precepting at the local hospital close to our college campus, and they are all being invited to interview. My situation is different because this hospital isn't close to campus, and they are new to preceptorships. I want to make this as smooth as possible. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Quickbeam
    I think it helps to know if the things you want are even possible at the hospital you want to work at. Fact finding first is helpful. Also, despite a lot of columns in business journals that tell people to go in blazing & negotiating, that can cost you a job. Even in a field like nursing, if what you want is too out of line with what they offer, they'll move on to the next person.

    I have two friends who lost positions they wanted with over-aggressive negotiating tactics. One was over higher salary and more vacation time and the other wanted assurance of 6 month maternity leaves. Both hospitals said "Sorry". If you do have non-negotiables, make sure you can take no for an answer.
  4. by   elkpark
    Hospitals tend to be large, fairly static organizations without a lot of flexibility. In most cases, they either offer things like sign-on bonuses and loan repayment and you automatically get them if you qualify, or they don't. Not a lot of room to negotiate. Also, you'll be graduating with your entire class, right?, and there will be a whole crop of newbies out there looking for jobs (and the hospitals know this). If you aren't satisfied with what they are offering you, there are plenty of other new grads job-hunting in your area and they will just move on to the next applicant.

    Sometimes, nurses who have particular skills and experience that a hospital really needs are able to negotiate quite a bit in terms of salary and perks, but new grads fresh out of school are a financial liability for hospitals for at least the first year or so, and the hospitals have little incentive to go out of their way to entice you to come work for them (as compared to any other new grad). I don't mean that to sound harsh, but it's just the way it is. If a sign-on bonus and/or loan repayment is really important to you, your best bet is to identify hospital(s) in your area that offer those benefits and apply to those hospitals. You're unlikely to talk a hospital that doesn't already offer them into making a special exception in your case.

    Also, as you're job-hunting, be aware that hospitals that do offer generous sign-on bonuses (esp. to new grads) often have some v. good reason for doing so -- i.e., working conditions are so bad there (for whatever reason) that they have a lot of trouble keeping staff.

    As for asking for an interview, most hospitals have their open positions posted on a bulletin board in a public location somewhere in the hospital -- just look over the open positions and fill out & submit (to Human Resources) applications for the ones that appeal to you. HR will take it from there. Good luck with your new career!
  5. by   alkaleidi
    In addition to what others have said...

    Look closely at the sign-on bonus. Do the math and figure out what it would end up adding onto your hourly wage.

    For example?

    $5000 bonus over 2 years for a 40-hr/week job.

    That adds about $1.20/hr to your wages (before taxes). Sign-on bonuses are taxed, so you won't even see an actual $5000 even (or 2 payments of $2500, etc). And for another $1.20/hr, well, not much of a "bonus" when you really think about it, especially if it's to distract you from the possibility that the reason they are offering the bonus, as mentioned above, is because they can't keep the unit staffed due to whatever chronic problems it has. Just be cautious, and ask a lot of questions both of the unit/dept manager AND staff nurses.
  6. by   RNperdiem
    Wow, things have really changed from when I started.
    New grads took what they could get-usually the least popular shift on the least popular floors with the hope that with a few years seniority they could move to day shift or a speciality.
    Just being a new grad when there is a nursing shortage is benefit enough.
  7. by   elkpark
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Wow, things have really changed from when I started.
    New grads took what they could get-usually the least popular shift on the least popular floors with the hope that with a few years seniority they could move to day shift or a speciality.
    Just being a new grad when there is a nursing shortage is benefit enough.
    You took the words out of my mouth, sister! (Except that I find that when we say things like this here, we get flamed for being mean, out-of-touch old battleaxes )
  8. by   llg
    Also ... Negotiation should not occur during an interview. Negotiations should occur AFTER they have offerered you the job. Use the interview to sell yourself and to find out if the job is right for you. After they offer you the job -- and you are deciding whether or not you will accept -- is the time to ask them how flexible they are about some of the things that matter most to you.

    But as elkpark said, as a new grad, you are as much a liability as you are an asset. It is very expensive for hospitals to hire and orient new grads. They generally want to see a track record of successful nursing practice before they are willing to do much negotiating (if then.)
  9. by   April, RN
    I would hand your resume in to your nurse manager in person. That way she/he knows you are definately interested in staying on your floor as an RN once you finish your preceptorship. You will have to apply as well, but being able to skip HR and go straight to the manager since you know them is a great advantage... especially if there will be many applicants applying for the same position.

    As for negotiating, I just graduated this May and the job market for new grads is VERY competitive in my area. It was very difficult to get an interview and even more difficult to actually get the job. There were just sooo many applicants for so few positions. They told us what the starting pay was and what perks and benefits were offered to us... negotiation really wasn't an option. However, it may be different in other areas of the country.

    Best of luck!
    Last edit by April, RN on Sep 18, '07

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