How do you politely ask what a job pays?
If the employer does not offer the information, wait until your second interview. Asking about pay right away shows you are more interested in the salary than the job itself. If you pass that first stage, there will be plenty of time to talk about salary.
The interviewer knows you want to, need to, know the salary level of the job. During the interview everything you do and say is part of the evaluation, he wants to know if you will take any initiative. So ask. At some point he will say something like "Well, do you have any questions?" Jump in with as statement like "I've noted that you have not mentioned the pay levels associated with this position. What is the entry level salary for the position and what considerations are applied to applicants who exceed your base requirements?"
This is where you have had to do your homework. Most industry participates in salary comparison surveys, or the gov't has this data available. You'd better know from these sources what's good, mediocre and poor. When he tells you, you should pipe up with something like "That's higher/lower/average for this position according to data from (Name source). Do you participate in that survey." The discussion can then go on to his discussion of why they follow the average or are better or worse.
Personally I don't agree with any of the answers already given. I think that you owe it to yourself to ask what kind of compensation package should you expect if you were hired for the job. This shows that you have the ability to speak up, not only for yourself, but the interviewer could say to themselves, hmm this person doesn't mind speaking up, he/she will do good in our company. It's the people of this world who speak their minds and ask tons of questions that get ahead. Humble people tend to stay in the same position they were hired to do 20 years ago and when it comes to raises, because they are humble they rarely ask for a raise on their own.
I have a friend who recently was hired to manage a team of cleaners. He's the shy type but because of his experience in this particular field they made him the manager. Until he got his first pay he didn't even know what he was making an hour. Had he off asked what they were paying and told them that he wanted say $.50 cents more an hour he would have gotten it. NEVER be afraid to ask how much you will be paid, or how many sick days are included, or what vacation times are available to you. Ask how long do you have to wait for raises, and promotions, as you don't want to be stuck doing the same job over and over for years. Isn't getting the best you can, the best thing for you? I never take a job without asking about wages and when they pay is it each week or two weeks. I've seen jobs advertised at one price, and because I am bold I asked more, and most times I got more. It's up to you as a person, but never settle for what a company offers, as they have a thing called lee way. That means that they can give more than they offer if you ask, there is nothing cast in stone and it all depends on what you are bringing to them as an employee.
The resume and job consulting company Resume Edge recommends that you only discuss salary after a job offer is on the table. Don't mention pay at all until they've made you an offer.
I would wait until the interviewer asked if I had any questions for him/her. Then I would probably say something like, I don't recall you mentioning a salary range, could you tell me what that might be? This would probably be my last question to the interviewer.
"Can you tell me something about the overall compensation package for this position?"
Do not directly mention the word "salary", "wage", "pay", or "money".If the salary is fixed, no matter who they hire, then you can ask during the first interview, it can be your first question. In fact there is no reason why the salary could not have been mentioned in the ad.
But if the salary will vary depending on your experience, then the hiring managers have to figure out what they want to offer based on your interview, so you will have to wait for their offer.
For such positions there will be a time when someone will try and ask for your "salary expectations". Although the possible answers to this question is for another topic (and I have my opinions), your answer could be followed up by your question to them as to what salary range is budgeted for this position.
Ask for a job description. There should be an approximate salary/wage description.