What To Do When You've Been Screened Out For Talking Salary Too Early

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 11, 2012

This week, Jack tackles a tough question many jobseekers encounter when going through the interview process. Namely, what should you do if you offer up your salary requirements too early in the process and end up on the outside looking in? Find out how to deal with this sticky situation in this week's mailbag question!

In my talks with HR, they indicated that I was the leading candidate for the job. They asked me my salary requirements and I gave them a mid-range number for the job. I also told them it was negotiable and that I was eager to discuss what the job entails. I could feel the "chill" in the room from that point on. I got an e-mail saying they were considering other candidates. What can I do now, if anything?

Your situation illustrates the danger of not following Salary Making Rule #1: DO NOT discuss salary before a job offer has been made. To your credit, you gave them a number that should not have screened you out---but it did!

At this point it appears that your best strategy is to get in to talk with the screener and clear up salary expectations. You'll need a lot of persistence because to them, your file is "closed." Opening and readdressing the salary issue will require determination.

First verify that salary was actually the culprit. If it is possible without sounding arrogant or belligerent, try to get the point across that it is not fair to screen you out when everything else looks good and you told them salary was negotiable. When you have had that discussion and the salary question is cleared up, then ask for the interview. Assure them the money you talked about is adequate "assuming everything else is as advertised."

All the best,
Jack Chapman

Career coach and author Jack Chapman, who wrote "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute," is teaming up with Salary.com to offer a weekly Q & A on all things related to salary negotiation.

Using real questions sent in by actual Salary.com readers, Jack will help you navigate the choppy waters of interviewing for a job, negotiating a salary and asking for a raise or promotion. Remember all those times you desperately wished you had someone to help you answer all the tough questions that invariably surface around negotiations? Now Jack has your back and he's providing easy to implement, real-life solutions to your salary negotiation dilemmas.

Check back every Tuesday for the FREE advice that could prevent you from losing thousands of dollars in unnegotiated pay, get you the job you want and steer you clear of potential pitfalls during the interview process.

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Jack Chapman is a Career and Salary Coach, and author of "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute." For more negotiating advice go to www.salarynegotiations.com or e-mail jack@salarynegotiations.com