Some experts say never to lie

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2008-03-25 Print this article Print

"Everyone says never to be the first to name a number in any negotiation, salary or otherwise, but few people tell you how to handle this stickiest of sticky wickets," writes Burns, while suggesting responses ranging from "I believe my current salary isn't related to my future salary" to "My current employer prohibits disclosure of salary information."

Reasons to Tell the Truth

Jamie Parker, president of Adecco, a recruiting firm, reminds job seekers to include all of their extras in their salary, so the interviewer gets an honest picture.

"Be sure to include the value of any bonuses or incentives you've received on top of your salary and if it's sizable, share information around the amount, frequency and percentage of your recent salary increases. Also, if you've got a raise coming up, tell the interviewer, as this will alert them that you will be expecting them to surpass your next bump in compensation. "

Lee Salz, president of Sales Dodo, a consulting firm, warns that job seekers who lie about their current salary are usually found out, and don't get the job.

"Most companies perform background checks as part of their due diligence when hiring. When they call your employer, salary information is shared. Many candidates have had their offers rescinded due to embellishing their income," said Salz.

Chuck Pappalardo, principal and managing director at Trilogy Search, an executive recruiting firm, says that fudging or even fidgeting over your current salary level does more than damage your job prospects, it damages your integrity.

"If someone asks you what your current salary is, it's a direct question and there no way to answer it but with a direct response. If you're stumbling around-'It's not what I make, it's what I do,' for example-you're not painting a good picture for yourself," said Pappalardo.

Questions like this are often not just to gauge budget, but the character of the interviewee.

"We try to screen character. They will pay you at the top of the range if you're a great employee with great references. It's hard to find great employees. I cannot overstate the importance of not lying to a potential employer," said Pappalardo.

It's Not the End of the Conversation

Maroney also reminds job seekers that a number too high might not hurt their chances, anyhow-so long as they can convince the hiring manager that they're worth it.

"Stay focused on the value you bring to the job vis a vis the market value of the job. Irrespective of the money budgeted for the position, hiring managers are highly motivated to make the money side of the situation work when the candidate is outstanding," said Maroney.



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