Is it OK to ask about salary information before a job interview?

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Career Advice Mailbox

Dear Donna,

I received an email asking me to come in for a job interview. I’d like to know what the salary is before I go in. Is it OK to ask? If so, should I call or email?

Dear Wants to Know About Salary,

For many reasons, a discussion or even a question about salary should be left until the time that a job offer is made.

For starters, if you ask about salary up front, an employer may get the impression that you are salary shopping. That does not make a good impression and may make the potential employer believe you are only looking for a paycheck and are not interested in being a fully engaged employee.

Another reason to hold off on the salary question/discussion is that until you’ve been on the interview and have a sense of what the job entails – such as the size of the department/company, the hours, responsibilities and so on — you can’t possibly gauge if the salary is appropriate.

Additionally, both salary and benefits comprise your total compensation package. So regardless of what the salary may be, the benefits can be the main selling point, including insurance coverage, amount of vacation and personal days, tuition reimbursement and so on. Many nurses look only at salary and never consider the big picture.

On top of that, an interview is always an opportunity. That means the chance to make an in-person connection with someone on the inside is very valuable, whether you want that particular job or not. Many nurses have gone on an interview for one position and they are offered an even better position with a higher salary. Go in with an open mind and present your best self. Until someone meets you face to face and has a chance to speak with you, they won’t know your true value.

And regardless of how the salary is stated or presented, unless you are applying for a clinical direct care role, there may be room for negotiating a better salary, benefits, and/or working conditions (working from home, flexible hours, etc.).

Read the article “How to negotiate the salary you want” for additional tips and advice.

Best wishes,


© Donna Cardillo ( All rights reserved.

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