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Depending on Experience (DOE)

Definition: Depending on Experience (DOE) is a term often used in job postings and employment advertisements to indicate that the salary for the position will be determined based on the candidate’s experience level.

This phrase signifies that there isn’t a fixed salary for the role; instead, the pay will be commensurate with the experience, skills, and qualifications that the candidate brings to the position.

When a job listing states “salary: DOE,” it implies several things:

  • Variable Pay Scale: The employer has a range in mind for the salary but is flexible within that range, depending on how well the candidate’s background aligns with the job requirements.
  • Experience Valuation: It highlights that the employer values experience and is willing to adjust compensation based on the depth and relevance of a candidate’s professional history.
  • Negotiation Indicator: The use of DOE often suggests that there is room for negotiation in the salary, based on the candidate’s experience level.
  • Encouragement for Diverse Applicants: This term can encourage a broader range of applicants to apply, as it does not set a strict experience requirement but instead opens the door for candidates with varying levels of experience to present what they can offer.

For job seekers, seeing “DOE” in a job description means they should be prepared to discuss their previous experiences and achievements and how these make them suitable for the higher end of the potential salary range. They should also be ready to negotiate their salary based on their qualifications.

Advantages and disadvantages of using DOE in job descriptions

Advantages of Using DOE:

For Employers:

  • Flexibility in Salary Negotiations: It allows employers to offer salaries tailored to each candidate’s qualifications, skills, and experience.
  • Attracts Diverse Candidates: By not setting a fixed salary, employers might attract a wider range of applicants, from those with extensive experience to individuals with less experience but high potential.
  • Budget Management: Employers can manage their payroll budget more effectively by aligning salary offers with candidates’ experience levels.

For Job Seekers:

  • Negotiation Opportunity: Experienced candidates may see it as an opportunity to negotiate a higher salary based on their qualifications.
  • Openness to Diverse Experience Levels: It encourages candidates with varying levels of experience to apply, as the salary is not strictly defined.

Disadvantages of Using DOE:

For Employers:

  • Time-Consuming Process: The need to evaluate each candidate’s experience level can make the hiring process more time-consuming.
  • Risk of Inconsistent Salaries: There’s a potential risk of internal pay inconsistencies, which can lead to issues with fairness and employee morale.

For Job Seekers:

  • Uncertainty: Without a clear salary range, candidates may be uncertain whether the job meets their compensation needs, potentially deterring them from applying.
  • Potential for Low-Balling: Some candidates might suspect that employers will use this as a tactic to offer a lower salary than they might be willing to pay.
  • Challenging Negotiations: Not knowing the salary range can put candidates at a disadvantage during salary negotiations, especially if they are less experienced in such discussions.

What is the difference between DOE and DOQ

Both “DOE” (Depending on Experience) and “DOQ” (Depending on Qualifications) are terms commonly used in job postings to indicate that the salary for a position is flexible and will be based on certain criteria.

However, they focus on slightly different aspects of a candidate’s profile:

DOE – Depending on Experience:

  • Focus: This term emphasizes the candidate’s experience level. The salary offered will be based on the length and relevance of the candidate’s work history and the skills developed through their professional experiences.
  • Implication: Candidates with more extensive or specialized experience in the field can expect to be offered a higher salary. It indicates that the employer values practical, hands-on experience.

DOQ – Depending on Qualifications:

  • Focus: DOQ centers more on the candidate’s overall qualifications, including formal education, certifications, specific skills, and experience. It’s a broader term encompassing work experience, educational background, and professional achievements.
  • Implication: This suggests a more holistic approach to determining salary. A candidate with advanced degrees, specialized training, or certain certifications might be eligible for a higher pay scale, even if they don’t have extensive work experience.

In practice, the distinction between the two can sometimes blur, as “qualifications” often include elements of “experience.” However, a job posting with “DOQ” might be appealing to someone who has invested in advanced education or specific certifications relevant to the role, whereas “DOE” might attract those with substantial practical experience in the field. Employers choose between these terms based on what they value most for a particular position.

Importance of DOE

The importance of using “Depending on Experience” (DOE) in job descriptions and salary negotiations lies in its flexibility and the potential for a more tailored and equitable approach to compensation.

Here are several key reasons why DOE is important:

  1. Attracts a Wider Range of Candidates: By not specifying a fixed salary, DOE in job postings can attract candidates with diverse experience levels, from seasoned professionals to those earlier in their careers who may bring fresh perspectives.
  2. Fair Compensation Based on Experience: DOE allows employers to offer salaries that are commensurate with a candidate’s experience level. This can ensure that employees are paid fairly and competitively based on their background and skills.
  3. Encourages Diverse Applications: Candidates who might feel intimidated by stringent requirements or deterred by a specified salary range that doesn’t match their expectations might be more inclined to apply when a job listing states DOE.
  4. Flexibility in Budget Management: For employers, DOE provides flexibility in managing salary budgets. It allows them to align compensation with both the candidate’s experience and the organization’s budget constraints.
  5. Incentivizes Skill Development: For employees and job seekers, DOE highlights the value of accumulating experience and developing skills, as it suggests that these factors have a direct impact on earning potential.
  6. Negotiation Leverage: DOE can open up negotiations between the employer and the candidate, allowing both parties to discuss compensation more openly based on the candidate’s professional experience.
  7. Adaptability to Market Conditions: In fluctuating economic environments or industries where experience levels are highly variable, DOE provides a way to adjust salaries to current market conditions.
  8. Reduces Risk of Over or Underpaying: By basing salaries on experience, employers can reduce the risk of overpaying for a role that doesn’t require extensive experience or underpaying and thus failing to attract sufficiently experienced candidates.


How is salary determined in a DOE job listing?

In a DOE job listing, the employer decides the salary based on the level and relevance of the candidate’s work experience. Factors like years in the industry, specific skills, and past responsibilities can influence the offered salary.

Is it beneficial to apply for a job with a DOE salary listing?

Yes, it can be beneficial, especially if you have significant or specialized experience. DOE listings often indicate that the employer values experience and is willing to offer a competitive salary for the right candidate.

Can a recent graduate apply for a DOE position?

Absolutely. While DOE focuses on experience, employers may also consider the quality of education, internships, and relevant project work, especially for roles that don’t require extensive work history.

Should I negotiate my salary for a DOE position?

Yes, salary negotiation is often expected for DOE positions. Be prepared to discuss how your experience and skills justify your salary expectations.

How can I present my experience effectively for a DOE position?

Highlight specific accomplishments, skills, and relevant experiences in your resume and cover letter. Be ready to discuss these in detail during the interview, showing how they align with the job requirements.

Will employers offer a lower salary for DOE positions to save costs?

While some employers might offer a lower salary initially, candidates with strong experience can negotiate a higher salary. It’s important to know your worth and be prepared to advocate for yourself.

How does DOE impact long-term career prospects in a company?

A DOE position can be a stepping stone for career advancement, especially if you continuously enhance your skills and contribute significantly to the company.

Are benefits and bonuses also dependent on experience in DOE roles?

While DOE mostly influences primary salary, benefits and bonuses can also be tied to experience levels, though this varies by employer.

How should I research fair salary expectations for a DOE position?

Research industry salary standards for similar roles with comparable experience levels. Websites like Glassdoor, PayScale, or LinkedIn Salary can provide useful benchmarks.