Last week I met with a marketing executive who just finished interviewing for a “leadership role.” He was upset and frustrated that the two-month long interview process of more than ten interviews was derailed at the finish line. Prior to the final interview, described as the “stamp of approval,” his internal recruiter asked him about his expectations for the position compensation package.

Turns out the base salary for this individual was $225,000, and the absolute top end for the base salary of the positon compensation package he was interviewing for was $175,000.

Now I’ve been doing this long enough to know you have to evaluate an opportunity from 360 degrees and account for every aspect of the compensation package. But in every career decision a candidate will ask themselves three questions:

  1. What does this do for my career?
  2. What does this do for my family and work-life balance?
  3. How does this impact my income?

Each question has many layers. It can take a lot of conversation with a company to understand the first two, but the position compensation is very simple in comparison. If you know the base salary, it’ll save you a ton of time.

It makes me cringe that something so very simple can waste so much time and that it happens as often as it does.

The story I shared in the first paragraph is a scenario I hear all too often. Do yourself a favor: if a recruiter or a hiring manager doesn’t ask your expectations for a position’s compensation in the first conversation, then you should bring it up. It’s not rude.

Think of any major decision in your life that includes finances. Don’t you know before you get the “stamp of approval” what the financial requirements are?

You don’t go looking to buy a house and show up at the closing and ask “so, what’s the list price on this property?” You don’t shop for a Bentley when you know you have a Honda budget. Heck, I don’t even pump gas unless I know what they are going to charge me.

Why in the world wouldn’t you gather the same financial information before spending time on something as important as your career?