How to Ask About Salary Before Going for a Job Interview

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You have applied for job after job and have finally landed an interview. Congratulations! Getting to this point in the job search process is a significant accomplishment. Before going off to your interview, you want to know more about what this employer is willing to offer in terms of salary. How do you inquire about this often sensitive topic without scaring off your potential future employer? In a competitive job market, employers are keeping everything close to their vests. Uncovering this information before your interview is commonly one of the most daunting parts of the job search process.

  • Know the market. Visit websites such as iseek.org and salary.com to search for average salaries for your industry and the position you are applying for. Try to determine a range for salaries that fit your search criteria. This information at your fingertips is essential to determining if what the employer may offer is competitive. It gives you a starting point and shows the employer that you have done your research. Another method for gathering similar information is to speak to others who work in this position within the same industry. Remember, the more openings there are in your field/position, the less the employer may be willing to pay.

  • Evaluate your own salary history and your financial needs. Know what your limitations are and how flexible you are willing to be.

  • Make the call. Contact the human resources department or hiring manager for the position you are pursuing. Be courteous, professional and polite. Reaffirm how excited you are to be interviewing with them and state that you would like some additional information regarding salary because it will help you more effectively prepare for the interview. Always thank them for their time at the beginning of the call.

  • Listen closely. Often the employer is happy that you are inquiring about salary before the interview because they want both parties to be aware of expectations before sitting down across the table from each other. Be cautious if an employer asks you about your own salary history and requirements before the interview. This is not the time to negotiate. The time for that will come after you have been offered the position. An employer who provides you with salary information before your interview will often ask if it is a good fit for you. Your response may determine if they should pursue you after the interview, no matter how well it goes. Be as open and as general as possible with your response to maintain their enthusiasm at the prospect of hiring you.

  • Determine your next steps. If the employer was unwilling to provide you with salary information before the interview, proceed with caution. If they are able to provide you with this valuable information, prepare yourself for how you might address any concerns if offered the job and salary negotiations begin in earnest.

Tips & Warnings

  • If possible, ask about salary before you accept the interview. This will help you avoid further pursuing jobs that may not suit you monetarily and will show the employer that you have solid preparation skills.

References

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