Having another job offer may seem to be the ultimate triumph for anyone seeking a raise, but that’s only true if you really want both jobs (old and new). Many people use the “job offer” card as a way of not-so-subtly pressuring a boss into the raise they think they deserve. Many a time, this strategy has backfired: Either the boss has been waiting to get rid of the employee or cannot match the money on offer at the other job. So before you decide to use this tactic in your negotiation process, there are some factors to consider.
Bluffing can backfire
First, never use another job offer as a bluff. If your boss finds out this isn’t true, even if you get the raise, your credibility is gone. More likely, you will be called out on the bluff, congratulated for your fine work at your present job, and asked for your letter of resignation.
Your boss is likely to ask for details of the new job (which you won’t be able to confidently provide) and is unlikely to be swayed to offer more money, even if you manage to keep your current position. Coworkers are also likely to keep the boss updated if you decide to share your strategy of bluffing.
Another offer you don’t want
If you do have another job offer, but don’t want the job, it’s a situation with less power, and it’s important to recognize that. You might raise the issue with your current boss as leverage, but are you prepared to leave if the raise doesn’t come through? If you still want your old job, threatening with a new one may land you in a job you really didn’t want in the first place.
The best of all possible worlds, of course, is to have a new job offer for a job you want, and have a job you still like. From this strong standpoint, you do hold the ultimate card. Whichever scenario works out, you still come out ahead.
It’s rare in life that a person doesn’t want one job more than another, but it’s possible that there are enough benefits on both sides to make two jobs equally tempting. From this strong vantage point, you could easily get not only a new job, but a raise as well. In short, you’d be holding the best hand of cards of all.