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Revealing your salary to a prospective employer

#1 Revealing your salary to a prospective employer
29/07/2011 15:33


When a prospective employer asks for your current salary, do they have any way of knowing whether you're telling the truth or not, either before employing you or once they take you on?

I'm sure many people are in a situation (especially junior consultants) where they work you're doing and level you work at does not reflect you current salary. In this case, you may want to qoute the 'market rate' for the job you're actually doing, because if you're honest you might end up getting a really unflattering salary offer..

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#2 RE: Revealing your salary to a prospective employer
29/07/2011 16:25

revealer to enigma (#1)

I was faced with a similar dilemma recently. Prospective employers or recruiters will typically ask for your current salary, which you are not obliged to tell them prior to any salary negotiations.

By revealing your salary you may be going into any future salary negotiations at a disadvantage. They should be hiring you at a level fit for the role, not how much they can get away with. However I know this can be difficult to do, as you may come across as difficult or hiding something.

As such, a few of us might be tempted to take some creative license and bump up our salaries to 'market level'. However I would not recommend this.

1. BEFORE STARTING WORK: At some point they may ask for copies of your pay slips from which they can deduce your actual salary. (once again you're not obliged to provide them this). If this doesn't align with the salary you've verbally told them, then theres a lot of uncomfortable explaining to do.

2. ONCE YOU'VE STARTED WORK: If you work in the UK, you need to hand in your P45 'Details of Employee Leaving Work' (I think the equivalent in the US is the Pink Slip). You'll have difficulty NOT handing this in once you start. These forms typically outline all the pay and tax details for the past financil year which can deduce your actual pay. Once again you'll don't want to be starting off your career at your new employer with black mark.

So basically you can either:

1. Not reveal your salary (your not obliged to)

2. If you do, then tell them the truth. The risk of being caught out is more pain than it's worth.

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#3 RE: Revealing your salary to a prospective employer
29/07/2011 16:37

rocky101 to revealer (#2)

I thought they could ask your current company for a reference which includes your position, salary and number of sick days.

Also worth pointing out - most people doing the recruitment are smart cookies and can have a fair idea of your salary from the place you've worked at and the length of time you've been working.

My opinion on this one is to be totally honest, but justify why you think you should earn more in your next position.

Hope that helps.


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#4 RE: Revealing your salary to a prospective employer
29/07/2011 23:33

revealer to rocky101 (#3)

Totally agree with the honesty thing.

From what I understand from HR, companies will confirm whether someone works for them and possibly their position, but salary is considered confidential. This might be different from company to company, but in general companies don't want to be divulging their employees details to competitors.

It also depends whether the salary you've quoted is with your current or previous employer. Most recruitment processes are done in strict confidence if you're still working. The worst thing your recruiter or prospective employer can do is to blow the lid and announce to your employer that they're looking to poach you, or that you're looking to leave. So typically they'll respect that confidence.

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#5 RE: Revealing your salary to a prospective employer
01/08/2011 10:22

Tony Restell ( to enigma (#1)

OK first things first - in such discussions whoever reveals a number first usually comes out worse in the negotiation, as the conversation is then anchored around that number.

However the recruiter / employer has a strong reason for wanting to gauge your salary early on. They don't want to invest in putting you through the interview process (and getting egg on their faces / tarnishing their career) if the end outcome is that you were never a prospective hire because of a mismatch in salary expectations.

In most larger consulting organisations there will have been some formal approval process for a hire having beeen sanctioned. This is likely to tie the recruiter's hands as to the specific grade level that is being hired - and within a larger organisation that in turn means a specific salary range (constraint) that can be offered for that position.

In a small consulting firm it may be possible to accommodate a star candidate by bringing them in at a grade higher than was intended, or on a package that is outside the "norms" for that grade. But at larger firms recruiters are likely to have less flexibility - and hence the need to establish the salary fit earlier on.

I'd certainly concur with the other posters that lying about your salary isn't a good course of action. But equally there's no reason you have to respond to such questions with your actual salary. My response would be along the lines of "From my research I understand that the grade I'm being considered for pays between £65,000 and £80,000. Assuming any offer comes in at the upper end of this scale then I would not foresee salary being an issue. What are the key things you'll be looking for in a candidate being hired at this level?"

They may probe further as to your actual salary, but just do as politicans do and deflect the conversation back onto what you want to talk about - your salary expectations.

Hope this helps.

Tony Restell

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#6 RE: Revealing your salary to a prospective employer
02/08/2011 22:00

allenadv to enigma (#1)

This is happening these days commonly. If you trust that employer you can reveal but from business point of view. Its not good to reveal that.

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