This question has a specific bent, in that I have recently read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and am trying to implement what he teaches.

A little context. I'm in my first job after school (web developer), and about to hit my one year mark. When I was hired, I knew I was a big gamble for the company (small ~15 people, 5 of whom are devs) and probably only got the job because I was recommended by a mutual friend. Because I didn't know what I was doing and didn't negotiate, I'm getting paid about 2/3 market value for my job in my city (entry level). Since I'm hitting my one year mark, I want to renegotiate my comp package. I know that without another offer, I'll be at a disadvantage. I'll be basing my reasoning on the fact that I've proven myself (not a gamble anymore) and should be paid as a developer now (thought on this approach appreciated, but not the focus of this question).

I've been reading up online about how to negotiate a raise, and something I keep coming across is to use Carnegie's principles for interacting with others. Here is the rub, the one most mentioned "Talk in terms of the other person's interest" seems to directly counter my desire for a raise. The thing the CEO (yes, CEO, it's a small company) wants (I assume) is to have minimal expenditures and maximum profits. Paying me significantly more will not improve my skill significantly. In fact, the whole idea here is bringing my comp up to my skill level. He already got what he wants (my time) for dirt cheap.

So here is my question. How can I get around all that and frame my request in terms of his interests? I know without an offer from another company as leverage, I don't have much of a leg to stand on, but I'd still like to maximize whatever I do have.

Also, a question to those that know, is there anything non-obvious that higher ups want from their employees?


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    Possible duplicate of How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid?
    – David K
    Sep 23, 2016 at 16:27
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    your lack of another offer isn't a disadvantage. You are asking for a raise because you are worth more and that's what's fair, not because a random stranger has offered you more and you'll leave unless you get a raise. I for one never make counteroffers, so coming to me with an offer from elsewhere wouldn't get you a raise - you'd be gone, headed to that new job. Sep 23, 2016 at 17:08
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    This isn't a duplicate of asking for a raise--it's specifically asking how to apply the Carnegie method.
    – jimm101
    Sep 23, 2016 at 18:42
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    Agree with @jimm101 this is on applying a methodology. "Duplicate" is used far too loosely in this case. Sep 23, 2016 at 18:43
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    Only the most short-sighted CEO's would think that underpaying their staff is a good long-term investment. Don't just assume it's his goal to shaft you as much as he can get away with.
    – Erik
    Sep 24, 2016 at 19:16

5 Answers 5


The CEO does have a vested interest in you staying, if you're performing well. You have institutional knowledge that's hard to replace, you don't cost a finder's fee or company time/distraction if you stay, his appreciation for your loyalty will help build a better corporate culture where people feel well compensated and respected.

Apply Dale's principles related to listening. Listen to what he says is valuable to him, and help him get it. Show a genuine appreciation for it. If you apply those long enough, you won't need to ask how to approach him, he'll tell you.


The thing the CEO (yes, CEO, it's a small company) wants (I assume) is to have minimal expenditures and maximum profits. Paying me significantly more will not improve my skill significantly. In fact, the whole idea here is bringing my comp up to my skill level. He already got what he wants (my time) for dirt cheap.

You are looking at this the wrong way.

Paying you more will keep you employed at the CEO's company and give them more of the demonstrably outstanding work you've done for them over the past year.

Last year is done and over with. If you decided to accept a salary that was 2/3 of what you thought you were worth, that was your decision to make and not something you should strive to "make up for" now. That's all over and done with.

You don't get a raise for what you did last year. You get a raise for what you will do in the upcoming year.

Get your head around this revised way of looking at things, and you'll be able to "Talk in terms of the other person's interest".


You're taking the "other person's interests" a little too far. You may think that your boss would prefer you work for free, but some people take pride and pleasure in creating good jobs for other people. Of course they want to make a profit as well. The goal is to determine a good balance point.

You also need to consider how to phrase your qualifications in ways that suits the other person's interests. There may be other entry level programmers that program better than you, but may require more time, energy and effort to manage as well. Being able to think for yourself and get your work done without having to be poked and prodded saves time for others and that equals money. Working well with others is another way to leverage your skills. Not everyone can do it.

Start talking to other employees and listen for things they mention that are important to the CEO. It's not going to come in direct quotes either. Usually what everyone thinks is important has come from the top. Do people go out of their way to be on time, get paperwork done, show up to meetings, put in extra hours when needed? The things people make an effort to do are usually what is considered important, so start taking stock and be prepared to defend your growth and benefit to this CEO in your position for this company. If he doesn't think you're average, expect to make less.


"Talk in terms of the other person's interest"

It's a fair assumption that the CEOs interests would be minimal expenditures and maximum profits but you are ignoring time frame. Any CEO worth their tie knows that good investments can take time to mature. The angle I would play is you and your skills growing along with the company. Growth of the company is very likely in his interest so showing how you've grown in your roles and responsibilities to accommodate the growth of his company could definitely get him nodding his head along with you.


While minimizing expenses and maximizing profits are certainly two interests of any CEO, they are rarely the only ones.

Most companies have a "mission statement" or something similar, and these rarely, if ever, directly reference the company's bottom line. Typically, they're about the company's values and how it serves its customers. Find your company's mission statement and read it to learn what the company officially considers critically important to everything they do, and frame your approach in that context.

For example, Oracle's mission statement says:

We help you simplify your IT environment so that you can free up money, time, and resources to invest in innovation.

We do this by providing a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications, platform services, and engineered systems.

If this were your company's mission statement, you might talk about how important it is that the company's web site looks attractive, loads quickly, and performs reliably, so that potential clients who visit it will feel confident that the company's IT solutions will really accelerate their own operations. You might also compliment the CEO on his decision to take the risk of entrusting a then-unknown web developer with the responsibility of fulfilling these objectives, and finally point to the last quarter's impressive customer growth rate as evidence that his gamble really paid off (letting him take all the credit for hiring you, another Carnegie principle). Then tell him how excited you are to see all the new opportunities he's going to have for you now that you've proven your worth.

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