Negotiating the best package
So, you’re looking for a job in your chosen area. Something has come up and looks good, but it’s not exactly what you were looking for. Can you ask for a higher UDA rate? Can you discuss different working hours? Will there be any training opportunities available to you?
While it may seem daunting, there are situations where it is perfectly acceptable to do a bit of negotiating. This is the case for most positions advertised outside of London. Within the city, there are more associates than vacancies, so practices are spoilt for choice. Outside London – especially in more rural areas – competition between associates is lower and practices have to adapt or compromise in order to appeal to the best candidates.
In these regions, you may be able to agree on terms that suit you better than the original offer. Of course, there are boundaries to what you can ask for. The most important part of the process is to ensure that you are justified in what you request and that you demonstrate how you will provide that extra value for the practice and its patients. For example, if you’re looking for a higher UDA rate but you don’t have much experience or confidence in several areas of general dentistry, a potential principal is unlikely to agree to your request. If you show that you can offer additional services like tooth whitening to complement the general dentistry already offered in the practice, they might be more willing to increase your earning potential in exchange for bringing in new patients.
It is therefore essential to have realistic expectations. You may need to compromise so it’s necessary to prioritise what it is you are looking for in your first job. After all, if the perfect job came up but the UDA rate was £2 lower than you’d hoped, would you be willing to pass up the opportunity for the sake of a few grand a year? Money is not everything and you may find that career development opportunities or mentorship programmes are more important to your future than the exact UDA rate you get paid in your first associate job. When it comes to any related discussions with potential practices, make sure that you or your agent speak directly to the decision-maker – having a third party involved will only cloud the waters.
There are many benefits of an agent working on your behalf in these situations. In the first instance, they can help you find the vacancies that meet your criteria or that offer opportunities to negotiate acceptable terms. The agent will also help you make a stronger argument to support what you’re asking for and then they can negotiate the very best package for you. Plus, they will ensure any and all agreements are provided in writing to ensure no last-minute adjustments or disputes.
Finally, it’s crucial not to feel rushed. Outside of London, it’s common for FDs to receive a handful of job offers before they make their decision. This will allow you to compare the packages available and determine what features or opportunities you value most. You can also establish whether negotiations might be possible by assessing the demand for associates in the area. A quick search of associate vacancies on Indeed.co.uk will provide a fairly accurate summary. Lots of advertised jobs in the past 3-4 months, means you are in demand and can hold out for the ideal package. If there are few advertised jobs, this means either that there is a lot of talent in the area or not many practices/associate opportunities. In this situation, you need to be more aggressive in your search and in showing the principal that you are the person they want.