Tips from Finance Recruiters: How to Ask for a Raise


Asking for a Raise

Once upon a time, in a land of untold riches, where unicorns pranced and hedgehogs always predicted an early spring, it wasn’t uncommon to get a raise each year. Sadly, with the most recent economic downturn, asking your manager for a raise is potentially akin to walking a tightrope over the Grand Canyon while juggling grenades – a daunting proposition. So how do you ask for a raise in a way that communicates your worth, but doesn’t provoke your manager?  Here’s how.

Step 1: Do You Really Deserve it?
Let’s be honest here, only top performers should ask for a raise.  To be defined as a top performer, you need to have gone above and beyond the call, and achieved some very specific metrics that have benefited your company.  Sit down, review your year’s performance and assess whether you’ve been exceptional.  Jot down some very specific examples of where you’ve hit home runs for your company.  Remember, this is about accomplishments and the impact they’ve had on the organization’s performance and bottom line.

Step 2: Market Research
You need to determine how much of a pay increase you can reasonably demand.  Connect with your professional association, talk to your mentor and go on  Ensure that you are comparing apples to apples by looking at others with a similar level of education and experience.  Finance recruiters are also valuable resources in helping you understand market conditions.  Other websites such as and are also valuable resources.

Step 3: Timing is Everything
Consider your timing very carefully before asking for a raise.  Performance reviews can be a good time as your manager is already focused on how you’ve delivered for your organization.  If you both seem to be on the same page about your performance, then it’s reasonable to discuss compensation.  Ask if the timing is right to do so and if not, schedule an appointment so that your manager has time to prepare.  Remember, however, to take into account the financial health of the organization before you ask.  If your company is in the middle of negotiating a merger or buy-out, that’s not the time to ask for a raise.

Step 4: The Ask
One way to open the conversation is to position yourself as wanting to bring your salary into alignment with the current marketplace (this statement will be based on your research).  Keep your tone confident, not arrogant.  Don’t bring up personal hardship.  Instead, talk about the added value you bring to the business.  Tie your contributions to your department’s key performance indicators if you can.  Make sure to list any additional projects or initiatives you helped see through to completion.  Be as specific as possible and let your numbers do the talking.  When it comes to the critical “how much” question there are two ways to approach it.  In the article “How to Ask for a Raise and Get it” the author says that you can mention the amount you’re hoping to receive, or you can wait for your manager to do it.  Be prepared to meet in the middle and to justify your number.  Most importantly, don’t be frustrated if you don’t get what you want and never threaten to leave.

Step 5: Rejection
Be prepared for rejection.  While you’re convinced the timing is right, your manager may not see it the same way.  Just like your manager isn’t always aware of everything you do, you may be missing a key part of the puzzle that is available to senior leadership.  It’s important that you demonstrate as much professionalism here as possible.  Thank your boss for listening to your request and ask what you can do to merit reconsideration. After all, “no” might really be code for “not at this time.”

Note: If you really feel, after time has passed, that you’ve explored all possible options then read this blog post for tips on how to quit your job with class.

Key Takeaways
Asking for a raise can be stressful.  But if you know you’ve gone above and beyond the call for your organization, and can quantify your contribution with specific accomplishments, then it’s not unreasonable to ask for a raise.  Remember, however, to do your market research, and to time the request appropriately.  Ensure that you are prepared for rejection and stay as professional as possible during the conversation.  Doing so will help increase your chances of getting the raise that you want and will maintain a positive relationship with your manager.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone.  At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment.  Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

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