Negotiate a Pay Raise!
Going for the Raise
- Assess your negotiating position
Be practical when trying to get a raise and try to determine where you stand at your workplace. Ask yourself questions such as: Does my boss like me? Is my job important to the organisation as a whole? The more "yes" answers you have to these questions, the more confident you should be in negotiating, the safer you are in requesting more money, and the firmer you can be in responding to a "no."
- Get comparable salary info for your job
In general it's good to be able to quantify exactly how much you contribute to your organisation. Use our Salary Check to find comparable salaries for workers in your position. Then, write a one-page memo to the boss estimating your fair market value. That will give your boss something tangible to justify giving you a raise.
- Know the right time to ask
Don't push for a raise when your boss is distracted or your organisation's finances are not in a good state. It's often best to ask for a raise right after you've accomplished something significant.
- Use other job offers
Nothing helps your bargaining position like a job offer or expression of interest from another firm. Even if you'd like to stay, inquire about job openings at other firms. If they express interest you can legitimately tell your boss "I'm very happy here but other firms have expressed interest in me."
- Money isn't everything
If your boss tells you that the money just isn't there, switch gears. For example, suggest a position that requires more responsibility. Or ask if you can reopen negotiations in three months. If the boss agrees, put it in writing.
Can't get anywhere on salary? Try for a noncash, tax-free goodie: the right to telecommute, a more prestigious title, flexible work hours etc.
Responding to Rejection
If you get turned down , don't get mad. Coolly say "I understand your position," and leave the room. An ambiguous response is more effective than an aggressive one because it leaves your boss wondering what you'll do next. If the boss is worried that you might look elsewhere, you're only more likely to get an offer.
Joining a New Company?
Your moment of maximum negotiating leverage comes when you're offered a position but haven't accepted it yet. If you feel confident, make a counteroffer.
But don't wrangle over every last cent. After taxes, the extra money you get is rarely worth any ill feelings you may generate. And your employer will expect top-notch performance. Mess it up and you may end up in the dog box!
This information was taken from "The Art of the Raise" published in Kiplinger's Personal Finance by columnist Marty Nemko, PhD.