This question already has an answer here:
Is it harmful for me to interview and get offers from other companies just to have my current employer give me a raise I think I deserve?
I don't really want to switch jobs as I am quite satisfied where I am, but I think my salary is too low. If I could show that people in similar jobs at other companies are making more than I am this would help my manager convince HR. However my job is relatively unique since its a part-time job where everybody else is either a full-time engineer or a part-time engineering student with no prior experience. I work part-time but I have enough work experience to warrant hourly wages equal to what a full-time engineer makes. So to show HR I can earn more I need to get other offers just like I did when I was negotiating my current contract.
Would I be harming my connections if I interview at their companies just to get offers I don't intend to take up?
At some of the companies I consider applying to I already have friends or former colleagues. It makes sense to apply through them since their recommendation can help me and they'll get a referral bonus if I'm hired. But I don't intend on being hired so my behaviour could potentially be damaging to them or to our connection.
Of course I might change my mind after interviewing somewhere and decide I do want to switch jobs even if my current employer matches the offer, but I think this is an unlikely scenario.