How to Ask for a Raise

As your career mentor, I’m always on the lookout for great information that can help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.  That’s why accept guest posts of exceptional quality.

Here’s one on how to ask for a raise by Amy Klimek, VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter

How To Ask for a Raise 

Asking a boss for a raise is never a completely comfortable situation, but quality employees that have remained loyal to a company will no doubt want to increase their salary or hourly rate at some point. While every boss and company is slightly different, employees that want the highest chance of earning a raise should keep these few tips in mind so that they know exactly what to say and when to say it.

Research Your Company’s Pay Practices

Diving headfirst into an interview for a raise without knowing the company’s pay practices can be disastrous. While there are quite a few businesses that have no rigid plan when it comes to giving their employees raises, most have some sort of system. If you are unsure about the process of getting a raise, there is no problem bringing it up with the boss or a coworker. Most larger corporations have a strict schedule for pay increases such as the anniversary of getting hired, the end of the fiscal year, or during performance reviews.

Know Your Worth

One quick way to have a raise shot down is to not know your own worth and ask for an exorbitant raise. In some negotiations it may be better to start as high as possible and then allow the other party to work the number down, but trying to get a raise is not one of those situations. A staff member should consider exactly what they are bringing to the company and how valuable they are to its overall profits. It is also a good idea to check resources on both a national and local level to see how much that position is paid on average when first hired and where the position’s salary caps at.

Have Your Facts Ready

Having nothing more than anecdotal evidence about what you have brought to the company is another way to not only reduce your chance of a raise, but to also annoy your boss and the management. Instead of attempting to recite facts and figures off the top of your head, take a little time to print out the information on any projects you have been involved in or any other hard data. Having a clean outline to hand the boss so that they can skim over during the interview is a great idea as well.

Time It Perfectly

An ill-timed raise interview is a sure way to show your boss that you are not in-tune with the state of the company. If your company has recently been downsizing or you have had coworkers that have been laid off due to cuts, it is most likely best to put off any questions about a raise for at least a month or two. Instead, employees should try to time it with a larger accomplishment such as finishing a new project or taking on a larger client. Having this type of success fresh in the mind of a boss is a great way to start off this process on the right foot.

Only Involve the Necessary Parties

Raises can be a touchy subject for anyone, and this is why it is so important to ensure that only the necessary parties are involved. If an individual does not directly influence whether you will or will not get a raise, they don’t need to be privy to any information. Even bosses may be uncomfortable due to the fact that not every employee will be getting a raise. Any talk about your salary or hourly rate should be kept to private emails or done face to face.

Create a Backup Plan

No matter how much an employee might plan or how well they time it, a raise is not always going to be in the cards. If this is the case, these interviews are a great time to lay the groundwork for any future raises or promotions. Bosses typically expect that their employees will be demoralized after being turned down for a raise, but a great way to turn the experience around is to have a few strategies ready. Asking your boss what must be changed or improved before raises are considered again is a great place to start.  There is no universally correct way for every employee to get a raise, but everyone should understand exactly what they are worth to their company. With a little planning and good timing, employees will give themselves the best shot at receiving a pay increase no matter the economy.

About Amy…

Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at, eBay and US Interactive.  For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.

My thanks to Amy for an outstanding article.

Your career mentor,


PS: I am committed to helping you create a successful and fulfilling life and career.  That’s why I’ve put together a career membership site.  Readers of this blog can join for free.  Just go to and enter your contact information.  You’ll be joining a vibrant, growing group of success minded professionals.  I hope to see you there.



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