I recently had a telephone screen for a job I was an almost perfect match for. Almost. As I was about to be scheduled for an on-site interview, I let the interviewer know the one requirement I didn’t meet was the salary range. She thanked me for being up front, and said the salary was the salary, and we went our separate ways.
So when is the right time to talk about money? As a general rule of thumb, as early as possible.
Some job requisitions don’t list a specific range, relying on the DOE (Depends On Experience) label to gather a broad range of candidates. Often, the company will have a top figure in mind, but may be willing to go higher IF a fantastic candidate comes along. Usually, these companies will ask about salary during the phone screen. If they don’t, it’s a good idea to find out the range as soon as possible.
Many job postings will have a specific salary range. Applying for these positions when you know they’re under your requirement is a tricky business. On the one hand, you don’t want to seem like an idiot who can’t understand a job description. On the other hand, once they see you, the Haagen-Daz principle may kick in, and they’ll be willing to go a little higher for a quality candidate who "fits. In that situation, once they love you during the phone screen, make the confession and see where it goes. You’ve really got nothing to lose.
One caveat here: Don’t apply for a 50K job if you need 80K. If you’re within 5K-10K, and job seems to be tailored specifically for you, I say go for it.
The key is to waste as little valuable time as possible on either end. Hiring someone is hard work, and the hiring manager has their normal work week stuff backing up during the interview. Be respectful of that. And, it’s no cake walk for you either. Getting a job is hard work, and time spent pursuing a dead-end proposition is time you didn’t get to spend looking for something more fruitful.
The next time you see that perfect job that is just out of reach, give it a shot. Let us know how it works out for you in the comments below.
– Chad Broadus