A startup interviewer demanded me to give a salary range or else I wouldn’t be considered. I explained that I’m just opening myself up to being lowballed and that no good business person would answer. 10 mins later they told me their salary range…


  • I know it’s a favorite of the HN 20-something crowd, but the whole hide-your-salary-and-hope-someone-slips-up thing gets really silly later on in your career, when both you and the interviewer know your (approximate) value and experience.

    In the real world, that detail will be taken care of long before you step into an office to meet. No one likes to waste half-days.

    • OP here, I wasn’t trying to hide anything. The fact is by demanding that I tell them my salary range, I am losing any leverage I have. If I say too high of a number, they don’t consider me. If I say too low of a number, they gladly let me move further in the process. There was no reason they couldn’t tell me their range FIRST and move on from there. Instead it was either allow us to lowball you in the future or you won’t be considered in the next round.

      I can’t think of a better way to chase away talent than that. Who do you end up with? People who aren’t savvy enough to understand business101 or are too meek to stand up for themselves? That doesn’t sound like an A+ team to me.

      • Except what you don’t understand is that there is no leverage to lose. You know what you’re worth and you’re willing to accept. They know what range they can pay. If they can’t meet your range, you’re wasting your time. There has never been a “Surprise, we can give you another $25K” moment. Ever.

        You’ll figure this out as you get older.

      • The salary range is really only important to you, most hiring managers don’t care. When hiring, I look at it as little more than another point on the job description. I have certainly never hired someone because they were cheaper and could almost do as good of a job as a better candidate.

      • The reason they won’t tell you first is the same reason you won’t tell them first. Leverage.

        Salary negotiations are just that – negotiations. Which means both sides have to give on some things.

        • OP here, except it wasn’t a negotiation. It was – we demand that you give us your salary range or the hiring manager will not consider you. If someone says to you “We need you to give us a number or you won’t make it to the next round”, does that sound like negotiating? It took 10 minutes of arguing on my behalf that the policy was FUBAR and it required me to consent to being lowballed. Once I give them a number, it’s never going up. I’m stuck with that number. If it’s too high for their range, I’m disqualified. If it’s too low for their range, do you think they’re going to pay me the difference? Again, if this is a startups policy – do you really think they’re getting top talent, if they’re trying to do this to their own future employees?

  • @OP: Good for you. Never understood why recruiters like playing games. You have a determined hiring $ range, why not state it and let candidates self select immediately as whether they’re interested?

    To comment above, if the interviewer knows your approximate market value, then all the more reason not to play games and state what they would offer you.

    Overall, it doesn’t matter what I’m making now in job X. What matters is what range I would consider for job Y as advertised by company. So when asked, I’d say: I expect a salary of at least market rates for job Y. but I haven’t looked that up yet as my preliminary concern is in the job interest/fit with my goals, however I’d like to know their hiring range (since that’s already established).

  • I fail to understand either party here. What good is it for an interviewer to hide their salary range, and what good is it for an interviewee to sit through an interview without knowing what the salary will be?

    Despite what the “Do what you love/Love what you do” crowd will tell you about how “disruptive” you’re being, salary is the reason you go to work–it should be one of the first available pieces of information in your decision, not the last.

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