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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: In the past, we’ve run Q&A pieces on how to ask for a raise. Asking is a critical first step, of course, but what happens next? Once you have your boss’s attention, how do you negotiate that raise you deserve? What tips do you have for employees who are ready to sit down and talk raises with their bosses?


Goulston1. Focus on the Future

Focusing on the future and being proactive is much more likely to work out than focusing on the past and being reactive.

Sit down with your boss and say: “Can I ask you a hypothetical question?”
Hopefully, they will say, “Okay.”

Then say, “Going forward, what do I get done for you and our department that would cause you to say to your boss when I’m being reviewed, ‘I’d like to get employee X the highest raise and promotion possible before a competitor tries to poach them from us’?”

Mark Goulston, MarkGoulston.com

Linda2. Prepare for the Possibility of ‘No’

Know what your strategy will be if you are turned down. For instance, you might say, “I appreciate your point of view and the financial state of the company right now. What do I need to do to earn consideration for a raise in the future?”

Anticipate the objections you might face and what you can say to address them. Help your leader sell the idea of increasing your pay to their boss.

Linda Swindling, Journey On

Sam3. Speak the Language of Revenue

Consider framing your request in terms of what you’ve done for the business and how your work has driven top-line revenue and profitability over your tenure.

If you can mathematically demonstrate the impact of your work, it will become much easier to rationalize a pay raise – particularly if you’re currently generating more money for the company than you cost to employ. Remember that your supervisor will be focusing on the request through the lens of their managerial budget, which is a function of both personnel expenses and revenue generated by your division. Keep these things in mind and position the conversation as a way to talk about a change that can help drive the success of the business long-term.
Sam McIntire, Deskbright

Michele4. Keep It Formal

Schedule a time to discuss this with your manager. Don’t just pop into their office and ask if they have time to talk. Prepare them for the conversation so they don’t feel blindsided or put in
an awkward position.

Michele Mavi, Atrium Staffing

AJ5. Have a Number in Mind

Define the raise you would like. You need to know exactly how much money you want from your boss – but don’t go overboard. You may want ask for a raise that is slightly higher than your target, because your boss will likely aim for the middle ground – which will turn out to be the number you were looking for.

AJ Saleem, Suprex Learning

Roy6. Consider Some Alternatives to Cash

If the money just isn’t available, you don’t want to look like a fool by asking for something you can’t possibly get. You will lose credibility, and so will your request. Your boss will be likely to get angry, frustrated, or disappointed.

Instead, think about some of the alternatives to cash, like equity ownership, transportation allowances, and reimbursement to attend conferences – which is a business write-off that also makes you smarter and more valuable to the company.

Roy Cohen, The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide

Talaya7. Show Your Boss You Have Options

I believe that the best way to get a raise is to show your employer that you have other options. If you constantly promote your personal brand outside of work (via business cards, networking events, websites, blogs, etc.), management will see that you have options and the power to leave. Alternatively, if management thinks that you have no choice but to stay in your current situation, it will be almost impossible to get a raise.

Talaya Waller, Waller & Company

Lynda8. Be Flexible

Present your target compensation rate as an opportunity to consider; do not present this as an all-or-nothing deal. No one likes to be put into a corner, and it will only weaken the trust and respect that decision-makers have with you.

Lynda McKay, Bagnall


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