Asking Salary In An Interview: How And When To Ask

If you are planning on asking about salary in your next job interview, then it is proper that you know that there is a right and wrong way to ask, and also that your timing matters.

If you ask incorrectly, it can derail your interview and cost you job opportunities.


So as a former recruiter, I’m going to share with you how and when to bring up the topic o asking salary In an interview to find out the pay range without losing any opportunities.

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Can You Ask About Salary In A Job Interview?

You can ask about salary in any job interview, but you should also show the recruiter that you are focused on other factors, such as whether the job is a good fit for you, and how you would contribute to the growth of the organization.

You can achieve this by asking great questions about the role, team, and company policy, and by showing enthusiasm when an aspect of the role or company sounds interesting.


Then when you get to a point when it is good to ask your salary expectation question, the recruiter will see that compensation is just one of many factors you are considering.

That’s how to ask about a company’s compensation package without ever costing yourself the job offer.

It is also important that you bear in mind that the fact that you can bring up salary in a job interview doesn’t mean that it is mandatory.

It’s perfectly acceptable to wait for the recruiter to bring up the topic of salary during later salary negotiations if you’re more comfortable doing so.


Since they will openly relate about everything concerning your compensation package.

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Asking Salary In An Interview/ How To Do It

When you ask about a company’s salary range, it is advisable that you use tactful phrases such as “expected compensation range” or “range you’ve budgeted for the position” rather than words like “pay” or “money.”

For better understanding, I will show you with examples

Examples Of How To Ask About Salary In An Interview

There are a couple of ways that you can ask about salary in an interview. 

One of the methods that I have seen a lot of success with is to offer a bit of information first, and then ask about the company’s salary range in return.

At this point I know that you must be contemplating on what kind of information you should offer? 

To answer that question, the information is to share your current or recent salary with the Recruiting manager.

This method is good and effective especially if in your previous job role, you were well-paid. So it won’t be pleasant if you are underpaid in this new job offer.

Let’s take a look at the examples below

Example 1

“The role sounds fantastic so far. I did want to make sure we’re on the same page in terms of compensation. 

In my current role, I’m earning a base salary of $X with a bonus of $Y. I’d be hoping for an increase if I make a move right now. 

Does that fit with the range you’ve budgeted for the position?”

Example 2

“In terms of compensation, my last role paid me $X with a bonus of $Y. I’d be hoping for an increase in my next position, as I continue to advance my career. 

Does this fit within the range you’ve budgeted for the position?”

From the examples stated above, it is best applied if you have been well-paid in the past.

By doing this, companies will be hesitant to offer you more than a 20% increase on your most recent salary. 

However, if you don’t want to share your current salary with recruiters.

Below is another way to ask about the salary in an interview:

At the end of your discussion with your recruiter, make them feel that you are excited about the job role but you would also like to properly understand what type of compensation package they are offering.

You can ask it like this:

Example 3

“The responsibilities and roles sound great so far. I think the work would align well with what I’ve been doing in my two most recent roles, especially the client management aspects. 

Can you tell me a bit about the compensation range for the position?”

This is a direct way to ask about your salary towards the end of an interview.

With this, you are also asking politely while explaining why you are so curious just to know if the pay fits your salary requirements.

I bet you know now which way to ask about your salary.

Another method of asking is by mentioning any market trends and salary research that you must have conducted.

Before your interview, it is advisable that you study the job description, find the exact job title since it will help you know which job role’s average salary expectation in the location that you are researching for online using the various legit salary sites.

So instead of sharing your past salary as in the examples above, you can simply share the market and salary trends which you have observed and then ask if the recruiter’s salary range matches those numbers.

Below is how it will sound:

Example 1:

“The role sounds great so far. I do want to just make sure we’re on the same page in terms of compensation, at least in broad terms. 

I compared the data from a few online salary calculators, and it seems that the average base compensation for this position here in Boston falls between $50,000 and $70,000. 

Does that fit the range you’ve budgeted for this role?”

What If The Recruiters Say “We Don’t Have a Salary Range for the Position?”

Have you ever come across such a reply from a recruiter during an interview and you might be wondering your next step to take?

To answer this,

In my experience as a recruiter, it is expected that a recruiter is fully aware that every job role will have an expected salary range.

So in a situation whereby a recruiter replies that they have absolutely no idea about expected compensation, then it depicts that they are trying to hoard some information for reasons best known to them or possibly that the hiring manager hasn’t informed them on what to expect.

Either way, you can decide whether to postpone the topics further or not.

But in a situation where the recruiter says that the pay depends on the candidate they hire, then they are telling you the truth. 

It also means that they have a broad salary range defined, and also the exact job offer which is dependent on the candidate they pick.

Most cases, recruiters can adjust the already budgeted salary if the candidate impresses them during the numerous rounds of the interview.

That’s why I will recommend that you don’t act too aggressively during the interview.

When To Ask About Salary In An Interview

If you are only getting a couple of interviews in your job search. 

Then I will recommend that you wait to ask about salary until the second stage interview because at that stage, It is slightly more customary and less risky.

The biggest risk you want to avoid is upsetting a recruiter by asking for compensation at a time they feel isn’t right.

So I will strongly advise that you take out time to attend some interviews and learn about what various companies can offer so that once you’ve gotten the interviewer’s interest in the second round, you can strongly ask about their Company’s compensation.

If you have six recruiters waiting to talk to you each week, it makes sense that you’d want to quickly determine the salary of each new job.

So candidates in this type of situation often state their salary expectations early on and ask clearly if a position’s compensation fits their needs.

They may sometimes even ask about the salary before an interview.


If you are in doubt, then trust your gut about when to bring up compensation in an interview but if it doesn’t feel right to ask about salary, then wait.

It’s all about evaluating what’s important to you, and also ensuring that you maintain great rapport with this potential employer.

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