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Negotiating a Pay Raise: The Do's and Don'ts

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Human Resources

06 October 2022

Not satisfied with your current salary? Planning to negotiate a pay raise?

Well… In this article, we will list practical tips & strategies on how to get your employer to “YES” when you ask for your next pay raise. More importantly, after you finish reading this article you will be able to:

  • Walk confidently to your manager’s, or HR’s, room and ask for your pay raise
  • Succeed at getting your pay raise without starting an unnecessary feud with your manager or HR

First of all, no matter how deserving you are of this pay raise, it still is a daunting task… Especially if speaking about money with your managers or HR is outside of your comfort zone!

So what you need to do is make sure you have everything in your persuasion armory for this negociation.

Yes, I said it… It is a negociation!

So what can we do about it?

Do Your Research

Like it or not… there is an inevitable pushback the moment you say you want a raise.

Questions like “Why do you think you deserve a raise?” to statements like “Any worker in your place will have the same salary as yours,” may get started. You need to make sure you have all it takes to answer every question and reply to every statement in a way that showcases intelligence… and competence!

Those two qualities, according to a recent study, prove your potent character and true worth. But, the question remains… How can you make sure that your pay raise negotiation ends 1-0 on your side?

Simply put, do your research!

What you want to do is minimize the room for debate… And you do that by using backed-up data to serve as objective evidence.

So start with researching what your industry pays for your role. You can do that by asking your peers, going online, and looking for job listing sites. You also might ask your HR department about the salary range for your role, which may not be the best option (wink, wink).

However, you must consider that salary ranges depend on many variables including location and company size…

So make sure to check if the ranges you find online belong to companies in your league… You definitely don’t want to compare the salary of a software developer at Google to a developer in a newly emerging company.

Now, you’ve made all of this effort to obtain this data… You are confident as you walk to the target desk.., But…

Ask For a Raise at The RIGHT Time

The company you are working for has just lost a huge amount of money on a deal.

And after wanting a pay raise and pulling an all-nighter preparing a pitch on why you should get it… You’re now informed that salaries may be cut off.

Still, this is not the bad part. The bad part is that you asked for a raise at the worst time ever, leaving a possibly negative impression about you in your manager’s mind.

You don’t want that, do you!?

Another time you don’t want to ask for a pay raise is after the departments have an already set budget. The reason for that is that after the budgets are set, there could be no extra money to give you.

The way around that is to talk to the HRs about when the departments set the budgets. These HRs will probably take it as you being interested in how the company operates. So, chances are you’re getting good answers there!

Always do your research so that you choose the best time to make that pay raise request. Plus, if there is a financial dilemma, I’d suggest you forget about that pay raise for a while!

Now to the third…


Be Resilient

When you are negotiating a pay raise, it is better if you do not fixate on one side; say, salary. Be resilient and always have the big picture in mind. Per se, having a better role with more responsibilities and stepping up the ladder to the C-suite one day!

The more resilient you are, the more malleable your bargain is at your side of the debate. That’s because it’s better if you sound goal-driven, not money-driven.

 Ask Questions

Your company might be focusing on internal equity or external equity. You need to know and understand what your company is more concerned about so that you can act accordingly. You do that by asking lots of questions to comprehend how your organization approaches compensation.

For example, companies that focus on external equity, including tech companies, set their pay range according to other companies’ pay ranges for the same role.

Internal equity, like for salespersons, is where employees who perform similar jobs within a company are paid similarly, and their pay is fairly correlated with the nature of their work.

Simply put, they are paid for the value they provide!

If your company is externally equity-focused, then do your research and gather up data. The more data and the better your delivery of this data, the more impactful your pay raise inquiry will be.

In addition to that, asking questions can also come in handy when you are faced with a “No!” or “This is our absolute final number!” response to your pay raise request.

How? You can dig deeper into why this is their final number… to figure out their constraints. As questions like “Why is this the final number?” “Is this tied to location?” “Or to your years of experience?”

Keep digging till you uncover their underlying interests… and now you can formulate a compensation package that meets your needs and their set budget.

There are other ways to get appreciated for your work besides money, which takes us to the next…

Think Beyond Cash!

Yes! I realize this is an article about getting a pay raise or making headway in the financial realm. But, there are other forms of compensation that might increase your income in the long run.

Instead of asking for more money, you can express your interest in broadening your knowledge regarding your role… This will certainly help you advance your career. A lot of businesses offer classes, conferences, and training courses to those who work for them.

They want to invest in you so that they can increase their ROI with your help in the long run.

At the same time, you will be accelerating your career and seem more trustworthy to them. This certainly puts you higher on the list of promotions.

Now… after discussing the Dos, let’s get to the Don’ts.

Starting with the first…

Don’t Perceive Negotiating as Fighting

Well, we might have composed the afore-section in a sharp tone. But we’re not, by any means, trying to invite a fight over negotiation! Those are two completely different things.

Negotiation may feel like an adversarial way to deal with someone you intend to work with. However, it's better to think of it as an issue-solving open discussion. 'Cos it is!

You are providing a solution that benefits both you and your employer. Along the way, you're also making an impression on them by demonstrating your skill at rational and successful negotiation.

You need to learn to advocate for yourself, and one of the best ways to do that is to master your negotiation skills. And you master it by… Well, Negotiating!

Don’t crawl away & Give up

Negotiating a pay raise can go well and smoothly, or you might be met with a no! In that case, don’t give up!

Remember your goal, then switch the conversation away from the money to another compensation form. Compensation forms include vacations, remote work, or working on specific projects…

Another way to go around this is by requesting a future arrangement for this particular purpose. Saying something along the line of:

‘I understand that we can’t get there today. But can we revisit this in six months with a clear plan for the things that I would need to do to show you that I’m ready for the next step,’”

says Ben Cook, CEO of job-negotiation platform Riva.

Don’t Be Too Humble

Talk about the money you saved for the company, the accomplishments the team you led had, or the success of the projects you headed up… There certainly is something to talk about!

Laying out the facts of how much contribution and value you have to the organization can come to your advantage on your pay raise request.

It is always better if you focused on the areas that you outperformed, over-indexed, or did an extra job for the sake of the company. You might have worked on extra projects, led an entire team, or trained new members or interns… just to name a few!

As you can see, keeping track of these wins will help a lot in those promotions or pay raise negotiations. It’s especially useful if you are precise when it comes to the money you helped save, the size of the projects you supervised, or the gain of the company you took part in making.

 Don't Ask for Too Much!

The fact remains that you must conduct research. Aka, recognize your worth! Put differently, it is inadvisable to simply inform your boss of how the market pays for your role.

You may find out after research that the market pays X amount to your role… But you are getting paid just… half of that. Just keep in mind that your company, not the market, is paying you!

So no matter how the market pays for your role, it’s still the company that sets the budgets according to how far it’s reached in its journey.

Plus, asking for what’s beyond what’s reasonable may make you look greedy and unreliable in the long run.


Finally! We made it to the end.

We have covered the Do’s and Don’ts you should do and don’t do before and including your pay raise negotiation.

And as you might have seen, those negotiations can make you either look reliable and valuable to the company, or a greedy foolish individual that they will want to drop from their team.

Let us know down in the comments how this negotiation went, or if you haven’t brought it to the table yet… Well, just Follow those rules and you will do just fine. Good luck!

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