How To Slay Your Pay: Advice From An Actual Recruiter

Decembetch is almost over but there’s still plenty of time for you to #SlayYourPay. So we asked an actual recruiter for the best strategies to get what you want. You’re welcome.

What’s your background?

Two years ago, I worked as a graphic designer for a fashion company and I *hated it*. I decided to make a change and now I work on the happy side of HR—which means I hire people and change their lives for the better, and I love it. I specialize in technology, building teams in-house. Currently I’m at Fueled, a product focused mobile shop that builds cool stuff. 

What’s the deal with men getting paid more than women? 

In my experience, it’s been interesting to see the differences between male and female candidates during the hiring process. Often, I would have two equally qualified candidates for the same role, but women would sell them selves short. I’m talking $20K short—that’s a new handbag and a trip to Paris! You don’t want to low-ball yourself early on in your career, because it adds up over the years. For instance, sometimes I would question a candidate’s seniority if their salary didn’t reflect their level of experience. You want to be able to stand against the competition and show your value. That’s why it’s so important to be able to slay your play.

Blair Waldorf

What’s the best time to ask for a raise?

It varies, but the earliest I would say is after the first 6 months to a year. It gives you enough time to demonstrate your value to the company and see how much their business has improved (because of you!). In terms of the calendar year, I would wait until after the new year and the beginning of any fiscal quarter. After the first quarter or middle of the year, many companies are reevaluating their finances. If the company is not doing so well then it might be time to start looking for another job. If they are thriving, then it’s time to cash in. 

What are some things women should have prepared before going in to ask for a raise?

Unlike our president-elect, you should come in with facts facts facts. Do not ask for a raise to support your shopping habit, your studio apartment downtown, or even student loans—that’s not what your boss wants to hear. Go in *knowing* your value and being able to speak on how you added value to the company since your start date. Go above and beyond the job description—the basics are expected once you come on board, fucking duh. I’m talking about the extra stuff. Did you come up with a new idea that helped your company/team work more efficiently, hence helping the company make more money on your behalf? Show that.

Research the market. Know what your peers are making in your location and match that. I recommend sites like or It also doesn’t hurt to talk about money with people you know in the industry—as they say, those who make money, talk about money.

Lastly, visuals are always key when presenting and persuading an argument. Did you know that Emma Stone showed her parents a PowerPoint to convince them to allow her to finish high school early and move to Hollywood to start her acting career? Now look at her, co-staring in films with Ryan Gosling. That could be you. Well, not really. But you get the point.


Are there any phrases we should use or avoid when negotiating?

Stay away from sob stories—no one wants to hear them. Stand your ground. Say “I” and don’t apologize. (If you want to admit to a mistake, then excuse yourself by saying “pardon” rather than “I’m sorry.”) Stick to facts. Also, if you’re moving companies rather than staying, DO NOT use a new job offer as leverage at your current company. Some people will go to their current employer and say shit like, “Well, x company already made an offer for x amount of money, but your company is my first choice and I hope you can match the offer that I’m looking for.” THIS IS A TERRIBLE FUCKING IDEA. Counter offers break trust and you’ll end up leaving within 6 months anyway. Just be transparent. Businesses respect that. And the more quantitative you can be in demonstrating your worth, the better.

Any final tips?

If I could leave you with anything, it would be the wise words from Drake: “Know yourself, know your worth”. 

Started From The Bottom

For more career tips, follow @emmythebeth on Twitter. 


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