Ask a Recruiter: Can I Still Negotiate My Salary During a Pandemic?

What’s your elevator pitch?

We are the cofounders of Career Cooperative, an Oakland, California-based boutique consulting firm that empowers clients to face career transitions, professional growth, and recruiting with confidence. We consult with companies to attract diverse talent through impactful recruiting and interview strategies and support employees through career development. We started working together at a recruiting agency, and through our combined 15-plus years in full-cycle recruiting and career development, we’ve worked with hundreds of candidates and companies and learned a lot in the process. When you have a focus, understand your value, master the magic of your story, and build a supportive and diverse community, the realm of possibilities is endless.

How can job seekers stand out when there’s a flood of applicants?

Make sure your resume and all application materials are tailored to the role you are applying for, really speak to your values and the value you will bring to the role. Also make sure your resume is clean and easy to read. Think white space, headers, and impactful summaries that allow recruiters to see and know in the first few seconds of reading your resume who you are as a candidate. Resume fatigue is real, and recruiters want easy-to-digest information in a resume so they don’t have to dig for relevant information.

Let’s talk negotiation. Do women have wiggle room to still negotiate salaries and benefits in a market like this? What about flexible work hours or the possibility of maintaining their remote status post-coronavirus?

Yes! Always advocate for what you need and want. The same rules of negotiation apply regardless of a pandemic. Make sure first and foremost you understand what you need and want and your value as a candidate, then ask. You don’t get anything you don’t ask for. And have an open mind about the final compensation package. Maybe there is no room for base salary negotiation upon signing, but you may advocate for clear, regular reviews with performance-based raises.

On the flip side, what are some good tips for hiring managers searching for applicants remotely. Beyond the usual questions about qualifications, what new questions should they be asking of applicants?

Self-awareness, adaptability, and resilience are especially crucial in candidates at this time. Even as we start to learn more about the long-term impacts of COVID-19, there is still much unknown. With that in mind, hiring managers should be assessing during an interview whether candidates are able to withstand the uncertainty of right now and any known plans (or contingency plans) for the future of the business.

  • What did you discover about yourself while navigating changes due to COVID-19?
  • How have you been able to find productivity while working from home?

In tough times, it feels nearly impossible to balance the need for a job with finding a company you love-or at least a work environment that is not toxic. How can women seek happiness while also ensuring stability?

It remains crucial for women to understand their needs and wants when it comes to a job search. Right now, many women are in a reactive job search based on immediate needs that may not align with long-term career goals. This does not mean women have to give up on their career goals, but will have to get flexible and creative in how they think about their job search strategy. It may make sense to focus on a temporary solution to meet their immediate needs, while still proactively searching and engaging in their community for longer-term opportunities.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


At InHerSight, our mission is to improve the workplace for women by measuring it.