A reader writes:
I was contacted out of the blue about a job via LinkedIn message with a job excerpt, a link to the full description, and list of benefits. I responded with:
I would like to know more. Is this a senior role? What is the salary range for this position?
She in turn replied with:
Thank you so much for getting back to me. I would love to speak with you further about this role. This role is a Lead role where ideally within the next 6-12 months you would be managing one direct report.
The range will vary based on experience and there is some flexibility. What is the range that you are looking for?
I feel like saying, “I’ve lost interest, because you didn’t answer my salary question.” She has seen my LinkedIn profile, which is a mirror copy of my resume, so she knows my experience or enough of it to give me an answer about salary range. Honestly, I don’t think I will even reply to her at all now. I am a passive candidate, and not really looking. So for me to get this run-around off the bat makes me even less interested. They’ve essentially turned me off from any further communication.
Am I overreacting or should I feel annoyed? If hiring managers want to tap into the passive candidate market, why do they insist on treating us the same as candidates who applied directly, with vague responses?
No, it’s legitimately annoying to have a direct question ignored, and it shows a lack of awareness about how to recruit employed candidates. And you’re right that it’s especially annoying because you didn’t seek them out; they came to you.
To be fair, candidates sometimes play games like this too: An employer asks what salary they’re looking for, and they turn the question around and ask what the planned range is. But that’s different — the candidate has proactively responded to an ad for a position. In this case, you weren’t seeking out the job; they approached you. It’s reasonable to ask about salary and expect to have the question answered before you invest any further time in a position that you haven’t even said you’re interested in yet.
In any case, I’d respond with, “Since I’m not actively looking for a new position, I haven’t given sufficient thought yet to the range for my next job. But if you can tell me the range for this position, I can tell you if it makes sense for us to talk.”