Salary is a very delicate issue during these times because some want to keep their salary, some cheat to get their wage, some want to take a pay cut, and some want an another option. In any case, it depends on the situation; if you like the company and the people, ask your boss to take a pay cut to help out. If you want to keep your salary, you hope the axe does not swing your direction. Just remember: business is always fickle.
This leads to the main part of the conversation, which are the new employees going into a job. It all starts out for people applying to an open job. Next in the process is the prescreen and if you’re lucky, an interview with the employer. In the interview and/or prescreening, someone will ask for salary requirements. I understand why employers want to ask that question because they want to see the applicant’s asking price is in the range of the employer’s target. I hate asking the salary question for two reasons. One is the interview should be about skills of the person and they understand the job responsibilities. The other reason is the person should have done the research of the position and knew what they are getting into. If they do not know, then everyone is screwed and you’re wasting company time.
What salary should be in play for a new employee is if employer offers you the job. This is where the fun begins. The representative of the employer must negotiate and hammer out the details of the offer and both the potential employee and employer have a small window to negotiate and get a deal done as soon as possible. If you cannot get a deal done, time to move on to the next person. At times, both sides have to swallow their pride to get a deal done if either want to collaborate.
The reason I’m mention this because I had several people say the asking salary for companies is too low for DC standards and it won’t pay for their family. For that point, don’t mention your family income situation or you’re having hard times; everyone is suffering the same as you. Describe yourself that you can do the job, if you can fit within the organization, and then we can talk money at the table, but never ever bring up your cost of living or family situation onto the negotiation table, unless you have to relocate. Also, if you want a good analysis of what your job pays, look in Salary.com, Payscale.com, Indeed.com, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Check the size, city, state, industry, and others to get a close estimate of what the position pays. This is what most HR professionals use to get their salary ranges for the position.
What I’m trying to say is in any other time, the job seeker has the advantage because of their talent and the employer’s resources are very deep. During these rough economic times, it’s the employer who has the advantage because they have to select the right person for the job. The employers know what they have to budget themselves for the year, so if the applicant can do the research of where they applied to and understand what industry and region they are applying, negotiations should not be a problem. Of course, the main wildcard will always be the applicant, so be prepared what they’re asking and have your data with you.