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Negotiating When Unemployed

At some point in your career, you may lose your job. An economic downturn or reorganization might prompt a layoff, or you could be fired. Understand the reality of your situation as it relates to salary negotiations.

  • Your market value is likely going to decrease as time passes. That’s why it’s best to start a new job search immediately.
  • Be flexible. Everyone wants to earn more in their next position, but as you consider offers, keep in mind that when you’re unemployed, your income is zero.
  • If asked about your compensation target, offer a range. Don’t make the company guess what you want. They may prefer to move on to someone else.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have multiple offers, be careful about using one to leverage another. Some companies will compete and some won’t. Tread carefully, especially with your preferred opportunity.

Being unemployed has some advantages:

  • You can start a new job immediately. Your competition may not be available for several weeks.
  • You may be able to use your previous employer as a reference. A confidential job search is no longer required.
  • Contracting is an option. If you’re willing to be flexible, the company might want to hire you as a contractor to see how everything works out before committing to a regular hire.