The way you manage the salary question–which is admittedly the start of the salary negotiation–is in the phone screen. You have a chance to build rapport and to see if this person is worth pursuing. You haven’t led this person on, thinking there’s a potential offer when you finally realize the candidate and salary don’t match. And you’re not asking the question out of the blue, when the candidate doesn’t know you, and has no rapport with you.
That’s why I like the hiring manager to conduct all the phone screens. If you have an HR phone screen or a technical person phone screen, don’t ask the salary question until the hiring manager talks to the candidate.
Treat your candidates with respect, and they are then advocates for you and your organization. Asking about salary early–but in the phone screen–is one excellent way to build respect.