Should You Talk About Salary Before the Interview?

Nancy Anderson
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Applicants have long been encouraged to avoid salary inquiries prior to interviews or during the job search. However, the reality is that salary is a key element of the job. Although questions about salary should not override your inquiries about the position, it is essential you have a clear idea of the amount of money you will be making prior to putting the time and effort into an interview.

Your Time Is Important

Making a salary inquiry before the interview saves you valuable time. For example, if you spend hours preparing for an interview with a company during your search and attend two or three interviews and training sessions only to find out that the salary is well below your expectations, you are putting your efforts into an opportunity that is no longer something you can pursue. Instead, after initially speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager, ask for a salary range for the position so you can evaluate if the time spent interviewing is important for your career.

Your Honesty is Essential

A salary inquiry doesn't have to create a tense or awkward moment between you and the hiring manager. Your approach when asking this question is the key to success. Avoid sending impersonal emails with a salary inquiry to avoid making it appear as if salary is the key determinant in your job search. After asking questions about the position, the job duties and the company culture when you receive a call regarding a potential interview, politely ask for a salary range for the position. If the hiring manager is unwilling or unable to provide a range, provide a salary range that you are comfortable with to let them know your expectations. Keep your tone pleasant and assertive instead of aggressive to eliminate any awkward pauses or confrontations. If your provided salary range is not in line with what the company is prepared to offer, the hiring manager is likely going to let you know before you spend ample time attending interviews.

Your Exceptions Matter

It is possible that a salary inquiry is unnecessary if you are looking to perfect your interview skills and need the practice. In this case, attending an interview is the ideal way to practice and improve your skills, even if the salary is not within your desired range. In addition, if you know that this firm or position is the perfect choice, regardless of the pay, it may not be necessary to ask about salary since you are motivated to move up within the company.

As a job seeker, spend time researching salary ranges within your industry before making a salary inquiry with a potential employer. When prepared, you have the opportunity to detail your skills that match the position to justify your qualifications and achieve a salary that is fair.

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