I was approached to fill a position in an organisation, and during salary negotiations, I was told that they wouldn't budge on the salary because employees were expected to get a pay raise in April the following, and if you were to add up the bonus, the annual package would be sufficient.

Given this, I took up the job, but when I started, HR told me that I wouldn't actually be eligible for the salary raise NOR the bonus till April 2021. Which would meant that I took a severe pay cut taking up this job.

And the organisation + job isn't turning out like what was mentioned in the interviews/job description at all. People are stubborn and are not willing to change what I think are serious breaches in governance (e.g. finance and procurement lumped together).

It's only been 2 weeks, but I feel that because I was misled into the job, it would only be right for me to leave. To what extent should I tell my future job interviewers about my reason for leaving?

  • 10
    Possible duplicate of What do I say about my previous job, which was horrible, in a new job interview?
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 6:54
  • 151
    I hope you learned from this that "promises" of future compensation aren't guaranteed eventualities. If it's not in writing, then you probably aren't getting it.
    – Rich
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 13:15
  • 47
    " I was told that they wouldn't budge on the salary because employees were expected to get a pay raise in April the following" Next time, make sure that this in writing indicating that it applies to you before accepting any offer.
    – sf02
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 13:44
  • 16
    Two weeks + notice period - why mention it at all?
    – Mawg
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 14:16
  • 91
    Also, consider posting this anonymously to GlassDoor, etc, to warn others without putting yourself at risk
    – Mawg
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 14:18

3 Answers 3


It's only been 2 weeks...

I'd argue that you don't have to mention this job at all. When asked why you're job searching you can explain why you left your previous position.

If for any reason you can't omit a job from your work history no matter how short (locale, the type of job you're applying for, etc.), you can be honest without going into details:

I'm leaving my current job because the position changed significantly after I started.

This is true: you took the job because you were expecting a raise and now that raise isn't going to happen. But this wording allows you to avoid saying it was about compensation if that's what you're concerned about.

This is a common enough situation that I think some employers will leave it at that. However, it's been pointed out in the comments that others will worry that what you consider significant might be normal to them.

So if you're asked to elaborate, you'll need to say that the significant change was to your compensation. Borgh and Bilkokuya have already suggested alternate scripts in the comments.

  • 170
    "during negotiations I was promised several things which turned out to be impossible in practice" is both neutral and a more detailed answer to a interviewer pressing on. If they don't accept that you'd better be interviewing for a nuclear missile silo and might as well give the full answer.
    – Borgh
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 8:39
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    @BSMP For a security clearance application, you have to mention all jobs no matter how quickly you left them. Of course, the clearance application happens after you get your conditional offer, and it might be the case that something needs to be listed for the clearance but you don't need to bother for the actual job application.
    – cpast
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 11:02
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    There are times when I wouldn't want to mention compensation - to avoid suggesting it's the motivation for wanting a job. However, as a reason for leaving a job after 2 weeks I'd suggest "they significantly altered the agreed on compensation package, after I started", is both truthful and less damaging (it's very different to "they didn't pay me enough"). Saying the position changed would make me nervous that they weren't flexible enough to work outside a rigid job specification, or that they simple couldn't cope with the workload (and decided to sweeten up their description).
    – user81330
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 12:18
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    @cpast I've been in OP's situation before. No need to bring up the job in interviews or put it on the resume, but when filling out any clearance paperwork you'd disclose every position regardless of duration.
    – JRodge01
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 14:11
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    @Bilkokuya Absolutely. It's not that at all that they aren't paying enough; it's that they reneged on their part of the deal. At that point, you can't trust them, and most people don't like working for someone they can't trust. Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 17:21

I have been in a similar situation quite a few years ago. I lasted 4 months with company X before I reached tipping point and called short on my probation.

A few years later I was looking to switch jobs again (not out of choice this time) and the recruitment agent that was contracted by company Y insisted that my 4 month tenure with X looked bad on my CV and removed it without my knowledge. I got the job (still there today) so no harm, no foul.

My take is; employment is a two-way street. You get something out of it and the boss makes money out of your skills. You should be able to defend a situation like this in an interview with the simple words

"It didn't work out for me"

Elaborate on why if asked. But unless your CV is full of short tenures, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

If anything it shows your prospective employer that you want something out this employment. And that you're talking to them today in that interview means that you figured they have something to offer that sets them apart from other employers.


The other answers give good advice on how to present the 2 weeks at this company in future interviews. I won't repeat what they say.

Instead let's go to the general lesson from this: you weren't cheated, what actually happened was you failed to negotiate the deal you wanted.

Let's look at the known facts here

  • I was told that they wouldn't budge on the salary

  • I took a severe pay cut taking up this job

And now the hypotheticals & conditionals

  • employees were expected to get a pay raise in April

  • if you were to add up the bonus, the annual package would be sufficient

Notice how the second list is everything you want, and the first list is everything you don't. You were more naive than misled here. The deal was what it was. The things you think you were promised weren't really promises, because they weren't written into the contract with specific dates and amounts.

Next time, if you have minimum requirements to be happy with a salary package, be very clear what these are and that you need them written into the contract.

It's actually win win - if the company truly has the intention of fulfilling promises on future salary they'll of course do that. If they don't, they won't, and you can walk away. Nobody's time is wasted, like it was in this situation. Good luck in your next move!

  • 12
    Others have already commented “next time get it in writing.” You can argue that the employer’s deception may not be actionable in court, but user109895 certainly was misled, even if it was done with weasel words. And I’m not sure assuming a company has a culture of trust and cooperation rather than backbiting is “naive.”
    – VGR
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 12:06
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    The naivety I'm talking about isn't about trust, it's about leaving things you need from the agreement open to (mis)interpretation by you or the other party rather than agreeing them clearly and unambiguously up front. Perhaps the interviewer meant expected as 51% chance, and OP took it as 99%. We don't know, not even the OP knows. The contract is the mechanism for clarifying expectations in a business relationship - use it!
    – davnicwil
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 12:24
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    It’s however unlikely that you get a bonus guaranteed. However if it is company policy that you get no raise/bonus in the first two years that would really be malicious
    – eckes
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 21:31
  • Not getting the bonus guaranteed is fine, as long as you're happy with the base salary. The bonus should be, literally, a bonus
    – davnicwil
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 5:25
  • 1
    "expected to get a raise" is a long, long way from a guarantee.
    – deep64blue
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 9:51

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