How to Ask About Salary During Your Interview

If you get an interview for a job, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact right time to ask your hiring manager about salary, but its one of the most important pieces of information you need to know about the job. A company’s salary budget may be a determining factor in your ability to accept the job, yet this information often goes undisclosed until later in the hiring process. Why don’t companies post starting salaries, and how can you find out more about the range earlier in the process?


Why do companies resist posting their salary range? When exactly should you ask about salary?

Companies hesitate to include the starting salary in job descriptions because they know that job seekers will often suggest or approve of salaries that are less than the company’s actual budget. Even though you might know this is a part of the process, it’s still important refrain from appearing only motivated by the salary, and if you know that there are several interviews in the hiring process, you may want to wait until the second or third interview before you begin to discuss salary.

The answer to the latter question can depend on where you are in your career. If you are looking for entry level positions, you may have less leverage over the salary question. On the blog, “The Interview Guys,” Mike Simpson outlines two methods for approaching the salary question. There’s the “Old School Method,” in which you can discuss salary if the hiring manager brings it up first. This method may work better for those entering a career rather than more well-established candidates.

Simpson also suggest a “New School Method”: bringing up salary before the second interview. He writes, “When they call you to bring you in for a second interview, it’s your move. Open with a question, not a demand. This is a negotiation!” In other words, ask before the interview about the salary, so you can inform your interviewer whether or not it is worth it for both parties to continue with the hiring process.


Are there ways to work around this issue?

Of course! If you work with a staffing firm, you can express your salary needs to your recruiter, and they will only connect you with employers that plan to meet those demands. As Forbes points out, “A third-party recruiter would never send you to the interview without first confirming that your target salary range and the employer’s salary range intersect.” Working with a staffing firm is a surefire way to be matched with employers that can meet your demands.


If you’re looking for a job, contact Staffers today. We specialize in office clerical positions and offer a range of employment types: temporary, temp-to-perm, and direct hire. Let us help you find a perfect match!

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