When an employer asks about your salary expectations, it’s usually for three reasons:
They have a budget. The interviewer wants to make sure your compensation expectations align with the amount they’ve calculated for the job. If they find most candidates are asking for a great deal more than anticipated, it might mean requesting a larger budget for the position.
They want to gauge how well you know your worth. A good candidate knows how much their skillset is worth in the market and can share it with confidence. To determine appropriate market value, factor in your level, years of experience and career achievements.
They want to determine whether you’re at the appropriate professional level. An applicant who asks for a significantly higher amount than other candidates may be too senior for the role. Alternatively, answering with a salary expectation on the low end could indicate you’re at a lower experience level than the job requires.
Your answer to this question can be the beginning of the salary negotiation process. As a result, you want to make sure you’re providing a well-researched response.