Can I use a job offer to get a raise out of my employer? After 22 years of military service, I’ve been working the last 14 months for a company (A) as a government contractor. The pay’s okay. Last month, out of the blue, I received an unofficial job offer from another company (B), to do basically the same work. The job description is similar to what I’m doing now, but the benefits are much better and the pay is about 25% more.
I’m not going to do anything until B actually makes me an offer in writing, but assuming that they do (in the next month), my question is: Should I sit down with my supervisor and tell him I’ve had another offer, and see if he can match the pay that B is offering? If he matched their pay I’d be inclined to stay. But would that sour our relationship (which is pretty good now)?
This is completely foreign to what military supervisors (at all levels) have to deal with.
My compliments for not taking any action until you receive a bona fide, written offer from company B. Don’t risk your current job. And don’t let this blow up in your face!
What’s really motivating you?
You must first decide, Why are you interested in taking this new job? If it’s the money only, that’s fine. But, don’t confuse money with the quality of the job and company. These are two separate issues, and you must do yourself justice on both.
If it’s more money that you want, you should first try to get it from your current employer. Ask your boss for a raise, but don’t hang the new offer in front of his face. Such a threat — and it is a threat, no matter how you couch it — could blow up on you.
What’s in a raise?
Your boss might usher you right out the door, or, if he concedes on the salary, he may view you differently. That salary increase might be paid for out of your next review. That is, you may see less of a raise later. Or, you may be viewed as “less than loyal” and if cuts are made, you may be among the first to be let go. Only you can judge this.
A threat is no reason for your boss to give you a raise. You must earn the raise based on your abilities and on the value you deliver to the company. If your boss won’t give you what you want based on that, then why would you stay for any amount of money? So, make your case and ask for the raise without bringing up the other offer. It’s a great test of your relationship with your current employer.
Don’t use a job offer to get a raise
Now let’s talk about the second issue. If you want to leave because the new job and employer are better, then why would you stay where you are for more money? Just go.
Settle the money question in your mind first. Then decide which is the better workplace. This article will help: Should I stay at my current company?
Your sense is right: Threatening to leave and dangling an offer in front of your boss is not good. As we’ve discussed, it can backfire on you. Decide what you want to do and do it. Either negotiate a new salary based on your value, or leave for a better employer and job. Either way, make sure you are choosing to work with good people who recognize your value.
If and when you decide to move on, please refer to “Resign Yourself to Resigning Right,” in the PDF book Parting Company: How to leave your job.
I wish you the best!
Did you ever use a job offer to get a raise? How did it work out? What’s your take on this method of getting ahead? Have any wisdom or cautions to offer other readers?