It is important at the interview stage of the recruitment process to be somewhat flexible in respect to your desired salary. One doesn’t want to appear greedy or overly focused on remuneration. On the other hand, you shouldn’t go into an interview with absolutely no idea what the salary range is for the position and/or what you expect as a starting salary.
The company already has a salary range in mind, so your reply should be focused on demonstrating your value to the company. The employer is making an investment in you, so they will expect a reasonable return on their investment. You should already have done your research so that you are aware of the standard industry salary for the position. Provide additional background information to prove your value if you feel you belong in the higher end of that range. Take the opportunity to explain how well your skills and experience match the company’s requirements and focus on specific areas where you exceed their requirements. If you have had additional training or professional certifications above and beyond the minimum requirements of the job, highlight them. If you have additional skills or experience that would allow you to be a resource to other areas of the company, mention them. There is no reason you shouldn’t ask for what you feel you deserve, but you should be prepared to justify your expectations.
It’s possible you are less concerned about salary than you are about benefits and perquisites. There is nothing wrong with negotiating a total compensation package that places more emphasis on benefits or vacation days than on salary. Most employers expect the hiring process to be a bit of a negotiation, and many employers may be more flexible in benefits rather than base salary.
A confident, well-researched approach may give you the edge over another candidate who hasn’t done their homework or hasn’t fully proven their worth.