Before you walk in for your first interview, you should already know what the salary is for the position you’re applying to. Check out websites such as Glassdoor, Fishbowl, or Vault.com for salary information. You could also ask people in the field by reaching out to your community on LinkedIn.
Employers will always ask this question because every position is budgeted, and they want to ensure your expectations are consistent with that budget before moving forward.
Remember that it’s often better to discuss a salary range rather than a specific number during the interview and leaving room for negotiation. It’s also better to err on the side of caution and quote a slightly higher number as it’s easier to negotiate downward than upward. As a general rule of thumb, I advise not bringing up the questions about salary until your interviewer does or bringing it up too early in the process.
Example: “Based on my skills and experience and on the current industry rates, I’m looking at a salary around $____” (then fill in with your desired salary range and rationale).