Evaluating The Offer
Once you have a better idea of the salary and non-cash compensation being offered, you can consider the offer.
Here are some things to think about:
- How much do you need to make? How much do you want to make? What is the lowest salary you’d be willing to accept? What is your salary goal?
- Besides money, does this job fulfill any of your other needs — such as schedule flexibility, the opportunity to learn new skills, or the chance to do interesting work?
- What kind of opportunities does the position offer for training, further education, and/or professional advancement?
- Do you have other job prospects lined up? How do they compare to this position?
- What makes you worth a higher salary? How do you compare to the other job candidates? Do you have special skills that are hard to come by?0707To determine your fair market value for a specific job, you should consider the economic, geographic, and industry factors of the job offer.
It’s okay to ask for time to consider an offer — 24 hours, or the opportunity to “sleep on it” — is common.
Accepting the Offer
When accepting a job offer, get it in writing. Accept the offer verbally, but request a written offer (either a formal letter of agreement or an employment contract).
- Clarify the specific duties and responsibilities.
- Know how your performance will be reviewed, evaluated, and compensated.
- Outline the full compensation package (not just the salary).
Follow-up with a thank you letter that reiterates the job title, annual salary, and your start date.
Making the Case for a Raise
You’re not entitled to a raise — but, at the same time, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your work. If you deserve a raise, ask for one.
Find out how raises are typically handled in your company. Are they given out at a specific time each year? Are they merit-based, or performance-based, or fixed cost-of-living raises?
If you work for a company that doesn’t do annual performance reviews (and raises), ask your supervisor for an opportunity to meet one-on-one to discuss your workload, performance, objectives, and compensation. For each of these topics, you need to take the initiative to prepare the questions and information to guide the discussion. Scheduling regular reviews with your supervisor will help ensure you’re on track with your performance — and give you the opportunity to discuss your performance — and compensation — each year.
Don’t use personal — or emotional — reasons for requesting a raise. Don’t say why you need the money. Your boss likely can’t justify a raise because your basement needs work or you need a new car. “Because you need the money” is never a good reason to ask for a raise. (At least, it’s not a good reason to give to your manager!) What seems to be a legitimate need in your mind might not be for your boss. Keep the focus on your work performance.
Timing Your Raise Request
When seeking a raise, there are certain times of the year when it’s best to request a salary review. This may vary by company, but — in general — it’s a good idea to time your request to coincide with when annual budgets are developed and/or just before when annual performance reviews are conducted.
Don’t wait until your review to approach the issue of a raise; often it will have been decided by the time the performance evaluation is conducted. Prepare your raise request 4-6 weeks before the appraisal period.
A good time to approach your boss for a raise is when you’ve had a major accomplishment (such as bringing in new business or finishing a key project), when you’ve taken on significant additional responsibilities, or when you’ve earned recognition for your work.
One key issue of timing is knowing where your company is financially. If they just lost a huge customer — or sales weren’t what they expected in the most recent quarter — this may not be the best time to ask for a raise.
Another bad time to approach your boss for a raise is when he or she is busy or is getting ready to go on a trip or vacation.
Don’t ask for a raise just because a couple of other people you work with got raises. Because “everyone else” got a raise doesn’t mean you will too. And don’t compare your salary with other company employees.
Be sure to schedule a time to talk with your boss about the issue of a raise. Send an email or make a personal request (on the phone or in-person) for a meeting to discuss your performance.
If your request for a raise is turned down, realize that the reason may not be directly related to your performance. Sometimes the timing just isn’t right. “No” now isn’t “no” forever. If the answer to your request for a raise is no, ask what you can be doing to position yourself for a salary increase in the future. See if you can schedule a time to revisit the topic in the future (say, three or six months), and ask for objectives and/or milestones to reach in the meantime.
Prepare Supporting Documentation
When asking for a raise, provide written materials to back up your salary request. This can include salary data from websites, previous performance evaluations, letters of recommendation, and job postings for similar positions.
If you haven’t been keeping a “brag file,” now is the time to start. Keep a journal of your work accomplishments, letters of commendation from your boss, testimonial letters from customers, and awards. Identify what makes you different (and/or “irreplaceable”) from other candidates or employees.
When asking for a raise, prepare a 1- to 5-page document outlining what you’ve accomplished (including testimonials, either from other employees or excerpted from performance reports or project status updates) and your salary research.
Make a list of your work achievements and quantify the value to the company (in terms of numbers, percentages, and dollar figures). This provides concrete data for why you’re valuable to the company. Be prepared (with examples) of projects you’ve completed that generated revenue, or saved the company money, or solved a specific problem. Focus on what you’ve done to create positive changes in the company, manage unruly employees or customers, build relationships (internally and externally), and avert disaster. You need to justify your raise.
Also, highlight what you’re working on right now (especially the impact these efforts will have on the company in the near future). Outline your goals for the next year — what are your priorities and what will they contribute to the company?
When you negotiate with a busy person, make it easy for them. If you come in with a fully fleshed-out document supporting your raise, you make it easy for them to say yes. Approach your preparation with this thought in mind: If I were receiving this information, what would make me want to say yes to the request?
Consider using a free service like Get Raised (https://getraised.com) to help you develop your case for your raise. It will help you articulate your value to the company and creates a letter that you can submit as a raise request.
Finish the Negotiation
Whether negotiating an initial salary or a raise, be aware when the negotiation is done. Pushing further when a deal has been set can leave a negative impression.