Unconventional salary advice

OK, I think we need to revise the old tried-and-true salary advice. The advice that says you (“the candidate”) should never bring up the salary conversation. That you should always wait for the interviewer to bring it up. And, you should wait until you’re well into the interview process to discuss.

Here’s why I think this advice isn’t always the best approach: I recently had a friend who went through a lengthy interview process. The company didn’t ask for a salary history, nor did she fill out an application where she would have been required to list her past salary. She was excited about the position, and the company seemed to very, very impressed with her skills and experience. So, after three interviews, the hiring manager finally asked her about her salary requirements. She told him $80,000, based on her experience and the qualifications/ requirements of the job. She knows the industry and what comparable positions pay.

Here’s the kicker: It was a $40,000 a year job in the eyes of the company. Holy crow! Someone should have talked about salary a wee bit earlier in the process. I certainly don’t blame my friend – she followed, to a “t”, all of the conventional wisdom out there. Actually, it’s no one’s fault – both sides have valid positions. But in the future, I’ll advise any clients who find themselves in a similar position to professionally and candidly discuss salary a little earlier in the process.