Allie Hofer
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Want to know what recruiters are really thinking? In our Ask a Recruiter series, we invite you to take an exclusive look inside the mind of a real recruiter — Allie Hofer — to see how she approaches the hiring process.

Twice a month, Allie will answer a question from one of our readers. If you have a question about finding the right job posting, emailing the right person, or landing yourself on a recruiter's desk, drop it in the comments.

Q: Can I Ask About Pay Before Applying to a Job?

Short answer: No. You need to wait until after you've been invited to the interview.

As Hiring Managers, we realize that some job titles are pretty clear at advertising a salary range, while others are more generic and can truly swing $40,000 in either direction. Actually, when I'm hiring for General Manager roles for a client of mine and I receive a resume of a candidate who I fear may be earning a salary much higher than what we are offering, I reach out to them to thank them for their application and kindly ask that they provide their salary requirements before we move forward in discussing their background and the role at large. 

But while it is perfectly acceptable for me to do this, I do not suggest asking about salary until you've been invited for an initial interview. I know applying for a job can take time, but it is incumbent on you to do the initial legwork to prove your interest before reaching out and asking about salary. 

Here's how I'd suggest writing to the hiring manager (after you've been invited to interview):

Hi [hiring manager name],

Thank you for reaching out regarding the [position name] position that is available at [company name]. I am very excited about the opportunity to speak with you and feel that my work experience will contribute greatly to the objectives set forth in the the job description. Before we schedule the interview, I am hoping you might be able to share the salary range with me to ensure it is aligned with my expectations. I'd love to move forward in the process for this position, but also want to make sure I respect your time!

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

[Your signature]

In general, asking about salary range before you even do the initial legwork to apply for the role will send the message that your number one priority is salary.

If instead you apply for the role and wait to be contacted for an interview before asking about salary, hiring managers will consider your inquiry both strategic and thoughtful.

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Hi, there! I’m Allie Hofer, an HR professional and work-life balance enthusiast. More officially, I’m a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society of Human Resource Management – Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). After having my first child, I opted out of the traditional office setting to work from home. Since then, I have been consulting with organizations in the public and private sectors to support the Human Resources function in recruiting, compensation, training and development, and performance management. I started Office Hours to offer a boutique HR solution for small and medium-sized businesses and to help candidates navigate and completely own their career paths

What’s your most burning job search question? Drop it in the comments below and our expert recruiter may answer it in a future post!