Requesting a Raise: Preparing and presenting your case for more money

By: John Hutchins, Quantix VP of Client Services

Requesting a raise from your boss is typically a stressful conversation.  Most people are not comfortable asking for more money and they worry they’ll be rejected.  Contrary to logic, when many people are faced with a stressful conversation, they do the exact opposite of what they should do; they wing it – sometimes at the most inappropriate time.  As a result, the conversation doesn’t go well making similar conversations in the future that much more stressful.  Here are some simple suggestions that will help lessen the stress and help increase your chances of success when requesting a raise:


  • During the interview process, ask how pay increases are handled, what they are based on, when they typically occur and what your expectations should be. Knowledge is power and understanding early on how pay increases are viewed and handled will help you prepare in the future.  Some people may feel this is a bit presumptuous, but if the question is asked in the right way, it’s a perfectly reasonable question and hiring managers shouldn’t take offense.
  • Ask yourself the question, why do you deserve a raise? Is it because you’ve been there for a certain period of time, is it because your role has changed or is it because you’ve done something above and beyond the call of duty?  This is a common question asked by managers, so be prepared to communicate your reasoning clearly.  If you don’t have a good answer for this question, you probably shouldn’t be asking for a raise.  And, by the way, your answer should never be about you – “I need to make more money to cover my expenses.”
  • Schedule time with your manager to discuss the pay increase. Don’t be vague about the purpose of the meeting.  Give them advanced warning about why you’re requesting the meeting.  Most people, managers included, don’t react well when they feel ambushed or cornered.  It doesn’t benefit you to surprise them.  Also, hopefully this will encourage them to do their homework on your performance and see that you really are deserving of an increase.









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  • Consider market conditions and the state of business before asking for a raise. If business is bad, don’t ask for an increase.  Instead, speak with your boss about how you would like an increase sometime in the future for these reasons, but you do understand that now is not good timing.  In other words, plant the seed.  This will give your boss time to tweak budgets and possibly alter future decisions with the goal of providing you some kind of increase.  It also shows that you are team player and willing to consider the company’s challenges as well as your own.
  • Finally, be prepared for rejection. What will you say and do if the answer is no?  If this happens, you should do your best to keep your composure, tell them that you are disappointed, but understand their decision and ask what needs to occur in order for you to receive a pay increase.  Regardless of how you really feel, leave them with the impression that you accept their decision and will work even harder to show them that you are worthy of pay increase.


Implementing these suggestions will increase your chances of successfully receiving pay increases with less stress.  Your boss will appreciate your approach and you will appreciate the extra cash.

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