How Do I Negotiate Pay When Offered a Dental Job?

by | Oct 24, 2022 | Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienists, Dental Job, Dental Professionals, Work Life | 0 comments

Getting offered a job is one of the most exciting things that can happen during our adult lives.  

But that excitement could quickly dissipate if the pay offered is less than desirable.  

No, you don’t have to turn down the job or settle for lower pay if you approach the situation the right way…

Follow these 5 steps to help earn your desired job & pay rate.

#1 – Know the minimum rate that you are willing to accept.  

Being educated about current pay rates for your position is key. Do a quick search on any job board to see what is being offered in your area for your position. Keep in mind your experience level and what you bring to the table. And obviously your monthly expenses need to be covered. Once you have all the info, you should know what your desired pay rate is.

#2 – Be Vague and Upfront

From the start (if asked) be vague about your current/past pay wage and be upfront about what rate you would want if offered a position.  

I used to say don’t discuss pay until offered the position, but in todays job market, I would mention your pay rate during the initial phone interview. It is not worth waisting your time if they can’t match your pay.

This will also make it a whole lot easier once it is time to negotiate pay and benefits.

#3 – Don’t feel like you have to accept the offer right away.  

If you are the right candidate, they will give you a night to think things over.  Simply ask “Can I have the evening to review this offer? I will give you a call first thing tomorrow morning.”

But please make sure you call them when you say you are going to call them. Don’t make them wait till the afternoon if you said you will call in the morning. You can choose to negotiate the pay over the phone or ask to meet them again to discuss the offer in person.

#4 – Use Non-Negotiable Verbiage

Whether you decide to counter when they give you the offer OR the morning after, you want to word your counter offer with non-negotiable verbiage. Something like “I really love this office and I am excited about the opportunity to work here.  I know I would be a wonderful asset to your team, however, I need to my rate of pay to be $__. Could we make that work?”


There might be a long awkward pause, but whoever speaks first loses.

Most likely (as long as your ask isn’t too high) the dentist will say “Ok”.  

If not, simply ask, “What is the best you could do?” Or “If I accept this current pay, how soon would we do a review with a raise?”  

Based on his or her answer, you can decide if you still want to accept the offer or if you want to walk away. If you walk away there is a chance he gives you the pay you asked for, but only choose the walk away route if you can afford to not take the job.

Want an alternative way to get higher pay?

Make your desired pay rate transparent from the very start of your job search. Using your free DirectDental profile, you set your preferred rate of pay so dental practices know what you are asking for before they request you to interview for permanent or temporary jobs. Sign up free today!


Holli Perez 

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