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4 Job Offer and Negotiation Points to Consider During Coronavirus Pandemic

Updated on April 20, 2020
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Nilza works as a remote career development and curriculum professional. She's a certified CDF with NCDA and has an M.Ed in Student Affairs.

Job Searching and COVID-19

As a career development professional, job searching is a topic that is consistently top of mind for me. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our daily lives, dynamics and industries as we know it. We are seeing unprecedented trends in employment and hiring.

Job seeking in this moment, as with many things, is uncertain. Much of the career advice you have received to date did not have to account for a crushing pandemic. Even in the midst of this stressful time, there are still active job seekers experiencing movement in interview pipelines that can lead to an employment offer.

If you are job seeking, my best piece of advice is do not stop pursuing opportunities! You cannot be considered for a job that you do not apply for. Yes, companies are on freezes and have paused processes as they try to figure out their approach to hiring. Yes, many companies are down-sizing or furloughing. However, there are companies and industries that are experiencing booming hiring needs and growth because their products or services are in high demand. Do not give up on your job search or goals!

As you pursue opportunities, keep in mind that a job offer now may look different then it would have before the Coronavirus. Job offers are also dependent on the type of role and industry. For those anticipating an offer and potentially entering into negotiations, here are a few considerations in the context of COVID-19:

1. What Is the Hopeful Start Date and Location?

When you receive an offer, clarify the terms surrounding your beginning date and location. Companies have continued to find creative ways to switch employees from the office to working from home. Most employers have decreased the number of people who need to work in person down to an absolute necessity. Based on your industry and role type, clarify if you are going to begin your role and training remotely or if the goal is to work in-person. If it cannot begin remotely, inquire what will happen if stay at home or shelter in place orders conflict with your start date.

Open a dialogue about how you will get started in your role based on the ever-changing situation. COVID-19 is new territory for everyone, so do not hold back on asking clarifying questions. Though many companies have their offers and training down to a science, the pandemic will bring up dynamics they have to creatively workaround to continue to get new employees started.

What if the offer is for a remote role due to circumstances, but you would like the opportunity to one day work at the office, in-person? Make your desire known, giving your future employer a heads up that you would love the opportunity, when possible, to switch your role from remote to in-person. A lot of things can change from the point of offer to start date, and even once on the job. Do your part to make known the work environment you hope to establish in regards to location.

Speaking of location…

2. Will You Be Moving?

If your offer will need you to move in the future and start remotely, inquire what your options are for time off to relocate. Trying to move in the middle of this crisis will be a little difficult, to say the least. If you are able to start by working from home, you and your employer may be looking forward to the day you can work in the office. However, you probably need a few days to transition from your current location to the next.

To eliminate confusion about expectations on this topic, bring this up early! Clarify if you will be able to receive paid time off (if so, is this in addition to your vacation days?) or if it will be unpaid. Make known your estimated timeline, needs and plan for moving, when it is safe to do so. This will help you and your employer be prepared for the days off you need to get personal arrangements in order. Additionally, inquire if they offer financial assistance or bonuses for relocation expenses.

3. Are You Set-Up to Work Remotely?

If offered to start remotely, your employer will hopefully explicitly detail what resources they will provide to get you set-up. However, if there are tools, devices or software that you need, do not hesitate to ask. The worst answer you can get for inquiring is no. At an absolute minimum, working remotely requires a steady internet connection and a computer to get started.

Chances are, if you’re asking for an item it’s probably related to your work and within reason to request. For example, if you need a higher internet speed than what you currently have, it is not unreasonable to inquire if a higher package can be subsidized. Before making requests, inventory what you need so that you can enter into conversations informed on what to ask for.

Examples of needed items:

  • Home office furniture, like that of a desk and chair
  • Computer/laptop and related gear, including a second monitor, printer or keyboard
  • Professional microphone or headphones
  • Technology, apps or software, that help get the job done
  • Phone reimbursement, if using personal cell or landline for business
  • Internet reimbursement
  • Office supplies

As a professional who records content, I need a microphone and pop filter to enhance audio. A second monitor helps increase productivity.
As a professional who records content, I need a microphone and pop filter to enhance audio. A second monitor helps increase productivity.

4. Is Salary Negotiable?

If you receive an offer you'd like to negotiate, but cannot due to current economic conditions, request a future performance review with a potential merit-based increase. Hopefully, your offer is within market value for your experience, the role type, title, and location. If not..negotiate! With few exceptions, the worst-case scenario for asking “is there room for negotiation?”, is a firm “no”. The worst-case scenario for not asking is money or resources left on the table. More times than not, companies make an offer anticipating entering into negotiations.

Say you ask if negotiation is possible, and you receive an honest reply: "Right now, based on current conditions, this is the best offer we can make." Then, inquire what salary adjustment and raise processes look like at the company. You can accept an offer as it stands, but request that after a successful performance review you can be considered for a salary adjustment. Make it a part of your offer letter or get an agreement in writing outlining that after budget conditions change, you can potentially receive an off-cycle performance review. Though negotiation may look different at this time, make a practice of negotiating to develop this professional skill.

Take Time to Consider the Offer

When an offer arrives, you may be tempted to accept on the spot. DON'T! The considerations outlined above are just a few of many which you need time to mull over.

Next steps after an offer:

  • Ask for at least 1-3 days to consider it OR ask by when they need an answer
  • Request the offer in writing (if it was discussed verbally) to have time to read over and review it
  • Update other companies you're currently interviewing with that you've received an offer (in case they may be prompted to extend one as well)
  • Talk it over with family, mentors or colleagues

Best of luck to all job seekers during COVID-19! Have any experiences or considerations for job offers during this time? Share in the comments below.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Nilza Marie Santana-Castillo

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