At moment I am on job search and answerd to few job advertisements.

Today in late afternoon I received a call from a company and the HR lady wants to know my salary expectations. As I was at my workplace, hence I told her that "right now I am at my workplace so I will call her tomorrow".

As per this company's website they are one of good Company with offices at 4 locations.

Evening I did found a nice email from her stating "Thanks for you interest in our company. It will take time to screen all job applications. Once shortlisted they will get back to me."

As per my past experience, such HR comes back with standard -ve reply.

So, why they would like to know candidates salary expectations upfront before an Interview?

  • Hi Saar, welcome to The Workplace. You're asking a bunch of questions here, making it hard to give you clearly cut answers. Would you mind editing your question to focus on one thing or splitting it up? Check the help center, too. I want to point you to this question, though, which might already help you some: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/183/…
    – CMW
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 20:22
  • 1
    You don't have to give them your bottom line, but at the same token if they haven't told you their salary range then somebody has to make the first move to know if it is even worth each other's time or not. I would have first asked their salary range and if that was acceptable I would have told them that they are in the ballpark. If they won't tell you (I can't imagine they wouldn't), then I would give a number at the high end of my range and caveat that with, but I am flexible as good benefits could offset my expectations.
    – Dunk
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 20:24

4 Answers 4


It's not uncommon for employers to want to know what your salary expectations are before investing too much time on the interviewing process. It does no one any good if they have a budget of x for the position but you wouldn't consider anything less than 2*x. If salary discussions wait until everyone has invested multiple hours interviewing, that's potentially a significant waste of effort. It's perfectly reasonable to express your expectations in a range if you don't want to give a single value and to include caveats about the expected range of benefits.

If you don't want to give a number, you could turn the question around and ask what the salary range for the position is. That accomplishes the same goal of ensuring that you're not wasting each other's time but it gives you a bit more leverage in negotiations.

Any calls you have about job opportunities should be handled away from your desk and away from your current coworkers. There is no benefit to broadcasting to the world that you're looking for a new position.


If you received such a reply from the HR Department before you were interviewed or before you were able (or willing) to give them a hard number as to compensation, I would suggest moving this position to the back burner. It's likely that they called a number of people about this job and used their lack of willingness to discuss compensation before an interview as a criterion to exclude candidates.

This is a very poor practice as it presumes that the level of compensation they are offering is attractive and that what they are offering will net them an ideal candidate. This is a sign of a company whose sole focus is employee pay and not teambuilding or creating an atmosphere that engenders loyalty and long-term employment.

While I would certainly reply to the call or email (your choice as to which) I would take a form letter email like this one at face value and no expect that anything further interest in you will come from this company.


Talking from a UK perspective (which was in western Europe the last time I checked) it's quite normal for a role to either state a salary range (e.g. x-y or up to x), or for you to be asked when they are shortlisting.

This is a ball park number (at least x), and allows them to avoid interviewing someone who will expect an amount beyond budget.

It's not the final figure and I have gone back at negotiation time and asked for (and got) more.


If you are from outside Europe there may be a minimum salary requirement for a visa to work in Europe and they might have wanted to ensure your requirements are in compliance with immigration regulations.

  • Good to know but I am not sure this makes sense: HR people are in a better position to know or find out about relevant regulations than an out-of-country candidate and if they are interested enough, it's up to them to match the required minimum salary.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 8:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .