dumb interviewing convention #45: you will sin against God if you ask what a job pays by Alison Green on January 16, 2013 Here’s something I have a problem with: the idea that it’s somehow wrong for a candidate to ask about salary in a first interview. This BS idea is all over the place: Asking about salary and benefits in the first interview “always turns me off. I’m always disappointed when they ask this, especially in the first interview.” — Norma Beasant, founder of Talento Human Resources Consulting and an HR consultant at the University of Minnesota If you ask about salary in the first interview, “it makes you look as though you’re applying for the job because of the money. That [can] seem too mercenary.” — Ray Brizendine, the director of a national executive recruiting firm “Never ask about salary and benefits. Don’t ask any questions related to your needs.” — Louise Garver, executive coach You, job seekers, are apparently all seeking jobs out of the kindness of your hearts, out of a desire to be industrious and assist companies in their pursuits. You are certainly not interested in what kind of compensation you will receive for your work. This is ridiculous. I absolutely agree that you don’t want initial conversations with an employer to be all about what they can do for you, putting all your focus on benefit details and so forth. You want the focus to be on what you will do together — the work you’ll be achieving. But to pretend that salary is some kind of minor side issue, something that is only appropriate to discuss at the end, only once you’ve determined everything else is right — come on. Salary is one of the few factors that can trump everything else and make the rest of the discussion irrelevant — it doesn’t matter how interesting the work and how right your fit for it if the job pays 30% under market. It’s entirely reasonable to discuss it early on. Penalizing job seekers for inquiring about something so central to why they’d take the job in the first place betrays a serious lack of common sense, as well as something disgustingly arrogant — as if job seekers should simply be grateful to have been granted an audience with an employer and shouldn’t jeopardize that by anything so vulgar as acknowledging that they’ll be working for money. You may also like:can I ask about salary before flying out of state for a job interview?how should I ask candidates their salary expectations?when can I ask about salary if the job posting doesn’t list it?