4 Ways to Get Your Interviewer To Share Their Salary Expectations First

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
April 19, 2024 at 6:2PM UTC

“Every time I ask for a job's salary range, the recruiter puts it back on me,” a Fairygodboss community member wrote on the community feed. “This seems unfair. I want to make sure that we are not wasting each other's time by setting up a call if expectations are not aligned. But I don't want to say a range and run the risk of low-balling myself either. How do you usually handle this situation?”

This is a common problem among job seekers. Fortunately, our community was, as usual, full of ideas. 

1. Ask outright.

You can always start by just asking.

That’s what Maria Paula Calvo does. “I am going exactly through the same feeling,” she wrote. “I have decided to: 1) insist on learning the details about the role and the related challenges before answering with hard numbers, 2) ask the recruiter for their advice on this matter, 3) specifically ask for the company´s range, in this order.”

“Force the issue,” Christine Ibanez agreed, especially when you’re dealing with an external recruiter. “It's their JOB, and they are paid a commission as a % of YOUR salary. Trust me, they know the range of high/low figures on-base/ bonus/ etc. Don't let them play you.”

“Flip the script on the recruiter,” Patrice Smith added. “Point out you have no interest in wasting anyone's time if not in your acceptable range.”

2. Be up to date on local laws.

One poster pointed out that many states and cities now have salary transparency laws or are passing legislation to that effect. New York City, for example, will be requiring employers to post salaries on job listings this year, while states like California, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, and Rhode Island have passed similar laws.

Find out if you live in an area with one of these laws. In that case, your employer should be posting a range (true, some try to skirt the rules by posting an extremely wide range), and you can certainly ask if they’re not and reference the law.

3. Say, “I will consider your best offer.”

“My recruiter once told me if asked that question in the interview, to say 'Compensation is important and I will consider your best offer,’” Rosa Goes wrote. “You could also change the first part of that answer to 'I'm excited about the position...' or 'I believe I'm a good fit...' or something along those lines.”

This may help prevent you from being lowballed. But it’s also important to remember that while some recruiters will be candid with you, others will not.

4. Know your worth.

Ultimately, it’s on you to figure out your value as an employer — or, as Sarah Borders said, “Know your worth.”

Resources like Glassdoor and Payscale.com, she noted, can help you figure out what others with similar skills and experience are earning based on factors like location.

“I would set my acceptable range at [determined worth in terms of annual pay] + $5k,” Borders wrote. “Then, I would research the pay for the type of position for which you are interviewing to make sure it aligns with your range. If you can find information on the exact position at this particular company, all the better.”

While a lack of salary transparency isn’t uncommon, fortunately, there are ways to find out what you can expect — but you’ll have to do your due diligence and make sure you receive the pay you deserve.


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for getting the hiring manager to share their salary range first? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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