Why You Should Ask About Salary Before The Interview?
Taylor Byrnes made headlines this recently when she revealed her job interview was canceled after she asked how much the position paid. SkipTheDishes, a Canadian food delivery company, said her questions weren’t in line with their company culture. They only hire people who are intrinsically motivated.
Joshua Simair, one of the company’s co-founders, has since come forward to apologize for the incident. He offered to reschedule Byrnes’ interview and he said the employees involved would receive additional training.
This incident brings up a fair question—when should you ask about salary?
Talk About Money Up Front
I’m a firm believer you should ask about salary up front. In fact, I’ve almost always asked about the salary and benefits package before the first interview.
I don’t want to waste a company’s time with the interview process if their salary isn’t in the ballpark of what I’m looking for. More importantly, I don’t want to waste my time either.
The interview process takes more than just the hour you’re answering questions in the office. You often have to spend a fair amount of time researching an organization before you walk in the door.
And many companies are making the interview process longer than ever. Second interviews may involve flying across the country to meet in-person or they may ask you to produce free work as part of the hiring process.
If you go through the entire interview process only to learn you won’t be able to afford to eat, you’ve sufficiently wasted hours of your life you’ll never get back. You can always earn more money. But you can’t earn more time.
The Two Exceptions To The Rule
If you want to sharpen your interview skills, going through an interview is the best way to improve. So if you’re looking for experience, don’t ask about money. Instead, use it as an opportunity to practice.
There’s also no need to ask about salary up front if the position is your dream job. If you plan to take the job no matter what, wait until they bring up salary.
How To Ask Politely
If you are only willing to take the job if it meets specific salary requirements, ask for the salary information up front.
The way you ask about the salary can make a big difference to the way the company perceives your question, however. Sending an email that asks, “How much will I get paid?” isn’t a good way to break the ice.
If a company contacts you to set up an interview, be direct. Say, “I want to be respectful of your time. There’s a specific salary range I’m looking for. Can we talk about that up front?” You might find that the person arranging for the interview is authorized to share a general salary range.
If they ask what you’re looking for in salary, be honest. Tell them what you’d need to make the move.
What To Do If They Won’t Talk Money Up Front
Of course, asking about salary from the start is a risk. They might cancel the interview just like they did in Byrnes’ case.
If a company isn’t willing to talk about salary and benefits early on, think hard about whether you want to work for them. If they don’t respect your time now, why would they care once you’re hired?
Asking about money early on doesn’t mean you aren’t intrinsically motivated. It just means you know your worth and you respect your time. And if a company doesn’t share your opinion, that’s OK. But you might decide they aren’t the right fit for you.