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Do you ask for salary before formal interview?

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  • Aug 10th, 2021 10:10 pm
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Aug 31, 2017
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Do you ask for salary before formal interview?

Question: Do you ask for salary upfront before proceeding with an interview?

I didn’t before, but after 2 complete waste of times, I will now ask for the base salary range upfront when a recruiter reaches out.

I understand tools like glassdoor and stats can exist, but unless I’m in a toxic work environment the #1 or #2 thing I’m looking for is salary. I want to know the range being offered. I will likely already know about your flexible work arrangement before submitting my application, so I no longer care much about asking that.
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Jul 12, 2008
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I mainly apply in the public sector so the salary is usually available right away, for second jobs or other jobs I can usually decipher the salary using tools like Glassdoor, Indeed and forums like this so I never need to ask.

On the flip side if they ask for your salary expectation towards the beginning, that usually means they can accommodate the range you provide in my experience from friends and family.
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Nov 15, 2016
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I have multiple recruiters that reach out to me every few days on LI or email. I've learned to quickly not waste anyone's time and ask for compensation ranges upfront. That eliminates roughly 95% of the recruiters as comp expectations are not in line. Saves us both time, can't be bothered to go through a process to realize they'll lowball or not even be in the range (this would be even post counter)
Jr. Member
Apr 28, 2010
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Toad99 wrote: I have multiple recruiters that reach out to me every few days on LI or email. I've learned to quickly not waste anyone's time and ask for compensation ranges upfront. That eliminates roughly 95% of the recruiters as comp expectations are not in line. Saves us both time, can't be bothered to go through a process to realize they'll lowball or not even be in the range (this would be even post counter)
I concur with this approach. Once you ask for the salary range, they'll usually stop engaging. Why? More than half of these requests are from people who are called sourcers and essentially their role is to bring qualified candidates to the interviewing process and let one of the colleagues go through the prescreening. If you ask this question and they don't want to reveal that (sometimes sourcers are augmented third party employees too) or just find that you're too much work they'll just move on to someone else. Saves everyone time.
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Mar 7, 2007
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Yes, I do, at the first call with HR.

As others have written above, to save time, and avoid disappointment.
Sr. Member
Feb 19, 2017
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Most recruiters out there do not have access to the data to do their job properly (or they don't care). Always ask for at least a range up front or give them a minimum to get the conversation started (you can always negotiate after) unless you can somehow find out from another source. I will say that glassdoor is very inaccurate for most roles >$150K.

I've had recruiters try to offer me a quarter of my current comp based on title. I just block the clueless ones that are wasting my time. It's completely unprofessional to not do proper research and blindly reach out to people on linkedin.

A couple times, I thought about giving them a harshly-worded lecture, but good sense prevailed.
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Jul 13, 2009
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It should always be part of first conversation. I make it a habit of asking as part of my initial 30 min chat with candidates, however I honestly find it rude before I even open my mouth candidates interrupt me with "Unless we're talking about $180k comp here, I don't want to speak further".
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Sep 14, 2012
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MyNameWasTaken wrote: Question: Do you ask for salary upfront before proceeding with an interview?

I didn’t before, but after 2 complete waste of times, I will now ask for the base salary range upfront when a recruiter reaches out.

I understand tools like glassdoor and stats can exist, but unless I’m in a toxic work environment the #1 or #2 thing I’m looking for is salary. I want to know the range being offered. I will likely already know about your flexible work arrangement before submitting my application, so I no longer care much about asking that.
For me, it depends on the reason for the interview or the reason that I'm applying for the job.

If I'm not working at the time, I generally don't ask about the salary or benefits until after I've been offered the job.

If I'm currently working and a recruiter contacts me first, I'll ask them for the salary range and benefits before confirming if I'm interested or not in applying/submitting my application.

If I'm currently working and I see a job that I like or looks interesting, I generally don't ask about the salary or benefits until after I've been offered the job.

That being stated, for the last ~9 years, I've only applied internally for positions so these positions have salary levels which are publicly available to all current employees so I know what the salary is for the internal job that I would apply for and if I was offered the job, I know if my salary would change.

I once applied for an internal job and it was of the same salary band/level as my current job so I was aware that my salary wouldn't change if offered the job and during the interview, the HR advisor for that department specifically mentioned that my salary would not be increasing as it was the same salary band/level as my current position and I told her that I was aware of that before I applied for the position.
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Oct 16, 2013
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MyNameWasTaken wrote: I understand tools like glassdoor and stats can exist, but unless I’m in a toxic work environment the #1 or #2 thing I’m looking for is salary
Yes, good to tackle this upfront before you waste too much time. I try to get the range out of them, as they will have this given that the role is budgeted for in headcount planning.

If the range is lower than desired, it's not off the table right away as I will look at other factors: benefits, RRSP contribution, growth potential, etc.

I've always been upfront as experienced recruiters know the damage of signing on someone who feels like they were lowballed, even if coming from a toxic environment. (Not that you'd tell the recruiter though.)

The cost of (1) recruiting and (2) onboarding (which can take months) is just not worth the "savings" if the employee leaves quickly for a better offer elsewhere.
---
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Mar 15, 2005
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bhrm wrote: It should always be part of first conversation. I make it a habit of asking as part of my initial 30 min chat with candidates, however I honestly find it rude before I even open my mouth candidates interrupt me with "Unless we're talking about $180k comp here, I don't want to speak further".
I don't blame them.

As a fairly seasoned professional I frequently get recruiters trying to get me to take lower positions that would be a slam dunk interview for me.

I usually cut the fat by telling them up front I am not working for less than $1XX and go from there
Deal Guru
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Jul 12, 2003
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If a recruiter approach you for a position that their client have, Yes! ask how much are their offer.
Interviews are time consuming, maybe better with phone interview or Zoom meeting now (during pandemic), but traditionally it takes you half day off to go visit the employer, prepare for the interview the day or few days before, do research of the company etc....

If you are the one apply for job that you seems interesting, it is harder especially they are hiring for their own and not going through an job agency or recruiting company. (assuming they don't post salary info on job posting)

I once applied for a job that I'm kind of interested, the HR person Email me for a time for phone interview. I asked their offering salary, she got upset and said this question is not appropriate or professional to ask. I couldn't believe her reaction, people work mainly for the salary, isn't it? I had a feeling they were simply offering a salary of an entry level but required years of related exp.

I had bad experience about apply for a job internal which is the same band level in a bank, I expected the same or slightly more salary since I'm so depreciate to leave that current department.
On the second interview, the hiring manager asked my current salary, I told her XXXX, she said she can only offer 25% less than what I'm earning. The interviewed ended there and no point to proceed because I won't accept a pay cut of 25%.

Another job I interview referred by an agency, the company is hiring me, salary is slightly higher than my job at that time. However, they only offering 1 year contract, with no health plan, less vacation days. Comparing to mine having more holiday, more seniority, pension sponsored by the company, etc.... I wouldn't jump the boat as my job was stable although i was sick of it, but I couldn't accept a contract job over a stable full time job with full benefit foronly few k salary increase. The recruiter was so pissed and said I waste everyone's time, few years later, she added me back to her Linkedin, I rejected it. Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes
Last edited by MP3_SKY on Aug 7th, 2021 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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bhrm wrote: It should always be part of first conversation. I make it a habit of asking as part of my initial 30 min chat with candidates, however I honestly find it rude before I even open my mouth candidates interrupt me with "Unless we're talking about $180k comp here, I don't want to speak further".
Sorry, but why is it rude? What are you losing by someone saying that right away? This is a strictly business relationship right? You are only doing this to make money for yourself. You aren't going to talk to that candidate ever again most likely. You aren't ever going to meet them in person most likely. Anyway, I am speaking from experience where I find recruiters play little games with salary range which is really annoying. Just tell me the facts right away, and we can decide whether its worth it to continue or not.
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Jul 12, 2003
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devmaster8 wrote: Sorry, but why is it rude? What are you losing by someone saying that right away? This is a strictly business relationship right? You are only doing this to make money for yourself. You aren't going to talk to that candidate ever again most likely. You aren't ever going to meet them in person most likely. Anyway, I am speaking from experience where I find recruiters play little games with salary range which is really annoying. Just tell me the facts right away, and we can decide whether its worth it to continue or not.
I agree,

Just post your offering salary, at least within a range.
For example, $65k to 75k.

So people who are already making 80k won't apply for it. It is a waste of the recruiter and the candidate's time to talk about a job that later the candidate will turn it down.
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Nov 23, 2008
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Ziggy007 wrote: I don't blame them.

As a fairly seasoned professional I frequently get recruiters trying to get me to take lower positions that would be a slam dunk interview for me.

I usually cut the fat by telling them up front I am not working for less than $1XX and go from there
but there's a way to do that professionally and a way to do it like an a$$hole

I believe bhrm is referring to the former type
Deal Fanatic
Nov 23, 2008
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devmaster8 wrote: Sorry, but why is it rude? What are you losing by someone saying that right away? This is a strictly business relationship right? You are only doing this to make money for yourself. You aren't going to talk to that candidate ever again most likely. You aren't ever going to meet them in person most likely. Anyway, I am speaking from experience where I find recruiters play little games with salary range which is really annoying. Just tell me the facts right away, and we can decide whether its worth it to continue or not.
people could be patient for just 20sec and wait for a pause before interrupting (this applies on both sides of the conversation)

being rude by interrupting others will burn bridges and translate into less opportunities for everyone
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My experience with a recent job opportunity was:

1. Sourcer reached out, had job description
2. I responded that the description looked to be for a job level lower than my role/expectation
3. They confirmed the role was hiring at the level that is expected (implied by my yoe/current job)
4. Recruiter, prior to interview phase, was pressing for salary expectations, I reflected the ask, and they came back with a target base salary
5. I responded that the base was tolerable but that TC and overall offer was most important
6. Went through interview process and got the initial offer
7. The initial offer base was exactly what the recruiter had mentioned... TC was in line with level
8. After negotiation, the base was increased, as was the overall TC, to an acceptable level
9. Offer was accepted.

ie... be aware of these aspects:

* You want to mutually ensure you aren't wasting each others' time... work that out with the sourcer/recruiter if the opportunity is of any interest
* Don't offer a range... say "market rates, commensurate with experience" etc and try to have them give you a range
* If they provide a number, make sure it's qualified (base, ote, tc, etc) and make a decision
* Always give feedback like "that's a reasonable starting point if the role is the right fit"
* At offer negotiation phase, avoid giving your numbers as much as possible
* Be reasonable during negotiation... make sure you can read the situation and avoid overplaying a weak hand

I have a friend who almost fell into the trap of giving a number or a range that he thought was reasonable and aggressive for the opportunity. The offer he actually received was (to him) very unexpectedly much much higher than the top of the range he had in mind.
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Nov 28, 2016
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SomeOtherDude wrote: but there's a way to do that professionally and a way to do it like an a$$hole

I believe bhrm is referring to the former type
I suppose an asshole will always be an asshole, irrespective of it being about the salary or not.

My ideal recruiter is someone who reaches out with everything I need right away:
-job details
-location and flexibility on remote/wfh/hybrid
-salary range (or TC range)
-benefits
-perks
-anything else that will entice me right away

I have been part of hiring for years. All the details above have already been decided or at least the ranges are known before the job is approved for posting. If they say otherwise, then the company is not where you want to work.

I really dislike recruiters that I have to fish out the details one by one, and are also slow in response. Waste of time.
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Apr 7, 2011
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Hamilton
Yes, politely but usually at the first real contact.

I had a recruiter reach out for a job and when we spoke salary he said it was double what I was currently making. **Alarm Bells**

He was recruiting for a much more senior job than what I'd be appropriate for.

At that point I ended the interview and gave him my boss' number. She got the job.
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Jul 13, 2009
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devmaster8 wrote: Sorry, but why is it rude? What are you losing by someone saying that right away? This is a strictly business relationship right? You are only doing this to make money for yourself. You aren't going to talk to that candidate ever again most likely. You aren't ever going to meet them in person most likely. Anyway, I am speaking from experience where I find recruiters play little games with salary range which is really annoying. Just tell me the facts right away, and we can decide whether its worth it to continue or not.
Rude as in right after I say "Hi I"m.." and interrupted immediately. I don't cold call, I invite people for a conversation by email with a scheduled call but yet i still get rude responses over the phone.

I'm not an agency recruiter and I meet 95% of all people (before covid).

I've hired people after they have politely declined if salary range did not meet up, but eventually I have something else that did or they were willling to have a little further discussion to explore, hiring managers decide to upgrade role realising what they really need is this person, bump up salary to meet and magic happens.
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Jul 13, 2009
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SomeOtherDude wrote: people could be patient for just 20sec and wait for a pause before interrupting (this applies on both sides of the conversation)

being rude by interrupting others will burn bridges and translate into less opportunities for everyone
Especially in tech, tech professionals especially senior ones know tech recruiters tend to move around a lot, as most tech recruiters help companies scale up

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