I recently read an article of yours advising job-seekers to not discuss salaries
too early in the hiring process. I would like to say that although I agree with your
assertion it is not very relevant to the realities of today’s marketplace. I am
currently looking for work as a business analyst and the fact is that more often
than not employers want to discuss salary expectations in the first interview. In
fact it is usually the 2nd or 3rd question asked. I try to avoid answering these
questions directly but the bottom line is what is on their mind — employers want to
know what you are going to cost.
So I was wondering if you have any advice for job-seekers like me who
are having these experiences?
The Career Doctor responds:
Well I do absolutely hate this trend. However I also do understand it. These
employers mean business and want to deal only with serious candidates. If a
job-seeker replies with a salary expectation too far above or below the range
s/he can be quickly dismissed as someone who does not fit the criteria for the
So while I still think the question — or the more detailed negotiation — should be
later in the job-search process this trend really puts the burden on job-seekers to
be prepared for any and all questions in these initial screening interviews whether
they happen on a college campus or at a career fair.
There is no excuse for not being prepared. So do your homework and have a
salary range in mind that meets your needs and is in the typical range for the position
you are seeking. There’s no sense wasting your time or theirs if the numbers don’t
And you do need to have a number in mind — because I have seen some recruiters
just keep asking the question non-stop until the job-seeker finally gives some figure.
Once that’s been done though it’s time to move on to why you should be hired –
and save the final salary negotiation for later in the process once the employer is ready to make an offer.
For a comprehensive review of negotiating the best job offer take a trip through the
and Job Offer Tutorial on Quintessential Careers.