Nowadays, checking out any of the job websites or even the ACR career center, it’s like window shopping at a candy store. So many great opportunities. High salaries, suitable locations, and even sign-on bonuses. But, are these jobs with sign-on bonuses all that they are cracked up to be? I mean, how bad can it be, begin with an extra twenty grand before you have even started to work! Well, of course, there is more to the sign-on bonus than what you would realize at first glance. So, let’s go through some of the conditions and circumstances for that first sign-on bonus. And, let me even disappoint you some more when you find out the strings that may be attached!
First and foremost, when you sign on to that job with the bonus, take a look at the fine print. Often, the money will come with the assumption that you will be working there for a certain amount of time. It could be one, two, three years, or more. And, the firm will have the right to take a portion or all of it back if you have not met all the specified conditions.
Look At The Specifics
Sometimes, this signing bonus can be not exactly what you think you are signing up for. Take a look at all the stipulations. It could depend on the number of films that you have read. Or, the practice may only release the money on the condition that you have read mammograms or another specialty that does not interest you. Again, the devil is in the details!
Issues With The Practice Itself
Then, you need to ask yourself, why is the practice offering this extra money? Can’t this imaging center find great people because they are a known entity in town where all the radiologists want to work? Take a second look if they are offering you a bonus. Sometimes these entities provide these excellent bonuses because they can’t retain their employees currently. Is this “gift” just an act of desperation to find a warm body to read the films? Well, maybe yes or maybe no!
And then finally, the most likely reason for sign-on bonuses, the market itself. Is the demand for radiologists at the moment so competitive that it forces them to compete with additional incentives? Is the location not that desirable? Is there truly a severe shortage of radiologists that they would have to make such an offer? Any or all these reasons may be at play. A practice can be an excellent place to work. But, market forces can sometimes create a situation for you to gain from their loss. And, for the end of 2019, these situations are all too common.
My Final Two Cents (A Bit Less Than Some Sign-On Bonuses!)
Really, the case for a sign-on bonus depends on many circumstances, some practice-related and others that rely wholly on the market. In any case, make sure to look at the fine print before you “sign-on” to a job with a sign-on bonus. It may not be what you had initially thought!