Actor and comedian Drew Carey once said, “There’s no way I can justify my salary level, but I’m learning to live with it.”

Most of us don’t have that problem, and negotiating a larger salary for the rest of us can be tricky. And while timing isn’t everything, it is a very big thing. Knowing when to ask your boss for a raise can be critical to the outcome.

Annual Performance Review

It may seem like the best time to bring up money is when you’re both sitting down to talk about how you’ve done over the past year, especially if the review is favorable! However, there are conflicting thoughts about this particular timing. One line of reasoning is that salary increases may already be set far in advance of the one-on-one performance reviews. If this is the case, even if your boss agrees you deserve a pay bump, his or her hands may be tied.

Others say the performance review is the best time to request that raise because the boss is expecting to have that talk. But why take the risk? Consider asking your boss or human resources manager when salary increases are decided. If you’re not comfortable doing that, or you don’t get an answer, talk to your boss at least three months before your review. Let him or her know that while you realize you’re still twelve weeks away from your annual review, you’d like to talk about the rest of the year before that meeting. Let your boss know you’re looking forward to tackling some upcoming projects, and that you hope to see a pay increase above the average percentage you’ve come to expect.


When Your Job Description Changes

One of your co-workers is no longer there, and your boss asks you to pick up the slack. So now instead of doing your regular job, you’re doing your job plus theirs. This may be a significant, hard-to-staff assignment, or it could be some added daily responsibilities. This is the perfect time to talk to your boss about your salary. If the company isn’t looking to hire a replacement anytime soon, they are also paying less in salary and benefits, so a pay increase isn’t out of the question.

Let’s say you know when salaries are decided, and you’ve got good cause to request more money. What else? Is there a better time of day than others to seek a raise?

Friday Morning, after coffee

It’s not easy to bring up money in the workplace, so why not use all that information researchers have gleaned from their studies to pick the exact best time to sit down with your boss?

Turns out Mondays are bad, and Fridays are good. Late mornings are ideal. See if you can grab your boss’ attention earlier in the day. Psychologists say there’s something called a morning morality effect, which says people have higher levels of moral awareness in the morning and make less ethical decisions as the day wears on. If your raise is well-deserved, your boss is more likely to agree to the increase earlier in the day. Take your company culture into account, too. Allow your boss to get all his or her routines out of the way before you ask to talk.

When You Have a Job Offer

If you’ve been looking elsewhere for a job and have found something you like that pays better, this is probably the best time to ask for a raise. You don’t want to be brash about it, but let your boss know another company has offered you more money. It’s not really a good idea to use this as a bargaining chip, though, unless you are truly ready to walk away from the company.

If you’re not being paid what you’re worth, and your company isn’t willing to budge, it may be time to look elsewhere. Spectra360 might be able to help. We have hundreds of job openings posted by some of the nation’s best employers. Check them out here.

Share This