DePaul University Career Center's Blog

Salary Negotiation During a Pandemic

By: Kalin Noel, BEC Career Community Advisor

On any given day, salary negotiation can be a stressful task, and now add a pandemic on top of it! However, lucky for you, the approach is still going to be the same. Here are some quick tips to help you start this process and get the most out of your offer. You can also find a helpful handout on the Career Centers Career library here.

Before You Start

Research the position you are applying for and its average salary range so that when you receive an offer you’ll know what a reasonable counteroffer will be. Take note of the areas where your experience matches the job requirements to build a case for why you deserve a specific salary and a valid argument for any vulnerable areas. Both and offer insight into average salaries for specific positions and what specific companies have offered in the past.

During the Interview Process

Practice your pitch for the offer negotiation. Get comfortable talking about the offer, the salary you are looking for, and why you deserve the money. It is illegal in Illinois for a company to ask for your salary history, so don’t mention this in your pitch. Practice your confidence in front of a mirror and with friends so that when you negotiate you’ll have honed your strategy.

After the Offer

Congratulations! Now it’s time to negotiate. The first offer is always a starting point and you should ask for time to consider the offer. You can say “Thank you so much for this offer, I’d like to take some time to look it over and will reach back to you about it further.” Review the research you conducted to build your case for the salary you want and the salary you are willing to accept.

When you are ready, contact the recruiter (or whoever gave you the offer). Be gracious, thank them for the offer, and reiterate your excitement. Then, state your counter offer firmly. Do not negotiate against yourself (i.e. “I would like XXX salary, but I understand if you need to offer XYX salary instead.”) Aim higher than your goal so that if they counter, you will land at the salary you wanted. Once you agree on an offer, get it in writing before you sign anything to ensure the offer matches what you discussed.

If an employer cannot match the salary you want, consider the other benefits you could negotiate before making your final decision, like more vacation time, a flexible work schedule, professional development, or an education stipend. These benefits can outweigh the additional salary you wanted. 

The pandemic is a scary time but that doesn’t mean your salary negotiation needs to be. Employers are expecting it, even during this craziness. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions and see below for some additional helpful resources on your job search.

Additional Resources

Ask A Career Coach: How Do You Job Hunt During a Pandemic?

Before you accept that job offer, do this to negotiate salary

How to negotiate a salary

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