After your interview, your recruiter will want to speak with you about how the interview went. Then they will ask you “If this facility were to offer you a job, would you accept it?” This is an informal agreement to accepting the job. If you say yes, technically you do not HAVE to take the assignment, but it is expected that you will. Later that day or the following day, your recruiter will follow-up with you and will confirm the job offer. They will have to draw up the contract for you and the facility to sign.
Although salary was already discussed during your initial conversations with the recruiter, there is no better time to negotiate your salary than right before signing the contract. Perhaps you initially wanted $55/hour but then you realized that moving to California would increase your cost of living, so now you want $60/hour. This is a good time to ask for everything you need because you already know the facility likes and wants you, and that the agency will do anything necessary to have you work there.
In my personal case, I actually had two different offers from two separate agencies and facilities on the exact same day (1 hour apart). Both facilities seemed awesome and both locations were ideal for me. I decided to be honest with both of my recruiters to help me make a decision. One of my recruiters offered $10/hour more than I originally requested. When I informed the other recruiter, they agreed to match that offer. So now I was back to square one. Coming from Florida I didn’t have a DEA license. The application fee for this license is $700+…. Something I really didn’t want to pay for. The first agency had already offered to pay for my DEA. When the second agency matched my hourly rate, they were sure it was a done deal. However, I told them that the other agency was also paying for my DEA. After pulling a few more strings, my recruiter informed me that they will also be able to pay for my DEA.
Fortunately, I was able to negotiate my time in a way that I was able to confirm both assignments, in which I would do one before the other. Sometimes I just really hate saying no. The second agency was initially upset with me because I verbally confirmed I would accept the job if offered. Yet since no contract was submitted to me, I did have the right to back out. As soon as I confirmed the new benefits, they submitted a contract for me to sign.
I made sure that everything we discussed was listed in the contract. The contract clearly listed my hourly pay, my schedule to include 40 hours a week Monday – Friday, reimbursement for state licensing fees, DEA license cost coverage, travel costs (specifically flight, lodging, rental car), my start and end date, and my requested vacation days.
Looking back now there are some things that I should have requested but did not think of at the time. For example, my flight to the site was covered but my luggage was not. So I had to pay $25 per suitcase per flight. In addition, my site was about 2 hours from the airport, so the gas I used to drive 2 hours each way to/from the airport was not covered. It’s obviously a learning process and in the future I will make sure to negotiate these costs as well. I didn’t think it was the biggest deal since they did book me a day early in Seattle, which was much-needed after a long flight.