How to Ask a Former Amazon Recruiter for a Raise During Inflation

  • Lindsay Musttain is a job coach and former Amazon recruiter.
  • A period of rising inflation is a good time to ask for a raise, she said.
  • Musttain breaks down the steps you should take, from identifying your core motivations to having an actual conversation with your boss.

Today, the economy is facing unprecedented inflation, which has been between 8% and 9% over the past few months. This means that in order for you to maintain the same purchasing power, your salary needs to be higher. For most people, wages have not kept pace with inflation for years.

I’m a former Amazon recruiter who hired 10,343 people in my career before starting my own company and has now helped over 20,000 clients advance their careers. Today, I teach senior professionals how to add more than $100,000 to their salary without having to go back to school.

I find that my clients are chronically underpaid and have a solid job performance history. With inflation rising significantly, this is a prime time to ask for a raise. My client starts with a process we call “raising the price”. This is the first point of leverage, which is getting a raise from your current role.

One of my recent successes saw my client go from $100,000 to $130,000 with a 30% raise, all without changing the job. It’s important to note that even if you get a raise, you may feel obligated to stay with the company and may face potential resentment from being underpaid for years.

I think it’s OK and healthy to normalize (and even encourage) wanting more income and professional impact. Many times, asking for a raise is the first step to finally getting paid and starting to think about moving on in your career.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to confidently negotiate a salary that reflects your skills and experience.

Step 1: Determine why you want a raise

The first step in asking for a raise is to have an honest conversation with yourself. What is your core motivation for wanting more money? Often, the money is just part of a larger conversation around your current job, level of responsibility, and/or shortcomings in your supervisor.

Questions for research and evaluation:

  • What is your motivation for wanting more money?
  • Do you think your salary is too low? What contributed to this feeling?
  • Do you want to keep up with the cost of living?
  • Is your job beyond what you were hired for?
  • Are you satisfied with your current company and boss?
  • Do you think this organization has a long-term future?
  • What needs to be done to make you feel professionally satisfied? Can money alone solve it?
  • How would you feel if they refused your request? Are you willing to move on and change jobs and companies to find the job and salary you deserve?
  • How would you feel if they agreed to your request?

When my clients use this guide to ask for a raise, they have about a 50% success rate. Note this quote: A common side effect of asking for a raise is resentment, whether you receive it or not.

If you’re suddenly getting paid what you deserve, you may realize that you’ve been putting money on the table for years and getting paid less than you deserve. Another challenge is the feeling of being obligated to stay loyal to a company that gives you a raise. It is important to remember that you are getting paid for what you are already worth, and it does not require you to work harder or stay longer than it provides you with professional services.

Once you’ve identified the cause and have had an honest conversation with yourself, it’s time to start preparing your case.

Step 2: Do your research to understand your value

It’s important to do your research before you start thinking about asking for a raise. This means taking the time to understand your value in the market.

Questions for research and evaluation:

  • Is this job in demand and is my industry growing and relevant? Are there enough vacancies on the job board?
  • What do other people in your field get paid for? What is the current exchange rate for your position?
  • What is the state of the economy with inflation? Am I being paid fairly compared to the inflation rate?

Understanding the landscape of demand, economics and opportunity is key to using your experience to negotiate more funding. By understanding these factors, you’ll be better able to negotiate a salary that reflects your worth.

Step 3: Timing is everything

When it comes to asking for a raise, timing is everything. You don’t want to ask too soon after starting a new job, when the company is under financial stress/turmoil, or when your job isn’t doing well.

Instead, wait until you’ve been with the company for at least six months to a year, the company is meeting its financial goals, it’s still hiring, and you’re doing well for your job. This will demonstrate your commitment to the company and give you the opportunity to prove your worth and track record.

In times of high inflation, thriving companies still hire talent to increase revenue and minimize expenses. It’s in the company’s best interest to retain employees because, in addition to the extra workload and stress of remaining team members, hiring new employees can be prohibitively expensive.

Questions for research and evaluation:

  • Have I been in this job for 6 months or more?
  • Is my company in good financial shape? Are there any layoffs?
  • Is my performance review cycle approaching? Negotiating during performance reviews can help you leverage your performance to get a bigger raise.

Step 4: Evaluate and record your performance

In order to confidently ask for a raise, you need to be able to document and evaluate your performance objectively based on your job description and goals. This will help you build a strong case for why you should get more money.

Questions for research and evaluation:

  • Are you exceeding your goals? How many?
  • Are you currently exceeding your goals?
  • Are you a top performer?
  • Are you taking on additional responsibilities?
  • Do you play a bigger role than you get paid for?
  • Have you received positive feedback from your manager or others in your organization?
  • How have you helped the company save or make money?

Action taken:

  • Document a comprehensive list of 10 or more quantitative metrics to measure how you add value to your organization.
  • You must be ready to go to the table with your great performance and why choosing to invest more resources in you is a smart and critical decision that will help the company be more successful over time.
  • By taking the time to document and evaluate your performance, you’ll be able to build a strong case for why you should get a raise. This will give you the confidence to negotiate a salary that reflects your market value.

Step 5: Schedule a conversation with your boss

Once you feel confident and ready, it’s time to schedule a meeting with your boss for a conversation. Here, you’ll make a case for why you should get a raise and ask what you want. It’s important to be prepared to have this conversation and not initiate a conversation with your boss outside of a regular meeting.

Action taken:

Remind your supervisor that you want to talk to them. If they ask why you want to meet, you can tell them you want to talk about your performance at work and future career opportunities.

Step 6: Prepare for the meeting

Now that you’ve done your research, prepared your case, and booked a meeting, it’s time to start thinking about how to have a conversation. This is where many people get nervous and start to doubt themselves. The best resource you have is to prepare and prove your worth. Remember, you are not asking for alms, you are asking for what you deserve. Be confident and firm in your request.

The key is to prepare and practice what you have to say so you can have a successful conversation with your boss about a raise.

Questions for research and evaluation:

  • Am I confident in my results and performance to attend this conference and objectively demonstrate the value I bring to the organization?
  • Did I look at the script for what to say during the meeting?
  • Am I confident and ready to attend this meeting?
  • Am I willing to ask uncomfortable questions now to provide more comfort and stability for my future?

Action taken:

  • View the meeting outline and talking points.
  • Prepare an opening statement outlining your case for a raise.
  • Write anything else you want to say in the conversation.
  • Practice with friends or family.

Step 7: Meet with your boss and ask for a raise

During this meeting, it’s important to remember to be confident, firm, and clear in your requests. Be prepared to answer any questions they may have about your performance or why you should get a raise. If they decline, consider negotiating other forms of compensation, such as more vacation time, flexible hours, or additional benefits. If they can’t get paid otherwise, discuss what needs to happen to increase salary and/or title (as higher titles usually include higher pay).

Our goal is to end the meeting with a clear picture of whatever you have successfully negotiated, what you have agreed upon, and when it will take effect.

If the conversation is unsuccessful, remember your value, sometimes we need to move on and work with other organizations and leaders who value our skills appropriately.

Questions for research and evaluation:

  • Reflect on the conversation. how is the progress? How did you feel afterward? Did you get what you asked for? What agreement was reached?

Action taken:

  • Review the progress of the meeting. Record the conversation for the record.
  • Follow up with your boss via email thanking them for the conversation and anything they agreed to on a specific date.
  • If the conversation requires more follow-up or a request for a future date, be sure to include it in the email.
  • If you’re not happy with how the conversation is going, assess whether this is the right company or opportunity for you. Maybe it’s time for a new adventure.

By following these steps, you will confidently ask for a raise and receive the compensation you deserve. Prepare as much as you can and you’ll have an easier time asking for a raise and getting what you deserve.

Lindsay Musttain is a best-selling author and former Amazon talent acquisition strategist.

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