7 questions to ask yourself before gunning for a raise

Think before you speak. Flickr/strelka
  • Asking for a raise is notoriously nerve-racking. So it helps to be as prepared as possible.
  • Below is a series of questions you’ll want to ask yourself before petitioning your boss for more money.
  • Those questions focus on timing, job performance history, and other potential perks to negotiate.

Asking for a raise isn’t something you want to botch. It’s one thing to prepare thoroughly and still not get the salary you want – it’s another to wing it and wind up convincing your boss that you’re delusional, or nervy.

Before you head for the hot seat, it helps to ask yourself a few questions, about things like your job performance and your boss’ constraints. Your answers to these questions will help guide the conversation, so you have a better shot at impressing your boss – and hopefully getting what you want and deserve.

Have I talked to my boss about money before?


Your request for a raise shouldn’t come as a total shock to your manager.

Ideally, you should be having regular, open conversations with your boss about your future at the company.

“Talk about what you want with your boss,” Toni Thompson, vice president of people and talent at The Muse, previously told Business Insider. “Make sure that they know what salary you want eventually and the title you want or more opportunities that you want.”

That way, your boss can help prepare you to score that title bump and/or raise.

Is this the right time to ask for a raise?


Think carefully before you schedule an appointment to talk to your boss about your salary.

Jacqueline Whitmore, an international etiquette expert and author of “Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals,” previously told Business Insider that the best time to ask for a raise is three to four months before your annual review. That’s typically when budgets are being decided.

“Try to approach your boss when business is flourishing if at all possible,” Whitmore told Business Insider, “not following a company layoff or right after a few clients end their relationship with the company.”

How long have I been in this job?


According to Alison Green, the woman behind the “Ask a Manager” column, you should generally be in your job for one year before asking for a raise.

“Exceptions to this are if the job changed dramatically or if your responsibilities have increased far beyond what was envisioned when you were hired,” Green writes on US News & World Report.

Do I have definitive proof that I deserve a raise?


Business Insider previously reported that Sallie Krawcheck – the former Wall Street executive and founder of Ellevest, an online investing adviser for women – recommends providing definitive proof that you’re eligible for a raise.

“Be as quantitative as you can be,” Krawcheck said. “Put numbers on paper.” Ultimately, you should be able to demonstrate exactly what you’ve been contributing to the organisation, so the conversation is less subjective.

What’s my salary range?


While experts once advised against presenting a salary range during negotiations, a recent paper has them thinking otherwise.

As Business Insider previously reported, you’ll want to use a reasonable range, with your desired salary at the bottom. For one thing, you suggest that you’ll walk away if you don’t get at least at much. For another, opening with a range is perceived as polite to your negotiation partner.

What will my boss be thinking and feeling when I ask for a raise?


We can get so fixated on our own anxiety about asking for a raise that we forget to consider the situation from our boss’ perspective.

Daniel Shapiro, founder and director of the Harvard International Negotiation Program, and author of “Negotiating the Nonnegotiable,” previously told Business Insider that it can be helpful to grab a friend and role-play the negotiation, with you as your manager.

“Really emotionally take on that role,” Shapiro said. “How are you feeling? Do you feel attacked? Do you feel defensive? Do you feel like this idiot did no preparation in terms of coming in and asking you for the raise?”

Once you take on the boss’ thoughts and emotions, Shapiro said you can further tailor your strategy (as the employee, in real life) “so that the boss can most effectively hear what you’re saying.”

What else can I negotiate if I don’t get the raise I want?


Though salary is the most obvious form of compensation, it’s not the only one. If your manager declines your request for a higher salary, prepare to negotiate things like your bonus and paid vacation time.

That’s according to Ramit Sethi, the bestselling author of “I Will Teach You to Be Rich.” Sethi also recommends requesting an accelerated salary review process. That way, if you exceed your goals mid-year, you don’t have to wait another six months for the pay you want.