By Justin Kerr


Scared to ask for a raise? Don't be. Asking for a raise is a lot like getting ready to have sex. In this episode, MR CORPO breaks down the step by step process - and the exact words to use - in order to non-threateningly-but-secretly-threateningly ask for a raise. In our BONUS SECTION, we talk about why the boss should always buy coffee for their employees - even if it is a flat white at Starbucks that costs $4.90?! Plus, MR CORPO answers a question from an anonymous listener (Lindsay) about whether or not you should send thank you notes after you interview for a new job. His answer may surprise you.




 How To Ask For A Raise (11/9/2016)

JUSTIN: Money, get away. Get a good job with more pay and you're okay. Money, it's a gas. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash. Money, let's talk about it.


(Intro music)


JUSTIN: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mr. Corpo podcast. Money, we all want more of it, but we don't know how to get it. So let's talk about how to ask for a raise. Now, before we get started, I wanna make something crystal clear. Asking for a raise is different than getting a promotion. These are totally different things. So if you're angling for a promotion, go back and listen to the first episode of Mr. Corpo podcast. I explain exactly how to get a promotion and I guarantee it. But in the case that we're not talking about a promotion, we're talking about how to get a raise. And more specifically, how to ask for a raise. Two of my friends have asked me for the best approach for how to ask for a raise in the last couple weeks. So I figure there's something in the air.




JUSTIN: Now, I do want to admit right away: I'm operating on the assumption that you have listened to my podcast before, or you have read my book. I'm assuming you already have a weekly one-to-one touch base with your boss. And the key point is, you don't need a separate time to ask for a raise. Use your weekly one-on-one touch base with your boss to ask for the raise. Now, if you don't have a one-to-one meeting every week with your boss, please allow me to recommend three things. First, please allow me to call you an idiot. You're an idiot. Second, go buy my book. Third, get your work life in order. You cannot succeed at work if you do not have a one-on-one meeting with your boss every single week. Period, end of sentence, I refuse to listen to any arguments.


Okay, I'm getting off track. But the point is, you need a one-to-one weekly meeting with your boss. So, okay. Let's say you're at your one-to-one weekly meeting with your boss. Now what? This is your chance to ask for a raise. Now, here's exactly what I want you to do: I want you to say, "Hey, one more thing. I wanted to get your advice on something." Notice I told you to use the word advice. I like to say the word advice is a magic word. It has so many different meanings in this context, and let me just go through a few of them with you. It says, I respect you. Your boss is gonna love to hear that. Second, it's gonna say, you can help me. You're literally telling your boss, you can help me. People always like to help each other. So just using this word advice puts them in a position to feel like, oh, great, I can't wait to help you. The third thing you're doing: you're acknowledging to your boss the hierarchy of the relationship. You're literally saying to them, "I acknowledge you're at a higher level than I am, I'm looking for you to give me wisdom that you have, and to help me out." The other thing you're doing when you use the word advice is you're also putting pressure on your boss. This is really important. Remember how I said people love to help other people? Remember how I said you can say to your boss, you can help me? That also puts a little bit of pressure on them to say, this person has expectations, I'm going to help them, so now they're more engaged in the conversation.


So you've just said, "Hey, one more thing. I wanted to get your advice on something." The next thing I want you to say, and this is exactly down to the word, I want you to say, "I wanted to talk about the possibility of asking for a raise." Now, notice what we've done there. That's a soft sell. That's non-threatening, it's a conversation. I wanted to ask about the possibility of asking for a raise. There's no threat involved in that. This has been your setup. This is getting the mood right. This is like lighting the candles at night, this is like putting fresh sheets on the bed when you wanna have sex. You want everyone involved to feel safe, to feel happy, to feel comfortable, to be in the mood. So I guess in some ways I've just likened asking for a raise to some of the crazy steps people will take to signal to their partner, I'm in the mood to make the magic happen. You wanna make your boss feel comfortable. Notice you're not even asking for the raise. You're asking if it's okay to talk about the possibility of even asking for a raise. 05:01 This is so non-threatening that no matter who your boss is, they have to accept this as just a conversation.


Now, here's the key point: you have one sentence to make your case. Maybe it's not one sentence, but it's one point. Now, listen carefully. Here's what I want you to say: "I'm really happy. I'm working really hard. I feel like the results have been great. And I was just hoping to check in and see where I'm at with compensation." That's it. Don't keep talking. Don't list your accomplishments. Don't talk about other people. Don't nervously blabber, blabber, blabber, I'm not sure if I should be doing this, blah blah blah blah blah. That's it. Again, I'm gonna say it: "I'm really happy." I want you to say that sentence because I want you, again, to make them feel good and not feel threatened. The second part was: "I'm working really hard." So, again, no one's gonna complain about anyone working hard. This isn't about money. Notice I'm not talking about money, I'm not comparing salaries, I'm not throwing numbers on the table. All I've said is, "I'm happy and I'm working really hard." I also have acknowledged, just to remind them, that the results have been great.


Now, the reason I feel confident to give you that advice is, if the business results aren't great, you shouldn't be asking for a raise. It's as simple as that. And then this last part is the key point: "I was just hoping to check in and see where I'm at with compensation." There's nothing about that that's threatening, and it gives your boss an easy way to take the question you're asking and go do some research and figure out what is going on with your compensation?


So you've framed the question and now you've put the pressure on your boss. you weren't threatening, but you have put the pressure on your boss to come back to you and tell you what is going on with your compensation. So they literally have to come back and either say, I'm awesome, I'm giving you a raise, or they have to come back to you and say, I suck, I can't get you a raise. So either way, you've put the pressure on them. Notice you didn't say a lot. In other situations, if it's a promotion or something else, I'd like you to have a big, long list. It's your job to get the promotion. When it comes to raises, it's your boss's job. It just takes a nudge and then they're gotta go do the work.


So here's what's gonna happen next. If you have a young boss or a new boss, they have no clue what to do. They're gonna be like a deer in headlights, they're not gonna know what to say in the moment. They're just gonna fumble around, they'll just say, "Uh, okay, uh, I don't know, uh, uh, I don't know, let me just figure something out." Now, if you have an old boss, which I mean, an experienced boss, they're gonna say, "Okay. Thanks for bringing this up. Let me talk to HR and I'll get back to you."


Now, there's one other thing that could happen, and I want you to be prepared for this question. They may ask you, "Why are you asking? What brought this to mind?" Now, my advice to you is, keep it simple. The less you say, the better. Here's what I recommend you say: "Oh, I just wanted to check in." That's it. Do not say more words. Keep it simple. The more you talk, the less pressure is on your boss and the more the pressure's on you to justify it. So don't get into a situation where you feel like you have to justify the raise. Keep it simple and just say, "Oh, just wanted to check in. You know, I feel like it's healthy to have these conversations every now and then." Even that extra part I just said, I probably wish I wouldn't have said it. But maybe that's just my natural speaking pattern. So you do you, but just keep it really simple. Alright?


Congratulations. Your work is done. Now, one of three things is gonna happen. One, you're gonna get a raise. Two, you're not gonna get a raise, but you're gonna get it in the next review, and you're probably gonna get a bigger raise than you would have gotten if you hadn't asked for the raise earlier. Or the third thing is, you're gonna get a promotion and a raise. Cause here's what happens. Your boss goes to HR, HR checks the salary scale. Yes, there is such a thing as a salary scale. They will pull up your name, they'll pull up your title and then within that title there's usually a low, a middle, and a high. So this scale just says, which bucket within the title are they at? Now, often what happens is, if you've been at a company for a long time, you end up at the low end of the scale, within your job title. Because like it or not, when you change jobs, you get raises. And you get paid more money, and people stretch a little bit to get you to come join them. But if you've been at a company for a long time, sometimes you don't get as big of a raise, you don't get as big of bumps as often as you might like. So that's another reason why it's great to ask for a raise and a check in. 10:00 But HR's gonna check where you are within the scale.


Now, there's a couple things that come out of this. One, HR's gonna see, hey, you're low in the -- in the band, within that title, so we're gonna move you up from low to middle, or from middle to high. The second thing that might happen is, they might have to promote you to get you more money. So even though all you've asked for is a raise, if they take it seriously, if they're worried that this conversation might lead to you leaving, they may say, we can't give them a raise because they're already at the top of this band. If you want to give them a raise, we'd have to give them a promotion. And guess what? All of a sudden, HR, your boss, and your boss's boss are talking about the possibility of you having a promotion. This is a great thing.


Now, the third thing that might happen is, they might say, we just gave you a promotion, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Basically, they're saying they're not giving you more money. But the point is, you've gotten their attention. Either way, you win. You're on the radar, they know you're watching, they know they can't take you for granted. You've scared them. You've scared them in the most non-threatening way. They can't be mad at you. You haven't bulldozed your way in there. You haven't made false threats. You've kindly asked them, "Hey, can you let me know where I am on the compensation scale?" That's it. That's harmless. There's only benefits for you from having this conversation. Now, go out there and ask for a raise.


I think I just made a lot of people a lot of money. And I gotta say, it feels good to stick it to corporate America. So if we can take more money from them, that's a good thing. Now, let me move on to the awesome sponsor, Forlorn Hope Wines.




JUSTIN: How many of you like craft beer? I hate craft beer. It makes my stomach feel bloated, it gives me farts. I call it fart juice. In fact, I like water beer. It goes down easy, I can drink a lot of it. It makes me feel good about myself. But the reason I'm talking about craft beer when our sponsor is Forlorn Hope is, if you're someone who doesn't like wine, if you hate drinking buttery chardonnay, if you think all wine tastes the same, it's either red or white, guess what? Forlorn Hope Wines are different. I would say they're the craft beer of the wine industry. They're interesting, they're funky, they're cool, they're probably made by a guy with a lot of tattoos. In this case, we know that the founder and winemaker, matt Rorick, has sleeves of tattoos, including a Misfits tattoo. So my point is, even if you don't like wine, I want you to understand Forlorn Hope Wines are unlike anything you've ever tried. And the thing is, if you do like wines, then I don't have to sell you, cause you're gonna appreciate that this is cool, funky stuff. Go to, use the Mr. Corpo discount, M-R-C-O-R-P-O, and you're gonna get 15 dollars off, or 15 percent off, I can't even remember which, when you place your order. So,, that's all I have to say.




JUSTIN: Now, here's the thing. I'm imagining if you listen to this podcast so far, and you're a boss, you're probably pretty upset at me. Because now you're thinking, oh my gosh, every single person on my team listens to the Mr. Corpo podcast, so now every single person on my team's gonna come into my office and ask for a raise. Well, don't be mad at me, cause I'm about to offer you the bonus section, and that's gonna get you through your dark days. Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! I love you! Bonus section.


Alright, here we are on the Mr. Corpo podcast, we're in the super secret bonus section. And I've just talked about how to get a raise. But if you're a boss, there are certain things you can do to pre-empt people asking for a raise. And it's super simple: buy your employees a coffee. When you go to lunch, buy their lunch. When you go out for drinks, buy the first round of drinks. Sure, it's gonna cost you a little bit. It's gonna cost you four dollars when you go here for a coffee. It's gonna cost you 12 dollars when you go to lunch. Think of it as an investment. Because if your employees are so happy that you've bought a coffee -- it only cost you four dollars but you've made them happy -- they're gonna work hard for you and they're gonna have no time to ask for a raise. So you always wanna stay ahead of the power curve. 15:00 You always wanna be doing little things that gesture to them, they're more to you than just a number. You care so much, you're willing to pay 4.95 for a flat white at Starbucks. Okay? Never miss a chance to buy someone a coffee or a lunch. That is my advice and I promise if you do that, you will negate 50 to 75 percent of the time that people ask for raises.


Because after all, most people are afraid to ask for raises. Now, if they listen to my podcast, they're probably not afraid anymore, so you're in a little bit of trouble. But I've done my part to help you alleviate it as much as possible. So that's my bonus section for today.


This brings us to our last segment of the show, and this is called Ask Mr. Corpo. Now, as you know, you can always hit us on the social channels. We're at Instagram at JDKJDKJDKJDK. We're on Twitter at Mr_Corpo. And we also have anonymous hot tip line where you can hit us on email at Now, the power of the email is, it allows you to ask questions anonymously so your co-workers can't see on the social channels, they're asking me for advice on how to deal with someone who really annoys you at work, or whatever your question is. So I highly recommend you use the email,


This particular question comes from someone who we will call Lindsey. That may or may not be her real name, we're new at this whole anonymous thing. Lindsey explained to me that she's been interviewing at a lot of jobs lately, and interviewing with a lot of different people within the same organizations. And her question is very simple, which is: should I send thank you notes? When should I sent thank you notes? Should I send thank you emails? What should they say? And why does no one ever reply to me in these?


So I wanna make this so simple for all the listeners. And I have, myself, interviewed for jobs. I have interviewed hundreds -- literally hundreds of candidates. And I will say this very simply and very cleanly: do not send thank you notes. Do not send thank you emails. No one expects you to do that. It's actually annoying to me when I get them, because I have my daily work to get through as a boss. I'm trying to do my work. There's a small portion of my life that is committed to interviewing for this open position. But unless I'm interviewing or in a meeting talking about the candidates, I just wanna get on my with daily tasks. And guess what? If we just interviewed, I haven't decided if you're gonna get hired or not. And as a boss and as an interviewer, I have no idea how to reply to this email. I have no idea what to do. So don't put me in the awkward position of having to reply to your email or choose not to reply to your email. All you've done is actually upset me.


So this is very simple for the interviewer and the person who is being interviewed. Do not say thank you. Do not send an email. Do not send a letter -- I find a letter completely awkward, because it goes to the inter-office mail, who knows when it's gonna get there? What stamp do you use? Now I can see your handwriting. There's a million things that can go wrong with a letter. And an email makes it incredibly awkward because I can't reply to you. Maybe I've rejected your candidacy. I don't wanna continue this as a relationship. I want HR to handle it. And if I do like you, I don't wanna reply cause I don't wanna give the game away. So there's nothing good that can come from this. I've never received an email from a candidate and thought, wow, that was so thoughtful of them.


Now, I've made that super simple, but I'm gonna complicate things here at the end. I'm gonna say one point, one reason that you write an email to someone. If you were in the interview and there was an answer that you gave that you weren't happy with, or there was a question you couldn't answer, I think it's perfectly appropriate to follow up by an email and to say, "You know, I really wasn't satisfied with my answer to this question. I'd love to share this quick thought with you." And then have it be razor sharp and really quick in and out. That's an appropriate reason to follow up with someone who has interviewed you. An inappropriate reason to follow up with someone is to say, "Thank you for interviewing me." And then turning it into a social awkward experience.


Alright, so that's my advice on Ask Mr. Corpo. Lindsey, good luck with everything out there. And that does it for today's Mr. Corpo episode. Of course, I wanna thank our producer Rob Schulte, shoutout Rob.


ROB: Hello.


JUSTIN: That was Rob's voice that you just heard there. And otherwise, thanks to all the listeners. Hit me up on the social channels. Spread the word. Buy my book, How To Write An Email. It's on It's also at the publisher Extracurricular Press. It's also at And don't forget to invite me to come speak at your office, speak to your co-workers, whatever you want. But onwards and upwards. Let's get to work.




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