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Does it make sense to ask recruiters about compensation before speaking on the phone?

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Data Engineer at Financial Company2 months ago

I've noticed that when recruiters reach out on LinkedIn, their main objective is to get me on a phone call to discuss the role they're looking to fill.

From my point of view, there's always 3 things I want to know before speaking with them:

  1. The job description (usually provided)
  2. The remote work/in-office policy (usually provided)
  3. The compensation (usually not provided).

I just had a recruiter reach out looking to get me on a call, and in asking for the above 3, he provided the first 2 and not the comp. range. I messaged him back asking point-blank about comp.

My question is, should I be this direct? Or are there advantages to getting on the phone call with the recruiter first (advantages to me, that is, not to them).




  • 4
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    Software Engineer @ Tesla
    2 months ago

    Hey, I think it's completely reasonable to ask for salary range. That's such an important factor. Getting on a phone call might make it more beneficial for you because it's harder to dodge the question. Good recruiters will disclose the salary range early on so it doesn't waste anyone's time if it's not a good fit.

  • 4
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    Senior Software Engineer at Zapier
    2 months ago

    I think it's fair to be direct and ask for the comp range. IMO it is a time saver for both parties involved. At least few states in the US mandate the pay range to be disclosed. Hope it becomes the norm.

  • 3
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    It's reasonable to ask for a salary range if it's an unknown company.

    You don't need to ask if it's a company you "trust" (you know people there, they are FAANG, etc). You know you won't get cheated, and the comp will be reasonable, for some definition of reasonable.

    I'd also say that you should not be so dependent on the recruiter for info. Ideally you have people on the inside, or knowledgeable friends, who can share ranges with you.

  • 5
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    Unless you're mega desperate and are truly willing to take any job (i.e. something at minimum wage), you should 100% ask about the compensation upfront. The worst-case scenario is that you go through the entire interview process, get an offer, and it's too trash for you to take.

    That being said, you can be both direct and polite using standard communication techniques like tentative language and empathy (frame things as a benefit for them). So you can do something like:

    • Before: "What's the pay?"
    • After: "To be respectful of your time, I want my pursuit of this role to be a good fit for both of us. So can you tell me what the compensation range is?

    I cover communication more here: Effective Communication Guide [Part 1] - Core High-level Principles

  • 2
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    Data Engineer [OP]
    Financial Company
    2 months ago

    Thanks everyone! I appreciate all your answers :)