I do a lot of hiring at my current position and nothing wastes more time than going through multiple interviews and then finding out 1 party was way off on the salary figure. This is something that should and needs to be discussed up front. There are several avenues to do this:
- On your employment profile (i.e. Dice, Monster, etc.) - specify your salary range.
- If contacted by or using a recuiter this is absolutely an easy conversation. Just state: "As you may have seen my salary range was between "$xx,000 and $yy,000. Is the position offered in this range?"
- Initial phone screening: typically this is done by a higher level HR representative feeling out if it is even worth passing you on to the next level. They will be at least partially involved with salary, so the same question from above could be presented to them.
If in some case your 1st interview was directly with the department applied for, then I recommend at some point during the 1st interview eluding to when is the appropriate time to discuss the "compensation package" being offered.
In any regard, don't waste your time or the potential employer's time if the salary value is important to you. If it is not written in the description, then use a method above to find out early about it to see if the job is worth pursuing.