A survey by Monster.com shows that a whopping 96% of employees quit their jobs and search for a new one with better pay. As a job seeker, one of the first things you’ll look up during a job search is the salary.
OK, you can probably accept that the job description doesn’t have a salary rate. But what if the salary is not discussed during interview, too? Should you go ahead and ask about salary expectations? I’m here to advise you on the right thing to do when in this situation. So let’s go!
Why an Interviewer Doesn’t Discuss Salary in Your Initial Interview
Before anything else, it’s important to understand why a recruiter or potential employer might not discuss your salary on the first or even second interview. Here are some reasons why:
- They don’t want it to be all about the salary. Hiring managers and prospective employers are looking for someone who has the right skills, experience, and passion for the role. That is their main focus. The salary can wait until they’re sure you’re the right one.
- It’s a company policy. Yes, there are a few companies that don’t allow it. The reason is so that the recruiter can maintain a fair and consistent hiring process.
- It’s irrelevant until you get the job. For some, the salary question is not for the interview process. Salary information is only given when the potential employer selects you for the position. I mean, what will the salary offer mean to you if you’re not even taken?
- There is no yet current salary for your role. Maybe the employer wants to deal with salary negotiation with the person who is hired. They’re willing to discuss the desired pay with the best candidate. According to findings from Career Builder, around 73% of U.S. employers expect candidates to engage in salary negotiations when presented with an initial job offer.
- There are many interview stages. If this is the case, salary usually doesn’t come up until later job interviews – maybe the 3rd or 4th round. For the first two interviews, the focus is on gauging your overall suitability for the position.
Should You Ask About Salary During an Interview
Say you’re shortlisted for an interview with a company you want to work for. Hurrah!
However, the job listing had no starting salary. This will lead you to ask, “Is it professional to ask about salary in an interview?”
I hold the view that asking about salary information before accepting a job offer is absolutely valid and reasonable. In fact, salary is one of the factors that many would consider crucial when they are planning to make a career move. However, the issue here is principally to do with timing.
So yes, you can bring up salary if it’s never mentioned. What’s important is WHEN you should bring it up. I’ll go over a few scenarios and tell you if it’s wise to talk about salary.
When a recruiter approaches you
Let’s say a recruiter approaches you with a job opening on LinkedIn. In this scenario, they will most likely ask right away what your expected salary range is. Yes, this question may come up even before you take the time to send in your resume and cover letter.
Eddie Law gives his take on this:
An experienced recruiter would take the initiative to check whether your expected salary is within the budgeted salary for a particular role before proceeding to recommend you to the potential employer.
When you approach the recruiter
On the other hand, if you apply for the job and get an interview, it will be a bit trickier to talk about salary. You don’t want to negotiate salaries right away. This will give off a bad impression. It’s as if the only reason you’re applying for the job is for the salary and not because you’re interested in the role.
So when do you ask? Not until you’re given a job offer OR the interviewer or employer brings up the topic.
If you’re given a job offer, it’s perfectly OK to ask about compensation. I mean, they’re already willing to hire you. At this time, you may even try to negotiate a higher salary if it’s too low.
What if your potential employer never brings it up during an interview? Then you wait until you’re given a job offer. Chances are, the employer doesn’t mention the salary because:
- They are not keen on hiring you
- They would rather delegate this discussion to the human resources
- They already know your desired compensation range and it fits their budget
Asking About Salary Dos and Don’ts
OK, you’re given the job offer (or the employer brings up the salary topic). There are certain dos and don’ts that you need to follow to stay professional…
- Research job market salaries. Before discussing your salary, research industry standards and the average salaries for the specific role and location. This way, you can negotiate more effectively.
- Wait for the right time. When you’re given the job offer, don’t jump to the salary right away. Choose an appropriate moment to bring up your salary…
- Express enthusiasm first. You’re hired! You should always start off by expressing your excitement about the position. Highlight your interest in contributing to the company’s success, and then transition into the discussion about compensation.
- Use a range. Don’t give a specific number. Instead, provide a salary range based on your research. This allows for flexibility and negotiation while still conveying your expectations.
- Consider the entire package. It’s not all about salary. Factor in other benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, bonuses, and any additional perks. You should assess the entire compensation package to make an informed decision.
- Be open to negotiation. Remember, salary discussions often involve some level of negotiation. Be open to finding a mutually beneficial arrangement. Always consider factors such as performance-based bonuses, flexible work arrangements, or additional benefits that may contribute to your overall job satisfaction.
- Don’t ask about the salary on your first interview. For one thing, you don’t even know if you’re getting the job. So if the salary is not discussed during interview, avoid asking about it. As we saw, you should only ask if it’s brought up by the recruiter/employer or if you’re already given a job offer.
- Don’t raise the issue of salary before the employer mentions it. Be patient. If an employer never mentions salary during a job interview, don’t mention it, too. You’ll find out soon enough. If you’re hired, that is.
- Don’t sound demanding or aggressive. You don’t want to create any tension. This is why it’s so important to use great communication skills. You want to have a positive and collaborative tone to your voice.
- Don’t accept the first offer immediately. Say you really need/want the job. Instead of agreeing right away with whatever job offer they give, it’s best to wait a bit. Yes, even if the initial offer seems acceptable, it’s advisable to express appreciation for the offer and ask for some time to consider it. This allows you to evaluate the entire package and potentially negotiate for better terms.
- Don’t focus solely on salary. While salary is important, don’t make it the sole focus of the discussion. As I already mentioned, consider the overall compensation package, including benefits, bonuses, and other perks. Remember, these are just as important as your compensation.
- Don’t factor in personal financial struggles. Yes,it’s OK to negotiate for a fair salary. However, avoid delving into personal financial difficulties as the primary reason for needing a higher salary. Keep the conversation focused on your skills, qualifications, and market value. Don’t pull out the “pity card” strategy.
Salary not discussed during interview? Don’t panic! And don’t bring it up unless the recruiter or employer turns your attention to it OR you’re handed a job offer.
If one of the two things happens, then you should follow my list of dos and don’ts. This way, you can keep your professionalism and negotiate the perfect salary agreement for both you and the company.