Negotiating a salary is a stressful and tricky process in the best of times, but it is even more daunting in today’s jobs recession. Here are 6 tips for successful salary negotiations in a recession.
Do Your Homework. Before going to your first interview for a particular job, investigate what similar positions pay in your market and at comparable companies so that you know what a reasonable salary range is. Also, if you are working with a headhunter, she or he can be a valuable source of information and guidance on current salary levels in your field.
Have a Number in Mind. Decide on the lowest salary that you are willing to accept so that you have a starting point for negotiations. Be tough minded and realistic in setting this figure. Just because a certain salary level would be disappointing to you or less than you think you are worth doesn’t necessarily mean you should reject it out of hand during a jobs recession. As discussed below, during tough economic times, it is more important than ever to be flexible.
Be Flexible. While you should have a minimum salary number in mind, be prepared to compromise during salary negotiations if you really want the job. Also, always look at the entire package being offered, including benefits and other perks (such as a flexible work schedule or the ability to work at home). If the salary offered is low and the company is firm on the salary figure, look for other ways to add value to the package. For example, you may be able to negotiate enhanced benefits, a year-end bonus guarantee based on achieving preset performance targets, or future salary increases.
Be Realistic. During a slow economy, competition for jobs is stiff and corporate budgets are tight, so salaries are likely to be squeezed. Therefore, weigh the benefits of having a job, receiving a regular paycheck, acquiring experience, and developing new skills against the disappointment and financial belt-tightening that might accompany accepting a lower-than-expected salary.
Don’t Discuss Salary Too Soon. Ideally, you don’t want to negotiate a salary until you are offered a job. The interview process should focus on the professional experience, skills and personal qualities you have to offer the employer and the responsibilities, demands and opportunities represented by the job opening. Until the employer decides that you are the top candidate for the job, salary discussions are premature.
Be Professional. State your salary requirements clearly and respectfully and most important listen to the potential employer’s response so that you can jointly work toward a salary package that satisfies the needs of both parties.
Stephen Lytle, blog.emurse.com, How to Negotiate Salary in a Recession – The Emurse.com Blog