It's a loaded question from your interviewer - one intended to ensure either that you're in the same ballpark or, in the worst case, to enable the employer to determine the lowests possible salary they can offer you. But your previous salary should not be a relevant factor for a new position - the position;s scope, market demand and your qualifications are the factors that should be considered when determining your future salary.
So what do you say when asked the inevitable salary question? Here are some suggested responses.
"I assume you want to make sure we’re in the same ballpark. Based on my research, I believe that you pay near the industry standard and my requirements fall within that range."
"My salary history and expectations are in line with my professional achievements and experience and the requirements of the position under consideration."
"My compensation requirements are open and negotiable depending upon the requirements of the position."
"I’d prefer to defer the discussion about salary until after we’ve defined the position and my qualifications."
"I’d like to focus first on the match between your needs and my qualifications."
"Salary is only one factor in the whole equation, and my salary requirements are flexible."
"I’d be willing to discuss salary when we get further into the process."
"I would prefer to discuss compensation in the context of the opportunity presented and my potential to contribute."
"I’m sure your range is more fixed than mine. What is the range you’re considering for this position?"
"From my research, the industry is paying between $X and $Y for a similar position. Is that what you had in mind?"
If you absolutely must reveal your salary, give them your total compensation amount, and mention that there are a number of factors that are important in addition to salary.