This article originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on September 21, 2020
I have been applying for so many jobs since I was laid off in March but the ones I’m getting interviews for are paying very low wages. I can’t afford to work for minimum wage and I feel like it’s wasting everyone’s time to only learn about this after going through the interview process. Will it hurt my chances at being considered for a job if I ask about pay ranges in an email before I apply? If not, what’s the most polite way for me to ask about this?
THE SECOND ANSWER
Julie Labrie, President, BlueSky Personnel Solutions, Toronto
I would suggest that you present your expected salary range instead of inquiring about a company’s pay ranges. It’s okay to tell prospective employers up front that you are looking for a particular salary range. Employers will appreciate that you don’t want to waste their time. In fact, good recruiters always ask for salary expectations while pre-screening, to ensure there are no surprises later.
It won’t hurt your chances of being considered for a job if you ask about pay ranges in advance. However, don’t count on receiving immediate responses back before you apply. HR and hiring managers are often inundated with applications. They simply don’t have the bandwidth to always reply individually.
When you voluntarily communicate your desired pay range up front (even if you’re not asked to do so), that helps employers recognize immediately whether you’d be a good fit.
Consider one watch-out: Employers will consider a seasoned jobseeker’s expectations (e.g. a bump up in salary for a Bilingual/French candidate, or a request for an extra week’s vacation), given that this person brings a certain level of expertise to the position. However, for entry-level jobs that do not require previous experience, employers are less flexible in meeting candidates’ salary expectations.
So, do your research first to know what the marketplace pays for the type of job you are seeking. That way, you won’t price yourself out of consideration.
(To read the first answer in this article, please visit: Globe and Mail.)