Interview etiquette for finding out the pay!!


So, I've been applying all over the country. Every place is different. Sometimes I'm speaking with HR. Sometimes with the Nurse Manager. I've even spoken with a CNO. I'm aware that you NEVER start an interview/conversation with $$$ talk. Besides, I really do have other questions about the place I am interviewing for. Sometimes, an HR person will just throw out the pay/diffs/OT, sometimes the nurse managers don't even know! So my question is this... When is it o.k. to ask, straight up, what the starting pay is? I've been told there is some flexibility in the starting wage for a new grad. True or untrue? What if there's two of us? (husband/wife). I just had my first negative (hesitant) response from an interviewer when I asked, but everyone else has seemed totally fine with it... What's your take AllNurses Nation???


72 Posts

Specializes in cardiac electrophysiology, critical care. Has 5 years experience.

I have heard advice that one should never ask about salary until a job offer has been made. I agree that it usually feels premature for the interviewee to bring up this issue at an interview.

I am a new grad and there wasn't any flexibility with my starting salary. I don't know of any classmates from my graduating class who were able to negotiate their pay, either. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is like that everywhere, though.

Good luck with your Job Search!

Has 10 years experience.

I wonder about this. I'm well aware that hospitals have a set hourly rate for new grads and I don't see the harm in asking what that rate is. I asked every hospital I applied to last year or that I encountered at a job fair and none of them seemed surprised by it. Granted, the figures varied by less than a buck, but I had a right to know. And actually, they seemed very enthusiastic to start an attempt to sell me on their clinical ladder policies, bonuses, and merit pay increases.

There's a nursing shortage, folks. Why not ask - what if your first choice pays their new grads five bucks an hour less than your second choice, and you find this out AFTER you're working? (Highly unlikely in most markets - my guess - but what if?)

"Could you tell me what your starting salary is for new grads?"

Doesn't seem like an unprofessional question to me.

And if you get some sort of flack - "I realize it's not negotiable for new grads, but I'd like to be able to make comparisons to guide me in my decisions."

Again, doesn't seem unprofessional to me. (Getting flack would only prove the interviewer was unprofessional.)


72 Posts

Specializes in cardiac electrophysiology, critical care. Has 5 years experience.


I hope my post wasn't unclear. Of course I am not saying that one should start a job without knowing what the pay is. Rather, I said that it can seem premature to ask about it an an initial interview. Of course it is something that should be discussed later during a follow-up discussion when/if a job offer is made.

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