1-on-1 time with the president...
July 30, 2014 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Posting for a relative... The President of my company has asked everyone in my department to meet with him in a 1 on 1 meeting in an effort to get to know us on a more personal level. I work for a Fortune 500 company in the travel industry. I studied Economics in college and deal with supply/demand pricing every day. From what I've heard, his meetings with non-management employees have been very relaxed. At the end of the meeting he asks what your salary is and if you are happy with it. He also asks if we have any questions for him. My question to you is what should my answer be to the salary question be? I am happy with what I'm getting paid but obviously want more. And what kind of questions should I ask him?
posted by likeapen to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Only if you're genuinely curious and there's a relaxed vibe in the meeting: ask him about his work/life balance. Ask about his background, how he came to the field, how he ascended to presidency level.

As for the salary: If you're happy, say so. Whatever you ask for, couch it in positive terms. But if your salary falls x amount short of what you'd need to accomplish y goal (starting a family, for example), mention it. He's asking for a reason, and it's possible he truly cares about his workers' life goals and overall satisfaction. If you feel like you're compensated just fine, and maybe even more than you need? Smile and say you're very satisfied with your salary, and thank you very much.

If you have doubts, ask coworkers who've done the one-on-one how they handled it.
posted by magdalemon at 1:41 PM on July 30, 2014 [5 favorites]

I would go with something like "I'm satisfied with my current salary as it relates to my current responsibilities. However I'm looking forward to taking on higher level responsibilities, in exchange for the right compensation."

As for questions to ask him - ask strategy questions. Show that you are interested in the big picture and the direction the company will take - and make it clear you want to be a part of realizing that.

These interviews are probably what them seem on the surface - a way to get to know the employees better - but are also undoubtedly a way to create a "short list" of promotable employees.
posted by trivia genius at 1:43 PM on July 30, 2014 [7 favorites]

You should ask him questions you're actually interested in hearing the answers to. I work for our CEO and I always find it interesting to hear what the business was like when he started in the 1970s vs. now, what he expected when he first got into it vs. where he has ended up, and where he thinks it's going. I'm sure the travel industry has changed a lot since he first started; that might be an interesting topic of conversation.
posted by something something at 1:55 PM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're going to ask for more money, it never hurts to have good solid reasons why they should give you more money. Make a quick case about what you've done over the past year that's actively helped the company save or make more money.

If you're a decade or two younger then him (and actually interested in the answer), I've gotten some interesting answers to questions like "what are the three things you wish you knew when you were my age?"
posted by beep-bop-robot at 2:02 PM on July 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I always want more, but I understand that that's contingent on me becoming more valuable to the company. I'm eager to find ways to make that happen.
posted by straw at 2:31 PM on July 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

If you're satisfied with your compensation, I wouldn't even mention it, because it's so expected. Who doesn't want more money? It's something he already knows.

This is an opportunity to connect personally with the CEO. That's a pretty big deal. Ask about the company's strategies for thriving in a competitive environment, and what your role in that can be.

Really, who do you think he'll remember most favorably at promotion time, the person who asked for more money, or the person who demonstrated that they're on board with the corporate mission and maybe offered an idea or two?

And, since it sounds like a collegial environment, I would be prepared to share a bit about my family and outside interests, and to ask a probing question or two about his, should he share, but briefly, because that really is not what this meeting is about.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:02 PM on July 30, 2014

I think you'll have a better chance of getting more money if you have some ideas about specific additional things you could be doing, especially if they're not on anyone's radar. Take the initiative.
posted by alphanerd at 7:24 PM on July 30, 2014

I am totally not an expert at this, but my first thought about this meeting was that I would want to share something personal that was maybe a bit odd but not embarrassing. Like, he would be more likely to remember the accountant who has keeps alpacas in the back yard than to remember the accountant who has a degree in Finance. Sharing something like that also allows a connection point - Oh, his grandmother had the most wonderful alpaca shawl that he loved!. And it's not all the same old questions.
posted by CathyG at 10:10 AM on July 31, 2014

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