It’s interesting that the world has gone a little bit vocal on this, as to be honest in most interview situations you do not ask about wages at the first stage. This can often demonstrate that the money is being seen as the most important thing which is not what an employer wants to see. The other thing this can demonstrate is that the candidate didn’t do enough research before the interview, as you don’t go for an interview unless you know some of the basics. I am surprised that the company has retracted their email and offered the second interview, when it is quite standard practice to be concerned if someone does ask about salary in the first meeting.
I don’t think we need to get on our high horse as if the company is expecting you to work for free, just because asking them that question at first interview gives the wrong impression. I think it is reasonable to want other things to be more important to an individual for certain companies.
However, there are some companies who will love the fact that a candidate asks about wages at the first interview as they will want the candidate to only drive money, so it is about the candidate understanding and investigating which company will want them to ask this question or not.
We operate a similar policy, the basic salary of the role is always within certain parameters before someone comes for a job, but if money is brought up at the first interview by the candidate then we have alarm bells. Will we have them back for second interview as a result of this? The honest answer is I don’t know, it will depend upon the other factors in the interview. However, if the other factors stack up to supporting this question being asked, then we may well not call the candidate back for the next stage in the process.
Candidates I would ask you to do your research and investigate what kind of company you are going to see so as you don’t end up asking the wrong questions and ruling yourself out of an opportunity.