You’ve been job hunting for a while, and you finally hear back about a job you really want. The recruiter reaches out and asks if you’re free to chat for a few minutes so they can ask you a few questions. “Sure!”
Everything seems pretty straightforward—you talk about your background, how you found this job listing, stuff like that. Then the recruiter asks you a question that stops you in your tracks:
Your salary expectations are one of the few things you know that the company doesn’t. That makes them extremely valuable and sharing them can make your salary negotiations very difficult and even cost you a lot of money.
This is a detailed article, so you can use this table of contents to jump ahead if you already know what you’re looking for!
This will usually come up in the “pre-interview” or “pre-screen”, which is right at the beginning of the interview process. That’s why it’s such a sneaky question! It’s a salary negotiation tactic disguised as a gatekeeper-type interview question.