This week, participants on Quora — a site where users can post questions about life’s most vexing dilemmas — tried to help someone who said, “I lied about my current salary during an interview by 7%. Now they want pay stubs. What do I do?” Answers included “lie again” (“Say you don’t have any pay stubs”), explain that benefits and other perks make up the 7% discrepancy, say the interviewee was misinformed by a mentor to fib as a negotiating tactic or just come clean and say he or she wanted to earn more money and exaggerating a previous salary seemed harmless.
Avoiding this stressful situation is unfortunately complicated, since asking about a prospective employee’s current salary puts him or her in a tough spot to start out a salary negotiation. But career experts never suggest lying. Luckily for prospective employees, there has been a recent movement that could eliminate this negotiation question altogether.
How to respond
If a prospective private sector employer who is allowed to ask does inquire about your current salary, whether you’re a man or a woman, what should you do? Practice answering the question, before the interview. Next: Ask why the employer needs to know that information and how they plan to use it, Raghu said. “That will put it on the employer to come up with a relevant reason,” she said.
Of course, that could backfire, if the employer says the information is necessary in order to move forward in the hiring process, she said. In that case, a job applicant could decline to answer the question, and ask instead what the employer is prepared to offer, said Vicki Salemi, a career expert for the job-finding company Monster.
Many times, recruiters are attempting to find out if a job applicant is too expensive for the employer. “You could say something like, ‘I’m focusing more on the salary for this job, versus my current salary, and I wanted to know, what does this job pay?’” she suggested. “You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.”
No matter what, it doesn’t pay off to lie about current salary, and that should never be an applicant’s strategy, experts said. Besides the ethical implications, for one thing, the lie could come out if your future employer does a background check with the human resources department, which the future employer may conduct after the applicant has accepted a position and resigned from a former company. If the old employer did give salary details (not that he or she should), that employee could be terminated from the new job, and as a result, end up jobless, Salemi said.
And keeping track of the lie could also prove difficult when applying to multiple jobs and speaking with multiple hiring managers, Bardaro added.
You don’t want to find yourself asking strangers how to cover up a lie on Quora.
Excerpts of article by Marketwatch.com