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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.

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    @Dukeling - there's no competing offer mentioned here. – Oded Nov 2 '17 at 10:55
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    @Dukeling - intends. OP doesn't have a competing offer yet, and is asking if going through the process is a problem or not. – Oded Nov 2 '17 at 10:57
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    @Oded The answer given there is that you generally shouldn't mention the other offer. If one doesn't have an offer yet, why would not having gone through the process change things if the end result is still that you generally shouldn't mention the other offer? – Dukeling Nov 2 '17 at 11:03
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    @Draken There are 2 parts to this question (using another offer to negotiate a raise and interviewing without intending to accept the offer), I included 2 links. – Dukeling Nov 2 '17 at 11:27
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Would I be harming my connections if I interview at their companies just to get offers I don't intend to take up?

This is a risky move and generally a bad idea.

First, you have no guarantee that your current employer will cooperate. They may just say good bye to you, because in order for your plan to work, you are going to have to threaten to take this new offer.

Even if your current employer agrees to this, most likely they will either not think highly of you anymore, or worse they may actively look to replace you on their terms.

In addition, you may damage relationships with your contacts/potential future employers if you are not careful with your explanation as to why your were so enthusiastic about this new opportunity only to reject it later.

And finally, you should never accept a counter offer (which is what your are trying to do). Check out this article: Is it wise to accept a counter offer

The approach you can try to take is to attack your problem with data. There are many online salary surveys you could use for this. Data, using facts is far less likely to cause you any grief. This approach is far weaker though than obtaining offers and having leverage when attempting to ask for more cash.

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    It's also a highly irresponsible waste of time and effort of the people (HR, management, team leads, etc.) working in the other companies. – camden_kid Nov 2 '17 at 14:09
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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

You don't need to go out interviewing in order to do that. There are online salary surveys, government statistics and some companies will detail salary ranges in their advertised jobs. So, you have options there - do some research on the job market to get some information to back up your request in a salary increase.

Now, just by interviewing elsewhere, there is no guarantee that this will result in a pay rise. Even if you do come with details (such as a job offer or information from the suggested research above), there is no guarantee that would motivate either your manager or HR to give you a raise. You need to be prepared for such an outcome and decide how you want to go about it.

Would I be harming my connections if I interview at their companies just to get offers I don't intend to take up?

If you get an offer and don't seriously consider it, they are unlikely to help you out when you really do want such help. This is not a good idea.

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Would I be harming my connections if I interview at their companies just to get offers I don't intend to take up?

Certainly your reputation could suffer with your connections if they feel that you are simply using them to negotiate a better offer from your company.

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.

If your situation is unique, you will by definition have a hard time getting an offer for the same situation elsewhere.

I work part-time but I have enough work experience to warrant hourly wages equal to what a full-time engineer makes.

That's a tough call.

Unless you choose to go full-time, many companies wouldn't pay you an hourly wage equivalent to full-time. Part-time and full-time simply aren't the same in many companies.

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You need to evaluate this very carefully

  1. Have you heard any body in the company being given a counter offer ( which is what you are looking for, a counter offer from the employer to prevent an employee from leaving who has got another offer)
  2. Do you have some critical business knowledge or any such skill which will take the organization significant cost to replace?

If answer to 1 is yes and you are in a critical position for the company, this may work. If answer to either of these is no, then you should not consider this option. Your situation may be unique, but if you decide to move on, how difficult it would be for the company to hire someone from the market to replace you?

My suggestion would be to simply discuss with your manager that you would like a hike. How can he help facilitate that ? Also, what can you put in? Are you willing to go full time on the payroll ? Can you increase your part time hours? It will pass on a similar message as you want without spoiling the relationship. Where as getting an offer will force their hand and it may not always work out in your favor. It may also be seen as arm twisting tactic and your manager may consider replacing you even if they agree to give you an offer in the long run.

As far as referrals are concerned, its your call. I will suggest to tell people that you are not actively looking but to keep you posted for any vacancy which may come up. Also clarify that you may not join. If post that they are Ok to process your application in their company, by all means go ahead. If not then don't spoil a relation over getting an offer which you may not join. Some people may mind you not joining. It also depends on what sort of effort the person has put in, if they are looking to place you in their projects. It may reflect badly on their reputation. Also look at how senior the person is. If they are in a junior position, they may not mind as there is less expectations. At higher level, visibility is more, so I would suggest to avoid. They could be really helpful if you need a favor in future.

You can always go via consultants to get a job. Again, please say no to an offer if you don't intend to join it as soon as possible so that your reputation is not spoiled.

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