Said no manager ever.
Money is the one thing every candidate at any job interview is advised never to mention. The salary on offer for the role is treated almost like a *dirty secret. Job advertisements only reveal a band or range, which makes sense to a certain extent, given that the candidate may be placed at any point within that band, depending on experience and qualifications. However, in places like Germany, jobs are advertised without a hint of what the monetary compensation will be. You could be applying to a role at anything from 50% less to 40% more than your current salary, you’d never know. Not even after the interviews, because, well, see *above. In short, you never know what you’re getting until HR get back to you with an actual offer.
What’s worse, your current salary plays a critical role in setting your future salary. Even after having cleared several hoops and umpteen rounds of interviews, discussions, and negotiations, having had your qualifications thoroughly scrutinised and references painstakingly checked, having been deemed to be the best person for the job, leaving behind all competition, you must
still reckon with The HR Policy, which insists on anchoring you to your past income and decrees a cap on your compensation. It’s not just a line in the sand; it is a veritable canyon that cannot be crossed.
Just imagine it. Some statement written in some document by some person somewhere has the power to determine your earning potential, your career path, your future life. You will never meet that person, you will never even set eyes on that document, but it will hold you down “in your place,” where you belong.
A job is a business transaction: the employee gives hours of their life and skills to further the business of the employer, while the employer compensates them for it with a salary. A job may be made pleasant if one enjoys one’s work; otherwise, it is nothing more than a way to earn money to live. It is the main Return on Investment for an employee. Then why are employees advised never to ask about salaries in job interviews? Why wouldn’t you want to know the most important thing that’s in it for you? Why is salary such a taboo topic? Who has decided that it is a subject that must never be raised lest the candidate be seen as some kind of money-grabbing mercenary lacking commitment?
Let us change the paradigm. Let us agree that asking about money in an interview is not wrong. It is not disrespectful. It is not greedy. It has nothing to do with commitment, engagement, or loyalty. It is simply a basic Right and one which companies must embrace as openly as they
do other things: things that fetch more PR brownie points, like Diversity, Equality, and Sustainability.
Make Money Normal Again.