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Job Recruiter Wants Proof Of Salary After Applicant Lied About Their Current Earnings In Order To Negotiate For More

Photo: TikTok
HR expert explains why not to lie about your current salary to job recruiters

It’s not uncommon for job applicants to inflate their current salary in hopes that their next employer will pay them a little more. However, lying about your current salary isn’t always good idea, and there are other smarter ways to negotiate for more money.

One applicant found himself in a difficult situation after he told a job recruiter his current salary was 10% more than it really was.

He claims the employer asked for documents that proved he was telling the truth about his income.

The man questioned the legalities of asking for proof of income and his inquiry was taken up by a TikToker who gives HR advice and answers career questions for others who may be in the same position.

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In his post, he explained that he interviewed for a job at a company and went for the salary range at the top of the bracket. He claims that he told the employer he was earning more than the bracket in his current role, so he’d need a raise to move.

“They were surprised as I don’t have the most experience but the hiring manager said she really liked me,” he writes. “She said she’d fight to get the extra budget to offer me what I wanted, but I should send her a copy of my old contract or a paystub so she could justify to her CFO why I should be hired on more money.”

The man says there was a 'big back and forth' after he refused to send proof to the recruiter. 

He goes on to say “There was a big back and forth with me refusing,” explaining that he was nowhere near where he said he was in regards to pay and therefore was unable to provide the documents.

In the end, the employer told him that without something concrete she would be unable to negotiate with the CFO since the salary he was asking for would be way higher than the average in his position.

“Is this legal?” he asks. “Extorting me for what are essentially private legal documents?”

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According to an HR expert, you should never say what your current salary is in a job interview.

“In an interview, I’d never say what my current salary is, instead only say what I’m willing to accept as a new salary,” HR expert Ken explains. Instead, he says to ask about what the pay range is for the job, by asking “How much do you have set aside in the budget for this role?”

Companies shouldn’t be paying you based on what you were previously making, they should be paying you for the job, your previous experience, and the skills you have learned from that experience. 

That being said, by saying your income is higher than it really is, you open the door for companies to ask for proof. “The company saying they can match that with proof is fair,” Ken says. He explains that the applicant is lucky the company is agreeing to still give him their original offer without proof, instead of assuming he’s lying and taking back their offer altogether. 

An increasing number of states have passed laws known as "salary history bans" which would prohibit this line of questioning. According to NOLO, more than a dozen states have passed this type of law, including California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Washington. These laws are designed to narrow pay gaps that exist between different genders and races. 

While some commenters who saw his TikTok say they would just photoshop their paystub, starting a new job based on a lie will come back to bite you. By posing questions to the job recruiter in the right way, you can negotiate higher pay without having to lie about your salary.

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Maddie Haley is a writer for YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers pop culture, celebrity news, and entertainment.