Here is the easiest way to get a raise at your current job.
Peter Murphy, a 35-year-old software developer based in St. Paul, Minnesota, never really thought about leaving the company he worked for for nearly a decade.. But when a recruiter contacted him on LinkedIn with a higher paying job in a startup, he was intrigued.
“I thought it wouldn’t hurt to practice the interview and see what else is there, ”he says.
After the first round of interviews, it became clear that the new venture, which allegedly doubled Murphy’s commute–was not perfect. Still, he considered going to the second interview anyway. If he played his cards right, Murphy thought, he might be able to turn the most lucrative offer into a raise in his current job.
In the end, he decided not to. “I could have put my current job at risk if I hadn’t approached it the right way,” he says.
Many people have faced this situation – wondering if trying to take advantage of a higher paying job offer is worth it. Done well, and you might end up with an even better counter offer. Done poorly, and you could find yourself out of work.
Here’s how to do it right.
Is it still okay to pursue a counteroffer?
Short answer: Yes. But you will have to walk carefully.
While it’s never a bad idea to explore other career options, having disproportionate expectations about what your current business “owes” you could really hurt you, explains career consultant Jana Tulloch.
“This can be a very useful lever if the organization really wants to hold you back,” she says. “On the other hand, it can cause a bit of malevolence if it is seen as a threat.”
Think about a few “what if” scenarios before you sit down with your boss. Like… what if she asks to see your letter of offer? Or are you actually ENCOURAGING to take the other job?
“Be prepared for what they call your bluff,” says Paula Rauenbuehler, Milwaukee-based executive leadership coach.
How to start the conversation
If your interest in outside work stems from a desire to earn more money, remember that the best way to get a raise is simply to ask for a raise.
Find your market rate on job boards like Payscale, and tell your manager that you have found similar roles that pay more than what you earn.
“You’ll know pretty quickly if they’re open to negotiating or whether it’s better to take the other job offer,” says Tulloch.
If you’re already considering an outside offering, be frank about it, advises Justin Terch, professor of human resources at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
“It’s often a good enough clue that the money might be something they could offer to keep you going,” he says.
Justify your request
As with other types of salary discussions, you need to make sure that you are prepared to provide plenty of evidence as to why you deserve a raise. Before meeting with your boss, document your contribution to the organization. How did you go beyond your job description and prove yourself to be indispensable? You can even type a brief overview to give to your boss during the conversation.
“You will want to support your request for an increase based on the added value you have brought to the business,” says Rauenbuehler. “Explain why you are worth more today than you were last month.”
Evaluate what you really want
Getting a job offer can be a confidence booster, explains Jennifer Brick, career coach at Capdeca Solutions. But it won’t change your situation or resolve any underlying dissatisfaction. If you’re looking for a new job, or are seriously considering an offer you’ve come across, maybe money isn’t the real issue.
“When people are looking for a new job, they’re usually at the point where they’re so unhappy with their current job that they need a change,” says JD Miller, Director of Revenue at Motus. “Have an offer in hand … will not change [their] conditions. ”
Keep in mind that even if your current job matches your salary, it may not be enough motivation to keep you going for the long haul. Use your situation as an opportunity to assess your long-term career goals and think carefully about the type of work environment that will get you there. Maybe it’s time for a new challenge … or even a new career.