Q: I have been working as a human resources assistant for the last two and a half years. Although I had no human resources experience when I started, I have now learned almost every aspect of my job (at least according to my job description) and have acquired even more responsibilities. I have attended numerous HR seminars and have taken a few evening business courses on my own.
I'm also the unofficial supervisor for a two-person department. Technically, my manager is the manager for this department, but because I am bilingual I have become responsible for hiring, firing, and daily management. I have expressed a strong interest in learning more about the compensation aspect of HR, since I prepare and track all company reviews. I'm interested in learning how salaries are calculated and how they compare to the market.
My current salary is just under $29,000, and many other positions, including customer service and accounting clerks are now earning up to $2,000 more than I am. I don't think this is fair. Would I be justified in asking for a raise, even though I just got a 3 percent raise a few months ago? If so, how should I go about doing this?
A: I commend you for taking it upon yourself to increase your skills and knowledge in HR. Based on some of the tasks you've listed, it does seem as though your current scope and responsibilities exceed those of a human resources assistant. Typically, an HR assistant would not be responsible for hiring and firing employees.
Prepare for a meeting with your supervisor by reviewing the job description that applied to you when you were hired. Using that same document, add the responsibilities you have taken on. Then, discuss the before-and-after versions of the job description with your supervisor. This way your supervisor can see the evolution of your responsibilities since you were hired into the position.
Once you and your supervisor agree on your new responsibilities, rewrite the job description accordingly. With an accurate picture of your job, find out the market rate using the Salary Wizard or by purchasing a Personal Salary Report. If the increase you received a few months ago doesn't bring you between the minimum and the midpoint of the salary range, then negotiate an increase that puts you within that range. By defining the role and determining the pay, you put yourself in a good position to ask your supervisor for an appropriate increase to your salary.