How to Negotiate Salary in a Recession

Negotiating salary always seems like the most stressful part of the job interview process. You want to make sure you are happy with what you are being paid while simultaneously not pricing yourself out of a great opportunity. Nevertheless, paying your bills and living a comfortable lifestyle are important factors when you think about the hard work and hours you will be putting in to earn all that. Today’s economy and tough times have made this process even more difficult.

Here are some tips to help you negotiate your salary in a recession.

Wait until the end of the interview process to bring up salary requirements.

Often times managers have a budget, but if you are an awesome candidate for a job budgets can be stretched if need be. You want to make sure you sell them on your skills, abilities, and that you are the perfect candidate for the job before you tell them your salary requirements. It is usually best to wait until the end of the interview process to bring this up. If it is brought up immediately in the interview process a good way to put this off would be to say,

“I would prefer to hear the complete details and responsibilities of this position, as well as understand the environment and team dynamics before assessing what my salary requirements would be for this role.”

This can show the manager that you are more concerned with your professional development and being a cultural fit with the environment rather than simple being paid. Most managers would love someone who is more concerned with the type of project, work involved, and personal development rather than monetary issues bring the lone factor; the reason being that those candidates who are only concerned with compensation are the first to jump ship for a better paying job.

Be prepared to justify any attempt at a raise.

If you disclose what you made before and are requesting a raise in your salary then you need to have reasons to back up why you deserve that raise. If you made 45k before and are now requesting 55k then you need to explain why this is necessary. If you were hired at 45k and received multiple certifications, have continued your schooling, have taken a lead role in your project/job, have mentored others, etc. then these are great reasons why you deserve more in a new position. Simply stating you were hired at 45k and have been working the same job for 5 years and think you deserve more because you have been there so long is not a good enough reason. Be prepared to back up your request with proof you deserve it.

Do your homework.

Research how much similar position in similar companies pay. Find out how much your position pays at other companies and use this to your advantage. If you are qualified for a position then you deserve to be paid appropriately. Research what is appropriate for your geographic area, company domain, and specific role and use that information to your advantage. If you are asking for more than what is average, then back that up with your reasons why you are worth more.

If you’re working with a recruiter, take advantage.

A loophole to waiting to the end to discuss salary is when you work with recruiters. Be prepared to discuss salary on the first call. They are submitting your resumes as a specific rate and have little to no negotiating power once it is submitted. Be prepared to explain why you are worth a certain amount and back that up. Be honest with recruiters and tell them bluntly what you need to make. They will see everything they can send you too and will likely try to work with you on more than one position. If they know what your realistic salary expectations are they can present you with more opportunities.

Be realistic.

Finally, be aware that the current market is not doing very well and many positions are now paying 15-20% less than they did a year or two ago. As more and more companies find themselves in financial trouble they have to find ways to cut their budgets, unfortunately, it often comes down to cutting new projects and reducing human capital. Times will turn around so just be realistic in today’s market and hopefully you will be compensated later for your flexibility.

Career, employer, job, Salary