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Can You Use Another Company’s Job Offer To Ask For A Promotion?

Be careful when you do.
PHOTO: istockphoto

There comes a time in every employee’s life when he or she gets eager—or anxious—for a promotion. Some may be too anxious waiting for that career boost that they start browsing job listings, and apply for a better opportunity in another company.

There are “the lucky ones.”

In a few cases, being offered a job from another institution makes your employer realize your worth—HA!—and draw up a counter-offer to raise your salary or give you that elusive promotion you’ve been waiting for. The “lucky ones” have the ball in their court and get to decide where they want to go.

But, as we all know, we can’t all be lucky. Some companies will let you go without a fight, wish you luck, and even tell you they’re happy for you. So can you use a job offer from another company to make your boss realize your potential?


Be cautious when bargaining.

We asked Fleur Therese Saguid, Head of Human Resources for First Circle (a financial technology firm) and previously the HR and Operations Manager for Zomato, about this “bargaining” issue. Fleur issues a word of caution: “This can be a tool to open a discussion for promotion with the boss, but you have to be very careful because it also means that you went ahead and explored another opportunity outside of the organization. Remember, one big aspect that companies are looking at when promoting someone is their loyalty.”

Fleur adds, “There is nothing wrong with looking at other opportunities once in a while. It's actually a good way for you to know trends in hiring and new skills that are rising in demand within your industry, but this may lessen your shot at your long awaited promotion.”

So how do you go about it? “If you got an offer, make sure that your manager understands that you considered talking to another company because you are hungry for more,” says Fleur. She says that you should make it known that you are “hungry for a bigger responsibility, handling your own team or (let's be honest) you might already be looking for a better compensation. Make sure that your boss understands that you are ready to take on [more and a raise is] something you deserve. 

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Pro Tip: Keep calm, and think before you make a move.

Of course, you don’t need a job offer from another company to get ahead at work. There are better (read: less risky) ways to make your intentions known and to ask for that promotion. Karina Pamintuan, HR Manager at Stralia Inc., shares, “Of the factors to be considered in promoting employees, their performance, attitude, and attendance are being considered the most. These factors are being discussed with the employees at the time of their engagement [with the company]. Personally, I put more weight on attitude and behavior over their performance. Attendance, on the other hand, is also important because, well, you can’t be an MVP if you’re not in the game.

As with most companies, Karina mentions that they have a rating system for employees, and evaluations are done once a year for regular promotions. “If business exigencies call for it, we have special promotions throughout the year, too,” Karina adds. “People who are rated in the upper 20% of their teams and departments are considered for promotion.” 

The HR managers share additional tips for anyone antsy or concerned with getting that leg-up in their career. “Go beyond what is expected of you—but do not over do it!” says Fleur. “You may have heard this a million times already but going beyond your job description and taking initiatives will always be good shortcuts to promotion. But some people [make the mistake of] brown-nosing and sucking up to the boss as a shorter shortcut.” 

Karina advises, “Study the promotion system of the company. Maybe they just have really tough metrics. And then, re-evaluate yourself. Is this really the job you want? If the answer is yes, then think about your actions.”

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