I’ve heard that I should avoid answering the salary expectation question during an interview, but why would I want to waste time with a job that won’t pay me an acceptable salary?
Answering the salary expectation question has risk, and not answering the salary question also has risk. It really comes down to a personal choice and how tolerant (or not tolerant) you are to those particular risk factors.
If you answer the question, then you have limit/elimination risk to consider. If you go too low, then you are placing a limit on negotiating a higher salary. If you go too high, then you risk being eliminated from the process.
If you don’t answer the question (see how do that here), then you risk wasting your time interviewing on an opportunity that was never going to pay you a decent salary.
If you are less tolerant of the limit/elimination risk, then don’t answer the question. Instead, wait until the employer learns more about your capability. We have seen candidates negotiate a higher role in order to justify a higher compensation, based on skill and background. By not answering the question, you are giving an employer an opportunity to learn more about you.
If you are less tolerant of wasting time (perhaps your schedule doesn’t allow for a long interview process), then answer the question and put a stake in the ground to ensure it is worth your time. But understand, you may be forgoing an opportunity to position yourself for a stronger role by getting eliminated too early in the process.
SoFi's Career Services Team