- Even if a salary amount or range isn’t listed in the job posting, there are ways to find out what you would make in the position.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to recruiters, contacts at the company, or even former employees in order to find out a job’s salary.
- Utilize online tools like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Payscale to ensure that the job you want to apply to is offering a salary range you would feel comfortable accepting or negotiating.
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Searching for a new job can be an exhausting and anxiety-inducing process. This anxiety multiplies when the subject of compensation is kept under lock and key. Job seekers can attest that not every job posting will have a salary range designated. Potential applicants may wonder, “why even apply for the job if I don’t know if the compensation is right for me?”
Business Insider asked a few career experts to weigh in on how to find out a job’s salary before you even apply. Keep reading to learn their insider tips – and get an exact template for what to email a hiring manager the next time you’re unsure about a salary range.
Feel free to ask about the salary range, but remain professional in your conversations with the company or hiring manager
Asking about a position’s salary range can be tricky – especially when you haven’t yet been invited in for an interview. However, there are ways to find out this information while still remaining professional in the eyes of the company or recruiter. As a professional recruiter and president of Karpiak Consulting, a niche recruiting firm specializing in public accounting, Adam Karpiak is a verified expert in the hiring process. He gave BI a few quick tips on how to find out a job’s salary before you even apply and increase your chances of getting hired while you do it.
“Asking the company/contact the salary range is usually 99% professional. Just avoid short curt responses, Karpiak said. “For example, if a company sends you a nice email acknowledging you and asking you to interview, don’t simply reply back, ‘What does it pay?’ I have found that most companies appreciate the salary discussion because no one likes wasting their own time.”
What to say to a recruiter or hiring manager to find out the salary range
Karpiak also gave the perfect response to an inquiry about coming in for an interview when the salary hasn’t been stated.
“Candidates can simply say ‘Thanks so much for reaching out! I’d be happy to meet and discuss this role with you. My availability is X. And just to be on the same page, I am currently entertaining opportunities in the X-Y salary range (I wouldn’t want to waste your time if you have budgeted a lower number).’ Most companies are receptive to that approach,” Karpiak explained.
If you want to find out the salary range prior to being invited in for an interview, or before you apply, you can use the same rhetoric to reach out to the hiring manager. Simply explain that you are interested in the position and would love to hear more about the salary range of the position in order to make sure you are both on the same page.
Career expert Austin Belcak also revealed how to answer a recruiter asking for your desired salary. “If the recruiters ask what salary you’re looking for, push back and ask if they’re able to share the range they have budgeted for the role,” Belcak said. “Companies always have an idea of what they’re willing to pay for each position and being upfront ensures that you’re both on the same page moving forward.”
If you don’t want to ask directly about the salary for a given position, include a note in your cover letter stating your desired salary range
Your cover letter can provide the perfect opportunity to explain exactly what you’re looking for in your job search – including compensation. “Cover letters are great when there are actual topics to discuss (i.e. relocation, reentering the workforce, changes in industry/translatable skills, etc),” says Karpiak. “A cover letter can express [your] interest in the role and also let them know what salary range you are looking for.”
Use online salary tools to find out the range and what former employees made in the same position
When all else fails, online resources such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Payscale have become go-to resources for job seekers. Informed by former or current employees, these resources are a mostly-reliable way to find out what a job’s compensation might be. However, Karpiak explains that these online tools are not always accurate.
“I find salary data on websites to often be inaccurate and varying wildly. As a recruiter, my opinion is probably biased, but I feel that talking to recruiters is a great way to find out salary ranges. Let’s say for some reason you are uncomfortable asking an actual company/contact what the salary range is (fear, intimidation, whatever) – a recruiter should have a general idea of what the range is based on their experience in the market. It might not be 100% accurate, but it’ll be close.”
Sarah Johnston, an executive resume-writer, and career coach, explained that a new feature on LinkedIn can help you find a job’s salary range, without having to apply first.
“LinkedIn has a new(er) salary insights feature that shows estimated or expected salary based on data from their 530+ million members and employer-provided information,” she told Business Insider. “I’ve found that this feature is a great starting place.”
Recruiters can also easily be found on LinkedIn and could provide great insight into what a position’s compensation is at similar companies. Job seekers can also use LinkedIn to connect with current or former employees at the company they wish to apply to.
“There’s no reason that you can’t look up the job title on LinkedIn and see who currently or recently held the role in question. [You can then] do a bit of networking about the company, the salary range, etc.,” says Karpiak. “Think of it as due diligence.”