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I currently work in a company, as a software developer, receiving a salary of 80K. (average in my area per glassdoor is 90K with national average of 95K). Also about 1.5 years ago I have negotiated an increase from 75K to the 80K + 2 weeks more vacation time.

Recruiters are starting to call me and offering new positions. In particular one is offering an company with compensation of up to 100K. It is very reasonable for me to believe that I can get a salary in range of 95 - 100K with this specific company recruiter is offering, knowing my skill set and knowing that company. (That company has been known to me for 3+ years offering high salary ranges). It was also my condition with recruiter that I like my current position and will not move for anything less and the recruiter knows that. However, like anything else in life, I do not yet have the offer in my hand, I am just fairly confident that if I go down that road, that I can likely get it.

If I didn't like my current job, this would be a no brainer -- go and follow up on the recruiter's offer and see where it takes me.

Well, I like my current job and I am needed there. However, potential 20K increase in salary is not something I just want to go unnoticed.

Family tells me to go to my boss and talk to him, asking for a raise or more vacation time, but what is that the best course of action?

I can do something like "Hey boss, I am getting this potentially good opportunity with offer for +20K more than I am getting now, I like my current job here in my company but I can't help to notice that average salaries in other places that take my skill set are quite a bit more. What can we do about this?".

If he says "Well do you have an offer?" At this point I do not but I can say "Would you like me to get one?"

If he asks me "Well, what do you want to do about this?" I can ask for more vacation time or ask for more compensation or yet more vacation time. Because I think those are the only things I could ask for. I don't know if there is anything else.

One thing is more or less certain is I don't want to just be quiet when there are better offers available.

If it comes back that company is unable or unwilling to give me a raise I will have to think long and hard what I want to do with the recruiter's offer. My condition with recruiter is that I would not leave my job for increase less than 20K, and it is quite reasonable for me to believe I can achieve it.

Question

What do I need to do before I have the conversation with my boss, and when I do, what do I focus on during the conversation? (What do I do with the recruiter and the interview opportunity in the mean time?)

My Goal

My ideal goal is to stay in my current job, but to not concern myself about other offers.

I suppose one way to achieve that is to increase my salary to a more competitive level. But there may be more ways as well. As in, I can always convince myself I have a fine job and stay there and simply ignore the potential offer (that will meet my goal), but doing so will be bypassing the opportunity of using the potential offer in some way that will be beneficial for me.

I also have some "noise" such as -- I am cautions of the "greener grass" syndrome to where it looks like 100K salary position is more and better, but the position itself in the new company may not be a great fit for me. Or then it may be awesome. I just don't know, but I do value certain level of comfort and stability in the established role in my current position.

As far as recruiter I think I may want to follow up and do an interview to know if the new potential company will be a good fit for me in the first place. If it's not, it will satisfy my goal as well (my concern will be dropped). If it is a good fit, however, I may want to introspect further.

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    A $20K bump is not impossible, but also not likely. I would say do the interview. If the new company looks like a good fit for you and offers a substantial pay increase, take it. Moving on to other opportunities is often the best way to move up. – mikeazo Sep 26 '16 at 13:21
  • When you say move up, do you mean in pay rate, or in general? – Chris Sep 26 '16 at 13:38
  • both. From what I have seen with friends, etc, it is not uncommon to get a 15 to 20% pay bump by moving companies, usually with increased responsibility/title/etc. That sort of raise within a company, however, I have not seen much. – mikeazo Sep 26 '16 at 13:39
  • `At this point I do not but I can say "Would you like me to get one?" and have you thought about a situation where you will try to get one and will fail? I noticed that people tend to highly overestimate their ability. So in my opinion it is better to get the offer and think about the possibilities later when you have options for negotiation. – Salvador Dali Sep 27 '16 at 9:43
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    Possible duplicate of Do I mention a competing offer when negotiating a raise? – DarkCygnus Jan 21 at 23:34
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Dont ever mention a payraise in following with a possible offer. This is going to Sound like blackmail to your Boss.

Personally if you are unhappy with your salary negotiate an raise.
If they really need you they will consider this fairly if not go look at the other company for an concrete offer.

People Change Jobs all the time and it should be clear that you will lean more to leave if they don't pay you what your skillset is worth on the current/local market.

Just make sure you dont wave an offer in your bosses face as that will break his trust and respect in you.

  • I am tempted to think that my current position will not give me a 20K increase just after negotiating a 5K increase earlier.... . As far as breaking trust, would it be better to one day come to boss and out of the blue say "I am leaving for another position", if he asks "why" say "more money"? – Chris Sep 26 '16 at 13:12
  • @Chris, when asked "why are you leaving" I would never say "more money". It will make you sound greedy and can only close doors in the future. So what do you say? "I'm excited for this new challenge and wish you the best of luck in the future." – mikeazo Sep 26 '16 at 13:19
  • @Chris no you dont. You state that you felt unhappy with your salary and after the denial of your raise, you went looking if your demands were unjustified and turns out they werent so now I wish you the best of luck – Raoul Mensink Sep 26 '16 at 13:27
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    @Chris, when you ask for a raise, make sure you justify it based on your contributions to the team/company. – mikeazo Sep 26 '16 at 13:40
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    @Chris dont even do that. If you get a raise you are binding yourself to that Company for atleast another half year when all goes smoothly. Dont burn that Bridge. – Raoul Mensink Sep 27 '16 at 6:43
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Being in the same situation myself, this is what I have decided to do - it may work for you.

1) Keep the request for a raise and a potential job search completely separate.

I would go to your boss before you have started interviewing or get an offer. Be positive-mention you really want to continue working for your current company.

Something like "I really want to stay here, and I think this company can help me reach some of my personal and career goals". Part of this is money, you don't have to say it, I think it's implied. You can continue on "Because of Y and Z I feel like I deserve a X% raise". See where the conversation takes you. You can approach boss being honest that at that point, you have no job offer. You can say you aren't looking(but you may casually mention you are being sought out if you think it will help). This way your boss won't feel "threatened" or put in a corner. You may be able to get what you want without ever interviewing anywhere.

2) Before you have an offer, try to avoid the "I could get $X somewhere else". Focus on the "I should get $X here because of Y and Z".

Some managers may respond negatively to an ultimatum "Give me $X or I am leaving". Again, keep it positive.

3) Decide what you really want - Would you be happy with 90k/year or is it 100k/year or bust? A 20k/year raise is unlikely. They will probably meet you in the middle. You have to decide at which point you'd be content.

4) If they say no then proceed interviewing other places.

You have given your employer a chance to show you what they think you are worth. Now is your chance to prove it.

If you don't get any offers, you won't have to save face because you told your boss you could get $X somewhere else.

If you do get an offer(make sure it is in hand)-This will give your some leverage in the negotiations. You do not necessarily have to tell your boss about the offer but have the peace of mind that you can be bold. If you are not really willing to leave I would not bring the offer up. But if you are willing to leave, but would rather stay-still try to keep it positive "I have this offer for $X, I don't want to take it. I would rather stay here. Can you do something to help me stay here?" You aren't forcing your boss to act, but empowering him to do so.

Again, decide, if staying is the goal: give your employer every chance to make it possible without damaging your relationship. If making money is your goal-interview and take the most attractive offer.

  • thanks for the thorough response. I am in the similar situation but with two differences: I know my employer can afford a raise and asked for one 2mo ago but was turned down (no raise in two years!). I wen through the job search path and now have interviewed 3 times with another company which I hope to receive an offer from. But I still like to stay here, How do I approach this situation? – AleX_ May 25 '17 at 14:32
  • I think if I give my employer my notice, in a few days they will start asking me to stay and offering me a higher salary, but I want to try asking for the salary one more time before going down that road – AleX_ May 25 '17 at 14:36
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    I would wait until you have an offer. Once you do you can be a little bolder. If they turn you down again, mention the offer but in a non-threatening way. – Ronnie W May 25 '17 at 16:39
  • Thanks for the response. I prefer not to mention the offer at all. My feeling is that it will have a bitter effect on my employer even if I decide to stay. – AleX_ May 25 '17 at 17:20
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    It's true. Once you cross that bridge your employer may not trust you again. – Ronnie W May 25 '17 at 18:24

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