Budgeting for your job-search expenses
As you embark on your job search, it is important to be aware of the potential personal expenses that may arise throughout the process. Though it is not uncommon for employers to cover some of these expenses, you should familiarize yourself with them at the onset of your search so that you know what to expect down the road.
Site visits and interviews
Ideally, any expenses associated with on-site interviews will be covered by the employer upfront or reimbursed later on. However, that is not always what happens. It is not unheard of for employers in highly competitive areas to expect out-of-town candidates to cover their own costs if the employer has other local options. Before you make a site visit or interview trip, make sure to confirm with potential employers who is responsible for the costs if it’s not made clear up front. These may include airfare, gas, rental car, hotel and food costs, all of which could be rather expensive depending upon the location and travel distance.
International Medical Graduates who have yet to obtain permanent resident status or citizenship may require the assistance of an immigration attorney both when exploring the potential restrictions associated with their job searches and when filing documentation after successfully securing a job. In many instances, the employer will have a pre-existing relationship with an immigration attorney for you to use and/or may agree to cover all associated immigration costs if you already have an immigration attorney. This, too, however, will vary by employer and is something that you should take into consideration and prepare for as you assess your potential job-search expenses.
A professional contract review should be considered a necessary expense for all physicians. Beyond the compensation package (which tends to get the most attention from physicians), there are many legal provisions within a contract that have a substantial impact on you both professionally and personally even beyond the terms of the agreement. Because of this, it is highly important that you have an attorney (one with significant experience in reviewing physician contracts) conduct a full legal review of your contract before you sign it.
In addition to the legal review, some groups will also conduct a compensation analysis and provide negotiation assistance to physicians. Consider your options, do due diligence in determining your needs, and confirm the total cost for the review - it will vary significantly depending on the scope.
State medical licensure
If you are taking a position in a state where you do not already possess a permanent medical license, this may be an additional expense to expect as part of your total job-search costs. Again, this may be an expense that your employer commits to cover in your contract; however, that is not a given for all employers. It is yet another item you need to take into consideration (and eventually confirm with your future employer) as you assess your expected expenses.
The largest potential expenses of your job search are those associated with relocation. These may include the costs of selling your current house, purchasing or renting a new house and hiring a moving company.
This is an expense many employers are willing to assist with in the form of reimbursement up to a certain dollar amount, which should be outlined in your contract. Seek quotes from moving companies to confirm that the total cost will be reimbursed by your employer.
Jeff Hinds, MHA, is president of Premier Physician Agency, LLC, a national consulting firm specializing in physician job search and contracts.