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I had an interview that went well, and I think I have a good chance at getting the second interview. Neither of us has mentioned the salary range for the position.

Another post has said "It's absolutely normal that salary is not discussed until an offer is made." But I'll be interviewing at a second company too (and I do know what the salary would be there), so it would be good to know the salary range at the first company sooner rather than later.

Should I:

  • Politely ask the HR person what the salary range is?

  • Wait until they offer me the second interview, then ask?

  • Wait until I'm at the second interview, then ask?

  • Wait for them to tell me, or ask me, whenever that happens?

EDIT: This isn't quite the same as this previously asked question. What I want to know is: should I wait for them to bring up the subject; and if I do ask about it myself, when should I ask?

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  • You can but they are unlikely to give you an answer other than a potential lowball. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 11 '16 at 18:40
  • @chad Not really the same question. He's not asking if it is a bad negotiating tactic to be the first to give a number, but rather whether it is bad etiquette to bring the subject up early. One could, presumably, ask about salary in the first 5 minutes of a first interview, but decline to give a number yourself. – Jay Feb 11 '16 at 20:30
  • @chad I'll let OP clarify if I'm missing the point, but there's a big difference between "should I be the first to bring up the subject of salary" and "should I be the first to propose a specific salary number". If he said, "What does this position pay?", he is bringing up the subject, but asking the other person to give a number. – Jay Feb 11 '16 at 20:56
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    Wekll it takes 5 votes so no need to discuss this unless it gets some more votes – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 11 '16 at 21:03
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You may certainly bring it up. I'm assuming that you have a cut-off range below which you would not be interested in the position.

I would wait until you're contacted to set up that second interview and then reply (by email in my example, but it would work over the phone as well):

Hello Bill,

I would love to come in for a second interview! Before we proceed, however, I was interested in finding out what your intended salary range for this position is.

I hope you'll forgive me if my inquiry seems forward, it's just that I'd hate to waste your time if our interests do not match. (some people might find this line to be a little aggressive, in which case feel free to tone it down)

My advice is to never, ever say what your cut-off is. Instead, let them tell you what their range is. It's an unspoken rule that whomever speaks their expectations first more less "loses" the negotiation.

Reply: Hello Shawn,

Glad you're willing to come in! How does next Tuesday at 3 work for you?

Regarding the salary range, what figure would you be interested in?

This is a common trick,as most candidates will low-ball their demand in order to not appear greedy, or lose out on the job altogether.

Your Reply: Hello again Bill,

I don't really feel comfortable stating a range, as I don't know what your company typically offers an employee with my qualifications. Would you be willing to contact your financial department and get back to me with this information?

And yes, generally speaking Tuesday at 3 would work well for me. I look forward to hearing from you regarding the financial info.

Depending on who you're dealing with you may need to keep going around in circles until you get an answer.

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In addition to the other answers, this can depend on skill set and experience as well. When I first started working, I would wait for them to broach the salary subject. Which was usually only after being accepted.

Later in my career I'd ask at the end of the first interview if I liked the company. Because there would be no second interview unless it was high enough.

At the end of my career before going self-employed I'd ask before bothering with the first interview since my skill set was extremely rare in the country/region and the interview would be a forgone conclusion in any case, just to satisfy regulations and protocols. The decision would be made beforehand informally.

So a lot depends on how much they want you when it comes to asking questions like that. Which is a judgement call on your part.

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