Asking This in an Interview Could Cost You the Job

Want to ask about compensation in the interview? Research shows it could cost you

Sep 02, 2020
Management and Organization

SMITH BRAIN TRUST  Hiring managers would understandably be unimpressed if you told them you were only in it for the money.

As Fast Company points out in a recent article highlighting research from Maryland Smith’s Rellie Derfler-Rozin, a lot of hiring managers try to hire the job candidates who share Mark Twain’s philosophy on work. That is: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Of course, the money is important, too. It’s just not a topic that will help your chances of landing the job. In fact, bringing it up to the hiring manager could hurt your chances of getting an offer, Derfler-Rozin finds.

Hiring managers have a significant bias against candidates who ask about pay and perks during interviews, she says, citing her recent research. Managers rate candidates higher when they focus on the job, compared to applicants who also inquire about benefits.

And that’s short-sighted, Derfler-Rozin explains to Fast Company.

“People are complex and can have many motivations when applying for a job, including money and flexibility,” she said.

The findings have broad implications for managers, who may be missing out on the best candidates. They may also be missing an opportunity to hire a diverse workforce, as they bypass candidates from lower economic backgrounds, who are more likely to need money, and women, who are more likely to be concerned with flexible schedules and family-related benefits. Read more at Fast Company: Asking this question during an interview can wreck your shot at getting the job.



About the Expert(s)

Rellie Derfler-Rozin

Rellie Derfler-Rozin is an associate professor of management & organization at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. She received her PhD in organizational behavior from London Business School. She studies decision making in the social context. In her research, she looks at how people may deviate from decisions/behaviors that are rational from a pure profit maximization (traditional economics) perspective to satisfy needs that relate to their social world (e.g. the need to belong to a group, the need to have status in the group). Within this broad umbrella she is studying managerial decision making (e.g. looking at how managers may be averse to use their discretion in allocation decisions to satisfy belongingness needs to their group of employees), trust and ethics (e.g. looking at how group members who are at risk of social exclusions may show higher trusting behaviors and unethical behaviors that serve the group in an effort to promote re-inclusion in the group). More theme-related topics of interest to her are emotions, ethics, status and hiring decision biases.

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Robert H. Smith School of Business
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