I often get questions from colleagues and friends on various career dilemmas. Today was no different. I received a call from a friend who is in the initial interview stages. She made the contact with the company, was shown interest and was invited to fill out an application and schedule to take assessment testing in preparation for the all-anticipated interview.
"When can I ask about salary?" she asked me.
"What do you mean when", I was perplexed, "you mean, you haven't asked yet?"
"No, I didn't know when the right time to bring it up was or how."
This is a part of the process that seems to literally terrify people and I don't understand why. Inquiring about compensation is as basic as asking questions about job responsibilities and characteristics...it's all about making an informed decision, for all parties involved.
I advised her that she should definitely find the courage to ask about compensation. Just like she wouldn't want to jump through fire-brimmed hoops, just to get to the end to find out that the prize was not what she had imagined, the employer does not want to go through the process of putting you through your paces just to find out that you are way outside of their budget. Both parties need to know where they stand and how do you plan to find out unless you ask?
To be quite honest, I was surprised that they hadn't asked her was her comp. range was at this point. As a former recruiter, our job is to weed through candidates as much as possible to get to the most qualified candidates and you better believe that compensation is as much as qualifier as education and previous experience. Learning a candidate's salary expectations is one of the first things I ask...one of the first things that all recruiters should ask, but if they don't, do not be afraid to volunteer this information or even ask what their budget is for the position. Most employers would be happy to oblige.
But what if I price myself right out of the running? This is another question that I get asked a lot and one that I will cover more fully in a future blog, but for now, I will say this...How do you price yourself out of a job? If you have done your due diligence and understand not only your worth, but the bottom line figure to keep you economically afloat, then you can't price yourself out of a job because you leave little room for negotiation. You need what you need and they can afford what they can afford...quick and simple. Again, I will be sure to fashion a blog around this subject in the near future.
Remember folks, interviewing is a two way street and while the interviewer tends to hold the higher hand, the street runs both ways. The interview process is as much about you learning about them as it is about them learning about you. And while it may not be easy to ask about salary, there is no time like the present.