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Salary can sometimes be the elephant in the room.

I always wonder why.

Certainly, I recall being new to HR and not quite knowing if I should ask about the salary or not – or when. Now I’ve been around for a while, and am simply more confident in my abilities and what I am worth in the market, I’m much more upfront about it.

With this level of confidence, I still never ask how much the job pays during the interview.

Should You Ask About Salary In The First Interview?



Because you should already know the salary before you go for the interview.

Here's When And How To Ask (Or Not) About Salary In Your Interview

While I’m an experienced Remuneration Specialist, and this certainly does help when reading the job description, I know because I’ve asked well ahead of the interview. Unless I know what the job pays I don’t even start writing an application.

And in the case where a recruiter or organisation doesn’t want to tell me, then I move on. While different organisations pay differently in the same market for the same job, the level of remuneration tells me a lot about my chances of being offered the job.

If the salary is low, then the employer will see me as overqualified, and frankly, the role probably doesn’t have the level of accountability or challenge that I’m looking for.

While if the role is paying $50,000 or more than I’m being paid, then it’s too much of a jump and I’m not quite ready for that role yet.

Salary should be one of your qualifiers in helping you decide whether or not you will invest the time to apply. Certainly, some people simply fire out application after application, I’m more inclined to spend a good three to four hours researching the organisation and writing my application than sending 50 applications out a week.

Aside from being quite picky as to who I work for, and what I do, I also don’t want to send out mass applications and make a poor impression. Because maybe sometime down the track, that organisation or recruiter will have a role that a really want, and I don’t want them ignoring my application because the last one they saw from me was full of spelling errors and simply a copy and paste application.

I found it challenging to ask about salary when I first started out, indeed there were interviews I went to that I didn’t know what the job paid – and the first time I knew was at the offer stage. Frankly, there is nothing wrong with asking what the job pays, and a number of very good reasons why you should know.

Ask upfront, and then make a decision from a place of being informed.

By Brendan Lys

Operating at the intersection of Human Resources and Data Science, I leverage extensive specialist experience within Human Resources, with the methodologies and approaches of Data Science. This focus on the discovery of actionable insights from data, has been applied to areas such as: remuneration & benefits, workforce planning, recruitment, health & safety, diversity, and training. But what does the application of data science to HR challenges and opportunities actually look like. Within an HR framework the data we work with typically comes directly from our HRMIS, an advantage of using data science methodologies is that we can bring in additional data either held within the organization or from external sources - data which is out of reach from a pure HR analytics approach. Consider for example position descriptions, these contain a wealth of data that we typically ignore as its not in a analysis ready format. A side project I'm working on currently (April 2019) is using text mining on job descriptions to provide insights into which job family the position may fit into. The insights of my work have been enjoyed by organizations across a diversity of sectors including: Government (Australia and New Zealand), ASX and NZX listed companies, utilities, not for profit and higher education.