Whether you find yourself in a booming economy or navigating the current economic crisis, salary negotiation is a fundamental skill. And while it may seem taboo to negotiate a job offer during COVID, it is entirely acceptable, if not expected. A recent study by Robert Half showed that 36% of managers surveyed are more likely to negotiate starting salary with new hires than they were a year ago. And another 50% said that they are as likely to. Kelly Lavin, Senior Vice President of Talent at Jobvite, says, “Overwhelmingly, I and the people I’ve spoken with feel you should still negotiate.” Whether you’re currently unemployed due to Covid-19 or just ready for a career change, consider these tips to help you negotiate that next job offer.
Take the right approach
Recognize that the negotiation process is a collaborative conversation that should result in a win-win scenario. Emphasize the value that you would add to the team. Be considerate of the fact that there may be less room to negotiate than in the past. And try to be amicable throughout the process—especially during these difficult times when everyone is trying to do more with less. Employers appreciate candidates who are confident but also thoughtful. Don’t underestimate the importance of likeability.
Do your homework
Learn as much as you can about the company’s financial situation and the long-term viability of the new position. Try to avoid accepting a job that may be in jeopardy in a month or two. If you see any red flags, it may be better to wait for another opportunity. Do your research to find out how your potential new employer has navigated the current environment. Where does its funding come from? How have they helped employees with the challenges associated with the pandemic?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Ideally, you want to have multiple job offers, which will provide greater bargaining power. Be open to a variety of positions—even those that may not seem like the perfect fit. You may find that by going through the interview process, there is an opportunity to change the role’s scope to be more in line with your requirements.
Don’t sell yourself short
Don’t assume you need to take a pay cut! In spite of the pandemic, your skills and value are the same. If you are unemployed, you have the same ability to negotiate as someone who has a job. Decide on a salary range that you won’t go below and stick to it. Negotiation also shows your potential new manager that you know your worth. Finally, remember your career goals and ask yourself whether this position will help you get there.
Have a plan
Know what you want to negotiate. Would you like to work from home, a higher salary or more vacation time? Prioritize your requests and remain flexible. When it comes to salary negotiation for a new job, you’ll never have more leverage than before you sign on the dotted line. If there are other items or benefits that matter to you, ask for them. All they can say is no. You would be surprised at how amenable companies can be in today’s environment.
Build your case
Despite many people looking for work, if you land the job offer, it means the company has identified you as the best fit. You are their first choice. Build a case that shows you are the ideal candidate. Discuss your experience, skills and accomplishments, and the value you’ll bring to the table. This approach will help explain exactly why your requests are justified.
Do a gut check
The last thing you want to do is consider how you were treated during the interview process. Did they communicate effectively? Were they open and honest? These answers will tell you a lot about how they treat current employees. Remember, this is the point when you have the most leverage. If they aren’t willing to accommodate at least some of your requests now, what will it be like once you are a part of the organization? Ultimately, what does your intuition tell you? Does the idea of accepting the job offer make you feel excited or sick to your stomach?
Many people find the negotiation process stressful and difficult. Yet it’s not as complicated as it seems. Don’t leave money on the table. Not negotiating now can hurt your earning potential and personal finances down the road. By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to effectively ask for what you want and get the offer that you deserve.
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