6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Negotiating a Raise

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Some people are hired to do a job and expect to receive regular raises every few months or so, whether they really earned them or not. Unfortunately, employers are not about to start handing out raises just for the sake of handing out raises. Employees need to earn those raises, and this means going beyond hard work alone. Before you ask for a raise, you need to think long and hard about why you deserve it so you can make a good case to your employer. Here are six questions you should ask yourself before you go in and ask for that raise.

1. How Long Have I Been Working Here?

Some companies do give raises after just a few months, but if yours doesn’t follow this practice, you really should wait until you have been working there for one full year. Throughout this time period, you will have had the opportunity to learn, grow and prove that you are a valuable asset to the company. You can’t really do this in just a few short months.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you have been given a lot of extra responsibilities in your first few months with the company and you have proven that you can take on the extra work and be productive, your employer may consider this a good enough reason to give you a raise before you have been there for a full year. If this is not the case, wait until a year has passed.

2. When Did I Receive My Last Raise?

If you received a raise within the last six months to a year, it may be too soon to go in and ask for another one. In most cases, it is best to ask for raises annually. Again, this has a lot to do with the fact that you need to be able to prove that you are productive, and that your productivity will continue to be ongoing after you receive that raise.

Again, there are some exceptions that can apply here. You may have taken on a larger workload, or extra responsibilities. Maybe you went above and beyond the call of duty, and put in a lot of overtime hours to pick up any slack. If you’ve done something that really shows you are worthy of a raise less than a year after your last one, you can consider asking for one.

3. Has the Value of My Contributions Increased?

You are not going to get a raise just because you have worked with a company for a year or longer. You need to be able to show that you really deserve the raise, and this means that your value to the company must have increased. An employer is not going to give someone a raise if they are not providing any real value to the company.

You may think that you deserve a raise because the cost of living is going up, or because there has been a raise in the minimum wage — but remember, employers don’t tend to raise salaries unless you can prove that you deserve it based on your work.

4. Am I Exceeding Expectations?

“These days, it is not enough to simply meet the expectations of your employer. If you want to be recognized, and earn raises, you need to exceed their expectations… If you are going above and beyond, they are likely going to increase the amount of your raise,” says Andy Beresford, MD at luxury games room supplier and high-end pool table retailer Home Leisure Direct.

Unfortunately, there are likely a lot of people who would love to take your job. If your work isn’t up to par and you ask for a raise, you might actually end up finding yourself in the unemployment line. It may be time to buckle down and really show them what you are made of. Then, in a few months, you will be able to ask for a raise, and they should be more willing to give it to you.

5. Is the Timing Right?

No matter how well you’re doing in your job, it may not be the right time to ask for a raise. For instance, if the company is in transition, such as going through restructuring or a merger, it’s almost certainly not the right time. Sadly, even if you truly deserve it, there isn’t much that can be done until the transition period is complete. But, on the bright side, this gives you even more time to prove your worth to the company.

In time, when there is more money to work with, you’ll likely get your raise. In fact, if you wait to ask, they could see you as being understanding of their needs, and, as a result, be more willing to work with you.

6. What If They Say No?

Obviously, there is always the chance that no matter how great of an employee you are, and how valuable you are to the company, your employer ends up saying no anyway. How are you going to react if this happens? It’s not a good idea to show emotion, because it isn’t going to help you — it could just make your employer feel bad that they are unable to accommodate your request.

Even if you think that you’re a shoo-in for a raise, you might want to practice your reaction to a refusal. That way, you’ll be prepared, and will be able to maintain a professional demeanor even if all you want to do is scream or cry.

Using these questions, you should be able to plan for the ideal time to ask for a raise. But if you’ve got any further thoughts on when the best time to negotiate a raise is, or any other considerations you should be asking yourself before attempting to get a raise, why not share them in the comments below?

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