Whether you've been searching for a new job for months or a new opportunity has just fallen into your lap, when you get a new job offer one thought is likely to cross your mind: Can I leverage a job offer to get more money or a better title from my current employer?
While experts agree that you should tread carefully when using a new job offer to get what you want from your current company, there are ways to use this new opportunity to your advantage. Read on and learn how to leverage a job offer to get what you want.
Weigh the risks and benefits
First, let's discuss the risks associated with trying to leverage a job offer to get a raise or promotion. The most obvious risk is: you could get shown the door.
There is no bluffing allowed when you are trying to use an employment offer to lean on your boss to give you a raise or a promotion. If you have this conversation, you have to be willing to walk if your company doesn't give you what you want. If you stay, your bosses may be slightly worried that you could jump ship at any time.
There are a variety of factors that can influence whether your request will be granted – your company may not have it in their budget to give you a raise, for example – so you must go in with your eyes wide open and be willing to live with the results.
However, there are also benefits to this tactic. If you truly understand your value to the company and are indispensable, you're in a position of power. If your company doesn't want to lose you, they'll come up with some sort of package or schedule that will give you most, if not all, of what you want.
6 do's and don'ts for how to leverage a job offer
1. Do have well-defined goals
Walking into a meeting with your manager without a clear understanding of what you need and want guarantees that you walk away unsatisfied. If you want a title change, come into the meeting with some options. If it's a raise you're after, be ready to present a salary range that makes sense in the context of your offer.
2. Don't get stuck on salary
While a higher paycheck is always welcome, think outside the box when deciding how to approach your negotiations when trying. If your company doesn't have the budget for a pay increase, they may be able to give you a more significant title which will ensure a higher salary in your next role. Or, perhaps having more vacation time or the ability to work from home once a week would make your life easier. If you really want to stay with the company, giving them options on other forms of compensation will help.
3. Do your research
If you haven't done market research on your role and its value, now is the time. Peruse salary calculators and job boards and talk to friends and colleagues. Knowing what your skills, experience, and education are worth in the marketplace is critical to convincing your boss that the company should ante up to keep you.
While a higher paycheck is always welcome, think outside the box when deciding how to approach your negotiations. If your company doesn't have the budget for a pay increase, they may be able to give you a more significant title which will ensure a higher salary in your next role.
4. Don't make threats, veiled or otherwise
Being confrontational or adversarial will get you nowhere. If you threaten to go elsewhere unless you get what you've asked for, you will likely be handed your walking papers. Instead, make positive connections between your skills and what you bring to the table. Talk about your value and what you've achieved in your job to date. Ask questions about how you can take on more responsibility to help justify your promotion and/or pay raise.
5. Do confirm your commitment to the company
Your boss probably won't give you a raise or a promotion if they feel this type of negotiation could become a pattern. If you want to stay with your current organization, reassure your manager that while you have an offer in hand, your goal is to grow your career where you are now.
6. Don't lie about an offer
It may be tempting to fib a little bit to leverage a job offer to get what you want out of your current employer but resist the urge. Lying about a job offer can easily blow up in your face. Don't do it.
If you want to put the pressure on your managers to pay you more or change your title, but you don't have a formal offer on the table, say something like this instead:
"I have been getting a lot of calls from recruiters recently, which I haven't responded to because I love my job. But getting these calls has helped me realize that I'm ready for a larger role in the company. I'd like to set up a time to discuss my future here and whether we can come up with a plan for me to grow without leaving the company."
This lets your boss know that you have options without being threatening, plus it puts the ball in his or her court. If, after a reasonable amount of time, you aren't granted a conversation with the outcome you desire, it will be time to look for a new job in earnest.