Career Q&A: How to Ask for a Raise in 2022

Lindsay Scott also has tips for transitioning back to full-time work, requesting in-person interviews and sharing the right pandemic anecdotes.

I haven’t received a pay raise since the pandemic started. What’s the best way to ask for more money during a recovery?

Even fiscally cautious companies realize that they need to take steps to keep top talent, particularly as voluntary departures surge. But you’ll need to assess several factors to determine whether a pay boost is possible:

—Has your organization established a path for post-pandemic recovery and growth? If so, company leaders are likely to be more receptive to your request. If uncertainty persists at your organization, you might need to wait.

—Can you show how your value to the organization has increased during the pandemic? Share metrics that prove you’ve helped increase productivity or that quantify how projects you’ve managed helped get the organization back on track more quickly.

—If more money is off the table, can you counter with other requests, like extending work-from-home options or adding paid time off? Another option might be to ask for another team member who can help with project monitoring and scheduling so you can focus more time on strategic and high-value responsibilities.

Whatever request seems most appropriate, start the conversation now with your supervisor. Even if it turns out that a raise isn’t possible right away, you’ll have opened the door for an ongoing conversation about your career.

I scaled back to part-time work during the pandemic. Will potential employers hold that against me as I seek full-time work?

This is an old way of thinking about the recruitment process. We have all managed these extraordinary times differently. You chose part-time work, and most employers will understand your decision.

As the economy recovers and opportunities open up, you won’t need to convince anyone about your commitment level. Ultimately it comes down to your skills and showing how you’ve creatively solved problems for project teams. If you focus on these things in applications and during interviews, you’ll have a full-time role soon.

I feel disconnected during virtual interviews. What’s the best way to request an in-person interview?

Virtual interviews are here to stay, particularly for volume recruitment and initial shortlisting stages. It’s proving to be an efficient and cost-effective approach for organizations—and busy human resources departments appreciate them. For project management roles, which are still considered a big investment to firms, the second-round interviews will most likely need higher levels of engagement so, ideally, they should be in-person, but don’t necessarily expect it to be the case.

Where does that leave you? At the beginning of the process, ask the recruiter how many interviews there will be—and whether any are likely to be conducted in-person.

Even if the company defaults to virtual for all interviews, you can ask for an in-person meeting by explaining how it will help you get a better feel for the organization and its people and culture. Letting people know you enjoy the face-to-face process is also a way to remind the interviewers that project management is a people business. But be empathic if they decline your request, since not everyone—or the organizations they work for—are ready for in-person meetings.

I'm worried that everyone will have the same “pandemic pivot” elevator pitch. How can I ensure my experiences stand out?

Pandemic-related career questions will be the norm for a while. Hirers want to know how project managers—in the face of adversity and uncertainty—have kept teams motivated and stakeholders engaged, and ensured projects still deliver benefits. So lean into this: Nail down some explicit examples that demonstrate how you helped teams pivot with innovative problem solving.

Don’t worry whether your pandemic experiences are exactly the same as others. It’s more important that the examples you provide align with the new opportunity, resonate with interviewers and show why you’re a good fit for their organization.


Career Tips with Lindsay Scott

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