The One Question I Always Get: What is the Salary for this Position?

jenny-caccimelioThe question of annual salary is certainly on the minds of job candidates - and it's on the minds of employers, too. But most candidates for professional positions know that asking, "What is the salary for this position?" in an initial interview can leave a negative impression with the hiring manager. So when is the right time to inquire and to whom should you direct the question? From the candidates' perspective, the issue of salary is complicated and it's helpful to know the information up front before either party invests much time. On one hand, if the salary for the position is well below his or her current earnings or expectations, candidates may not want to proceed or may be concerned this might take them out of contention. On the other hand, stating a current salary that is lower than the new position pays could result in an eventual job offer below potential. Either way, a good rule of thumb is to let the employer or recruiter initiate the discussion and open the door to the topic. Hiring managers will want to focus on candidates' qualifications and applicable experience during the interview. They also want to make sure candidates' salary expectations are in the right ballpark, so they may ask the direct question if it hasn't been addressed earlier in the process. When asked, respond and be cautious about artificially inflating a salary. Candidates will likely be asked to provide this information again on a job application, and many potential employers will verify its accuracy. Misstating past employment information may adversely affect a hiring decision, regardless of qualifications. If an executive recruiter or internal company recruiter is involved, they will most definitely ask candidates for current salary and salary history. Candidates should feel comfortable discussing salary with these professionals as it is a critical piece of data when evaluating candidates for the current position and may also be helpful for potential future openings. Although salary discussions can be challenging to navigate, patience and honesty will go a long way toward establishing a good relationship with the hiring manager and securing a strong offer.