How do I get a raise at my temp job?

by Staff - Original publish date: January 19, 2012

Q. I am a temporary employee for a large firm. Before I interviewed for the job, the agency representative asked me what salary I wanted. The hourly wage I quoted was too low and does not reflect my years of experience. Later I was told that neither the agency nor the employer was able to find anyone to perform this job (the person I replaced is on a job-related disability leave). This is a professional position. The basic salary is below the Salary Wizard median. In addition, several other people at this department will be taking extended absences. What is the appropriate avenue for requesting a salary increase? Do I talk with the agency or the employer?

A. You're in a precarious position. You're right - it was premature for you to say an hourly rate without evaluating the job, or discussing the job further with your agency or the company. But when you make a decision you later regret, it's not fair to expect the other party to change their tune immediately. You must present some reason why it's in the best interest of the agency and/or company to reconsider the salary you agreed to. In other words, you have to make it worth their while to offer you more money.

I would approach the agency, not the company, with this issue. After all, you negotiated your rate with the agency. Speak to the person who worked with you to get your current assignment and ask whether it is possible to renegotiate your rate on your current assignment. If they say no, then just remember to prepare thoroughly the next time you go in for an interview.

If the company says yes, make sure you have the market data from the Salary Wizard or the Personal Salary Report. In addition, make sure you have the experience, the skill, and the knowledge to justify the rate you're asking for.

Good luck.