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I went on an interview and told that my salary expectation is X+. They asked my current salary and I said Y (actually I have Z salary which is less than Y but I do feel I am underpaid in current company).

Then after few days, they offered me a salary equal to my current salary. Also, the offer mail didn't include any minimum commitment period. I replied to them that I cost more given my experience and want at least X(X>Y).

They called for an in-person technical interview in which I did well. This time they mentioned they also want at least 1 year of minimum-commitment , while there was no talk of commitment in their initial offer.They also asked me to present my current salary sheet as proof of my current wage (which obviously is lower than what I claimed) and that if I could establish my current salary to be Y, I could get the expected salary(X).

Now, obviously I cannot show them my salary sheet which is less than I claimed so how should I proceed? Should I reject the offer specifying some other reason (like the minimum-commitment clause) or ?

Additionally, as there is no "HR" in the company, the head of engineering department interviewed me. Did he cross any lines by asking for my salary sheet or he should otherwise be expected to handle it in a different way than he did?

Any suggestion how should I handle this situation?

I am thinking of the following options:

  • Refuse the offer on the pretext of the minimum-commitment issue that came up just now (after not being told about it, in either the first interview or the initial offer)
  • Tell them that I talked with current HR/reviewed my current contract and that I m not able to share the salary sheet due to confidentiality clause.

What do you think some other options could be?

Clearing air:

X -> my expected salary

Y -> I said I have this amount of current salary

Z -> My actual current salary

  • 4
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Lots of good "answers" in comments instead of the answer box.. – enderland Jul 12 '17 at 14:28
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    What country is this? It's important for knowing local customs and laws related to privacy. – Myles Jul 12 '17 at 14:29
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    Comments have been purged once again. There is a chatroom for this question if you want to discuss it. Before commenting, ask yourself if you would be using the comment feature for its intended purpose and keep our Be Nice policy in mind. Please don't comment to chastise, vent, share your own opinion, or to answer the question. – Lilienthal Jul 14 '17 at 8:35
  • Seriously you still want to work there once you learned that is how they treat people? Just get the hell out of there once they even show signs of such methods to lowball you. – mathreadler Aug 19 '17 at 10:12

19 Answers 19

230

I think it's very cheeky to ask for a pay stub. No idea if it's illegal but this doesn't really matter.

I would flatly refuse such a request. Just say "no I will not give you my pay sheet" and let them respond somehow. Don't get into a discussion about why you won't provide it, just say "no".

It's best to refrain from talking about your current salary, as it's not really pertinent and is usually used by the employer to feel out "how low you will go". Yes they often ask, but it's preferable to push back and restrict the salary negotiation to what you are asking for, and what they are offering for the new position.

In that way you will never encounter a situation like this again.

Likewise, with the offer overall, if you don't want to accept, just say no. You don't need to explain in great detail, just say you are not interested in accepting the job.

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    A clear cut reason as ""I'm sorry, my employer considers salary records to be private company information which I may not disclose" that @Richard U suggested is much more satisfying an answer and doesnt leave room for misinterpretation. – Leon Jul 12 '17 at 13:52
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    @Leon that is not a bad justification, if it's true. Piling another less than true statement on top of this is not going to help. It is common for creditors, potential landlords, etc. to ask for a pay stub, and it is absolutely customary to provide one, so I think this explanation is going to sound very fishy. – user73742 Jul 12 '17 at 14:03
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    @user73742 Salary records are always private and confidential. Saying that is never a lie. – Retired Codger Jul 12 '17 at 14:14
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    @RichardU They're private, but they're not confidential. At least not in every country and I doubt in yours as well. – Allan S. Hansen Jul 13 '17 at 5:54
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    @JohnHamilton Those polices are illegal in the US. Employers cannot prevent you from discussing your salary. Even if it is in a NDA that you signed. – Kevin Jul 13 '17 at 13:45
181
  1. Never lie. You don't have to volunteer the truth and you don't have to slant things in an unvarnished negative way. But lying outright will bite you in the ass more often than not, eventually. I hope you've learned that.
  2. 30+ years in the job market and I've never been asked to provide a pay stub. This is not only atypical, it's (almost) unheard of.
  3. There is no circumstance whereby I would provide a paystub to a prospective employer. None.

You do have few options (as has been pointed out). Let me tell you how I would handle it.

I would express surprise and disappointment. I would also, with an attitude of righteous indignation, express shock that they are basically calling me a liar. I would tell them, "I get that you want it, but if this is a requirement then I'm going to have to pass on the job because not only does it seem like we'd be starting out without trust but as a matter of principle, I don't share that information with anyone, nor would I do so after the job."

Let me reiterate that this is what I would tell anyone and I would never lie about my wage. It is calling you a liar and it does start the job on a foundation of mistrust.

If you want to hire me, there has to be some trust and if you want my pay stub then that trust is already gone, if not from them then most certainly from me.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Jul 13 '17 at 4:40
25

Now, obviously I cannot show them my salary sheet which is less than I claimed so how should I proceed?

Seems like your alternatives are:

  • Simply refuse to show your salary sheet and hope they will give you the job anyway
  • Run away from the job
  • Make up yet another lie about why you aren't permitted to show them your salary sheet, hope you don't get caught in your twin lies, and hope they will give you the job anyway
  • Admit your lie, show them the salary sheet and hope they will give you the job anyway
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    Not only that, he only considered admitting the lie once he got caught. No intelligent hiring manager would hire someone who admitted a lie after getting busted. Like I would tell my kids, "You're not sorry for what you did, you're sorry you got caught. If you really were sorry for what you did, I wouldn't have had to catch you." – Chris E Jul 12 '17 at 15:30
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    @JoeStrazzere Yes, being asked about current salary or salary history. Interviews naturally make interviewees nervous, especially discussing salary history because you know it's a game and nobody wants to feel cheated. It's similar to the process of buying a new car and trying to negotiate the price down. Again, I am not saying that it was right, or good that the O.P. lied, just that it shouldn't be judged on the same level as lying about things in order to get the job. The O.P. could have done better, but is at least seeking out advice, trying to get a better direction. – Solomon Rutzky Jul 12 '17 at 18:31
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    @SaggingRufus If they would lie about their salary to get a higher one, how can you believe them when they say they're the best in the field? – jpmc26 Jul 13 '17 at 0:09
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    @jpmc26 How can you believe anyone that says they are the best in the field? You probably will have to check this thoroughly anyway. I would never trust anyone who tells me such a thing, for many reasons. They do not even need to lie, most of those people just overestimate their competence or underestimate the competence of others. (After all, there is only one best person in a field, and all the others are not.) – Thern Jul 13 '17 at 8:24
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    @Nebr You're on to something, but really, you didn't quite go far enough. ;) There isn't a single "best" person in any field. Everyone is going to have a slightly different set of knowledge and abilities no matter how good you are, and the "best" depends very much on the specifics of that and the problem at hand. And I suspect that the truly top people in the field would recognize this fact and would know better than to even call themselves the best. (Maybe "one of the best.") My point was more, "They lied once. How can you take them at their word regarding an even more dubious claim?" – jpmc26 Jul 13 '17 at 8:39
9

It is not terribly uncommon to be asked about salary history as they are trying to gauge expectations. I think it is a completely immature, B.S., not-well-thought-out approach, but I get the sense that it had been so common for a while that people do it because they don't know any better and haven't thought too much about it. Or perhaps they read a blog that said all the cool kids are asking about salary history and that's good enough for them. However, I don't think I have ever heard of someone requesting a salary sheet. My experience has been that it was simply a blank to fill out in the job history section of the application.

As has been mentioned in at least one other answer, you probably should not have falsified information in the first place. But, that doesn't mean you need to cancel the process at this point. This is an opportunity to have a good discussion with the head of engineering to either improve the situation or to at least figure out that this isn't the right place for you.

I would certainly refuse to provide them any salary sheet or pay stub or any documentation as "proof". The fact is, they have work that needs to be done and it is worth a certain amount of money to the company to get that work done (within a small range, of course). Your ability to uphold your end of the agreement (i.e. I provide labor for some amount of compensation) is not dependent on how much money you made in the past. Either you can do the job or not.

So, you need to have a discussion with the head of engineering (not email; it needs to be real-time discussion, preferably in person, or at least over the phone) about this request. You need to explain that you are not going to provide the salary sheet because they should not have requested it in the first place **. You should ask him how that information is relevant to this process. And, if this person keeps pushing for it, then if you can do so in a non-combative way, ask them how, if the salary they are offering can change based on a factor that is not relevant to the job itself, then could the salary amount being offered also change based on your gender, age, race, etc? Those are also factors that are irrelevant to your ability to perform this job, and if they are going to be subjective on one level, can you trust that they aren't being subjective on those other levels? Skill and experience do affect how productive you might be, and so it makes sense to pay more for a more skilled and/or experienced candidate, but salary history does not directly correlate to either skill or experience, and so it should not be used to gauge such things.

So again, have a conversation to explain that you won't be providing it because you should be compensated for what you are going to do for them, not for what you did for previous employers. And if this head of engineering says that it is a hard requirement that you provide this proof, then you can politely cancel the interview process, explaining that such a requirement indicates to you that this is not a company that strives to treat its employees fairly, and that if this is how the interview process works, then you aren't convinced that, when it comes time for your annual review, that you will be evaluated based on what you actually did rather than some other arbitrary factor(s).

** Since you have already answered their question about prior salary, you might need to fess up about providing "inaccurate" information due to knowing how it would be used and not wanting being underpaid previously to cause you to be underpaid again. You can explain that part of why you are seeking a new position is due to being underpaid, and so you provided them with the amount that you should have been paid. And, if they are willing to pay X if you can prove that you are making Y, then they should be willing to pay X period, End.Of.Discussion.! Sure, you might be dealing with folks who have a narrow/immature world view who might themselves feel "cheated" to give someone a huge pay raise (in which case, do you really want to work for these people?). Or, conversely, you could be dealing with folks who have good heads on their shoulders and realize that paying people what they are worth helps when it comes to employee retention. Not to mention that in cases where paying someone what the job is worth results in a substantial raise due to the person being previously underpaid, that the person is highly likely to come in with a very positive attitude, get lots of work done, and appreciate the company enough to stay for a while. However, given that they are asking for a salary sheet, it is more likely the former. But hey, no harm in having that discussion ;-).


I have been in this situation myself. I had spent 7 or 8 years working at start-ups, each of which I was a co-founder of, hence I got paid the least as the employees all had to be offered market wages. Filling out a salary history would (quite unfairly) put me at a huge disadvantage. So, I just left those boxes on the application empty, and if the company felt strongly about it they could ask, else they could ignore it. One time I interviewed at a company where the HR staff was out of town due to a recent acquisition and so a VP of Engineering took on that part of the interview process. This person asked for my prior salary. I asked, "How is that relevant? Shouldn't you pay me what the job is worth?" To which this person replied, "It's relevant because if you made much more than the range for this position, then you wouldn't accept the pay cut. And if you made far less than the range of this position then { something_stupid_that_I_cannot_remember }." Their reasoning was highly flawed on both points. People often take salary reductions for various reasons, and it is up to the candidate, not the potential employer, to decide if a pay cut is acceptable or not.

  • 2
    I also want a Ferrari and a multi-million job, and I am quite sure I aint getting any. An interview is a business proposition to buy/sell your service at market rates, you should not volunteer your current salary. You are leaving your current job because you are not happy with it. To any manager that asks you salary, ask him if he is willing to volunteer it too. It does not make sense. – Rui F Ribeiro Jul 13 '17 at 1:47
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    "If you made far less than the range of this position then we'd be paying you more than we want to." – immibis Jul 13 '17 at 1:53
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    @RuiFRibeiro Yes, exactly! Salary history has nothing to do with what the candidate is bring to the table. And asking for it is essentially saying, "we are attempting to low-ball you, so please help us out with that." No dice! ;-) – Solomon Rutzky Jul 14 '17 at 16:34
  • @immibis Yes, that is essentially what this person was telling me, though they sugar coated it quite a bit. I wish I could remember the exact wording. They tried to make it sound like this is what people who know what they are doing do, but it was just one of several pompous things this person said. – Solomon Rutzky Jul 14 '17 at 16:42
9

if I could establish my current salary to be Y, I could get the expected salary(X).

This should be seen as a big red flag, and at this point I'd strongly suggest looking elsewhere. You don't need to justify your salary expectation based on anything other than your skills and experience.

The fact that they openly tell you that their offer depends on what you've made previously suggests either 1) they don't know your worth and are looking for outside confirmation or 2) they are not interested in paying your worth, only the minimum they can get away with.

In either case the working environment is not likely to be a good one, as you'll probably be repeatedly asked to justify your value to the company.

That said, I agree with others here who suggest that 1) you don't lie, and 2) you don't share your salary information in the first place.

If you don't have the courage to say, "I'm not going to share my salary history with you, however I'm looking for a position with a salary of X." then you can usually pacify such requests with the following statement:

My prior employer considers salary information confidential and I cannot share specific details.

As an employee you often will have to sign NDAs, and most employers do consider salary information confidential, actively restricting access to it, and in other ways protecting it from use outside the HR department.

7

You got yourself into a corner by making too much of your current salary. In the future you need to stick with what your expectations are, regardless of current salary.

Many hiring managers will want current salary though. I am sure there are some stackexchange questions about the reasoning behind this if you want more. Personally I do not like it and have been in the position where I felt I was under compensated. I have also been in the opposite. Being highly compensated can be a blocker since the companies open position may not have that kind of range.

It is a bit late at the present, but in the future, never exaggerate something that can be verified.

  • 1
    My answer to those that ask for the current salary is to give them the demographics bracket number (they're in 25k increments). It helps I don't actually know my salary but only about what it is (I haven't renegotiated in a long time and it tracks inflation by default). – Joshua Jul 13 '17 at 1:35
5

Or, you could try the ethical route. Be honest.

I made a mistake in telling you that my prior salary was Y. This is not information I should have provided during the job interview, and I decline to provide further documentation or discussion about that information. I am still very interested in proceeding with the position with an offer of X, which is required for this to proceed.

Under no circumstances provide any further information about this subject, or any false information.

4

Transactionally, they want your stub because they know you're lying, or think you're lying because that salary is above market. If you're dumb enough to lie, you're also dumb enough to be totally oblivious about market rates, and possibly your own body language/tells.

They are now challenging you to double-down. To see what you will do. They are probably just watching you squirm for fun, but have also left the door open to the possibility that your salary is that and maybe they misunderstand what market is. Your choices are:

  • prove it and make them go "huh!"
  • Disclose and put yourself at their mercy, see if they consider it a white lie.
  • Evade and hope they drop it, they probably won't.

I suppose you might thread the needle by saying "Y was the salary I remember being told at my last review. This is the first time I've really looked at my pay stubs, and now that I am, multiplying by 24, this doesn't look right. Am I missing something?" Not great, more of a hail-Mary play.

  • By 24? Who gets 24 salaries in a 12 month year? – Andrea Lazzarotto Jul 15 '17 at 10:40
  • @AndreaLazzarotto I've experienced 24, 26 and 52 pay periods a year. – Harper Jul 15 '17 at 13:52
  • Interesting. What country? – Andrea Lazzarotto Jul 15 '17 at 17:51
  • @Harper - Likewise, USA – pojo-guy Jul 16 '17 at 2:34
  • @AndreaLazzarotto USA also. – Harper Jul 16 '17 at 3:19
4

If you definitely want this job, without losing part of your reputation from the very beginning, you should politely decline to show them your pay stub for the reason of confidentiality. This is generally not a lie, because, in many countries, the pay sheet contains personal information (religion, marital status, kids etc.). Tell them that your current salary does not matter, but that you require them to pay that much to get a hold of you.

Do not admit that you told a lie, even though this can easily happen in the heat of a job interview and cannot be considered a severe lie (rather, an exaggeration). Either this will damage your reputation and they totally withdraw the offer, or it will damage your reputation and they will morally blackmail you and you will receive a much lower payment offer than you aspired.

Do not add another outright lie on top of it. Maybe they are already suspicious and if they get more suspicious, that may feel motivated to do some investigations. The double lie might blow up into your face, even after you have been hired for the job.

  • I wouldn't do that. Predictable response given they asked for it will be to ask for evidence without that detail (photocopy with it blanked out, or other docs). – Stilez Jul 13 '17 at 7:16
  • @Stilez Good catch, this might happen. But not necessarily if he makes sufficiently clear that he demands x$ and anyway considers his current salary being insubstantial, perhaps with some sort of righteous indignation as recommended above. – NoBackingDown Jul 13 '17 at 7:30
4

For those who say they have never been asked for pay stubs and would never provide them, they you employment history if very different that many. I for instance have held US DoD positions requiring a security clearance. Each and every one of those has required full background checks which will include full salary history. Some are open and asked for tax records and pay stubs while others simply assumed I knew that as part of the background check I was giving them permission to see that. Discrepancies between what I said, and what they found in that check would have been grounds for immediate dismissal. If it was a major discrepancy, that would be considered fraud and potentially prosecuted as they has a signed legal document from me stating the wrong numbers.

Further, for these positions, a credit and financial check was mandatory as a key component in the security check due to the fact that unexplained income if a security red flag as is excessive debt.

With DoD positions another factor arises in that employers can be required to verify salary history if the person will be a direct bill employee on a government contract. The employer is allowed to offer a prevailing wage, but not an inflationary one. That is, they could basically offer me anything in a wide range that was prevailing for my position, but it also had to meet a criteria that is could not be more that a given percentage over my prior salary if I had been working a similar position. This gave them the requirement of not just verifying for themselves that I was truthful, they had to prove to Department of Defense auditor that they were not driving up industry salaries by offering mass increases to entice employees from their competitors and driving up contract prices.

In the private sector I held a position which resulted in my handling the movement of large sums of company money, and the programs that audited that money. Again, for security, as a condition of employment I had to agree to full financial disclosure giving the company access to my salary history even without the stubs, so why would I squawk? I did not have to give that consent, but it was completely in their right to ask for it, and to refuse to hire if I did not give it.

Does this company have similar grounds to ask? Likely not, but it is possible. Most likely they simply caught the hint that the OP is being less that honest and want proof either way. They have offered, show us you were truthful and we will pay you. They likely do not even care about the number, are willing to pay, but have an inkling you lied. If you lied, they have no reason to believe anything else you said, or anything you will say in the future, so have no use for you. It is an object lesson that there is not such thing as a little lie in an interview, and if it is a verifiable item you may pay the price. As someone who has been on the hiring side, I can tell you that for you, failure to come up with a pay stub that matched what you said would be the end of the story.

3

I can't say I know the best thing to do, but I'd love to hear that you went back to them and said:

"I have to confess, when you asked how much I made before, I exaggerated the amount. I'm sorry about that, but to be honest I was afraid that if I told you the real amount, you'd make me an offer that was too low. I've heard that happens, and I really feel I'm worth X."

"I wouldn't be surprised if you're no longer interested in me, but if by some chance you are, I was actually making Y. But I'm afraid I'm not comfortable showing you my salary sheet."

"Again, I apologize for not being completely honest before."

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    I would STRONGLY advise against going with this suggestion. This puts you on the back foot and makes you look like an idiot. – SolutionYogi Jul 12 '17 at 21:33
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    @SolutionYogi OP's not on the fairway, he's in the sand trap. Shawn's proposal is not much of a distance club, but it's a sand wedge, will get you out of a hole. That's a sports metaphor, like "back foot. google it. – Harper Jul 13 '17 at 0:53
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    @ShawnV.Wilson actually, I am disagreeing with solutionyogi, so defending you actually. Solutionyogi is saying "that's a bad thing to say because it puts OP on the back foot", I am saying OP is already! As for the last bit, I'm teasing you less for not knowing sports metaphor and more for not googling what you don't know. It pays to enrich your word power. – Harper Jul 13 '17 at 1:43
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    I think this level of subservient demeanor is cringy and not helpful in salary negotiations. – limdaepl Jul 13 '17 at 4:06
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    @immibis No, I'm not a recruiter. But I am a Christian who feels that being honest and admitting one's mistakes is best. The commenters who've said this is a bad strategy are missing the point: I think the OP should resign himself to the fact he won't get the job and be ready to move on with a clear conscience. If he/she is religious, the OP may want to pray that the hiring manager is willing to forgive and maybe consider hiring him/her after all. – Shawn V. Wilson Jul 13 '17 at 16:14
3

You lied. You did something wrong. You started a professional relationship on a foundation of mistrust. You can certainly try to figure out a way to wiggle your way out of this, but it would be best to accept the consequences. What goes around comes around.

That's not to say that the company was right in asking for your previous salary. But two wrongs don't make a right. You should have found a way to avoid disclosing your previous salary and anchoring your new salary on what you are really worth without lying. Since you didn't, you have these options:

Try To Get The Job

Refuse to show them your pay stub using another white lie, hoping to get the job

Plenty of people have offered advice on how to do this already.

Refuse to show them your pay stub without lying, hoping to get the job

You can refuse to show it to them giving no reason whatever, or claim that you are not comfortable sharing this. This might work if they didn't really care about the pay stub and it was just a matter of perfunctory due diligence. You could also feign indignation, although that is simply doubling down on your first lie.

Admit you lied and hope to get the job

If you were blindsided by the question when they first asked it and you felt trapped by the circumstances, you could explain this. If you consciously chose to lie when they asked, then admitting is unlikely to get you the job.

Walk Away

Especially if you are not desperate and can afford to continue looking, these options allow you to accept responsibility for lying.

Admit you lied and walk away from the job

Similar to the previous option, but accepts the likely outcome without putting you or the recruiters in the uncomfortable position of continuing a working relationship.

Without mentioning the pay stub issue, gracefully walk away from the job

You could use phrases like "I found other opportunities" or "Circumstances have changed and this is not right for me anymore".

Suddenly cease contact with them and walk away

This is not very professional, which could come back to bite you, but it's the easiest option in the short-term.

3

Asking for proof of current salary is poor form, in my opinion. Information on market rates and salaries is out there for companies to obtain and it is quite easy for a company to know if someone is bluffing. I have never been asked to provide proof of what I am earning, although I have never lied about that to an employer.

There is never a reason for a company or individual to ask for proof, if they think the salary a candidate says they currently earn is inline with the market and/or what they're willing to pay, that should be the only deciding factor.

If you're in X position currently and you say you're getting paid $120k when you are only being paid $100k, but the market says on average someone with your experience in your chosen field earns $130k, then that is pretty easy to work out.

Lying about your current salary might be something many people here disagree with, but if you are currently being underpaid in comparison to what other people in your industry are, then I cannot see the harm personally. Especially knowing that companies can easily obtain information on market salaries for comparison.

There are worse things you could lie about (such as your experience). I am not saying that lying is okay, but on the scale of dishonesty it is quite low. The bottom line is: if the company is willing to pay, what is the harm?

  • 3
    I second your point about the little salary lie. In fact, there are countries where lying in a job interview is legally allowed for some question, e.g., whether a woman has intentions to get children soon etc. – NoBackingDown Jul 13 '17 at 7:33
2

At most companies, lying during the interview process is grounds for immediate dismissal. In addition, gaining a salary higher that you would otherwise have gotten through your lies may legally be fraud.

Your best bet is to walk away from the job. Quit returning their calls. This happens all the time when people accept a different offer.

Then, don't lie again. When asked for your current salary, say either "I don't believe it is relevant", or say what it is but say that you think you're being underpaid.

  • How come it's a legal fraud? This new company has nothing to do with how much I make at the moment. I give my salary expectation because that's how much I value my work. If they can't afford to to pay me that salary, I would simply let it go. Be it a lie or what, he said his expectation. It doesn't need to have anything with the current salary. I once worked in a company for a very low salary to get some experience, then I joined a new place for a good salary. – user44403 Jul 17 '17 at 9:32
  • Lying to get money from someone which they would not otherwise give you is pretty much the definition of fraud, at least in the US. – Warren Dew Jul 17 '17 at 21:00
  • Is there a policy in US like, they give only 'x' amount more than your current salary? Why is the current salary important ? If they feel the candidate isn't competent enough to be paid the amount they expect, they can simply look for another. Isn't it? – user44403 Jul 18 '17 at 5:50
  • Some people think the current salary is relevant, some people think not. If as a candidate you think your current salary is irrelevant, you can say so, as I suggested in the answer. For more information, read the comment threads on some of the other answers. – Warren Dew Jul 18 '17 at 9:36
1

Just play hardball and don't provide the payslip. You pointing out that they are making a very unusual request (which they are) and making it clear that you don't feel comfortable complying doesn't make it obvious that you lied. Also, don't feel bad for lying, all of this is part of negotiations and they've probably tried to lowball you initially just as much.

  • 2
    Downvoted because I absolutely believe that one should "feel bad for lying". Even if you do have to lie. – Shawn V. Wilson Jul 17 '17 at 16:36
0

Your options are roughly:

  • Come clean, apologise profusely and hope that's enough or accept their judgement of withdrawing the offer. Being able to admit wrongdoing and accept the consequences of your mistakes are admirable traits, but it's anyone's guess whether the lie will outweigh this and your abilities and lead to an offer.
  • Send the sheet without saying anything. This might work if the purpose is simply to prove you're employed (although a better option is to see whether you can get a simple proof of employment that doesn't state your salary from your current employer), but if it's for the purpose of confirming your salary, this probably won't help.
  • Decline the offer for some other reason. This doesn't help you at all - every other option at least has a chance that you still end up getting the job. Actually, I guess one way it helps you is that you can avoid burning bridges and apply again later.
  • Refuse to provide the sheet on the basis of it containing other private information or for some other reason. This seems hard to justify, as your salary, which you already provided, could very well be the most significant information on the sheet and anything else they'd likely find out if they employ you.

    It might help to try to divert this towards some other proof of employment (e.g. give them the contact details of someone in HR or your manager can confirm your employment), if the issue is at least partly related to needing to prove employment.

The first option is best, but none of these are good options, since you're already in a pretty bad position due to lying in the first place.

Anything that involves accepting the offer without telling the truth carries a risk of them finding out the truth at a later stage and instantly terminating your employment on the basis that you lied. The likelihood of being found out is greatly increased if the amount you stated is well outside of the pay range of your company or area (see Glassdoor) or your salary can be found out by other means.

They might be asking for your salary sheet because they're already suspicious, in which case refusing can simply not go well. Or because it's standard practice in the area or company, in which case a refusal might simply take the offer off of the table.


What's commonly recommended is to simply decline to state your current salary during salary negotiations for an offer. If you do this, refusing to provide a salary sheet is perfectly understandable.

I have no idea whether there's any laws regarding being asked to provide your salary sheet - I doubt it, but you'll have to consult a lawyer to confirm.

  • 14
    No his best option is to say "I believe I'm worth X. What I'm making now isn't relevant. Make me your best offer and we'll take it from there. Otherwise, good luck to you in your search". Telling the truth now is his worst options on every level, because it destroys his negotiating power and shows he isn't willing to stand up for himself. ANd his employment would never be terminated later for lying, because by then either he's proved he is worth the salary, or he isn't. At most it would be used as an excuse if they wanted to get rid of him anyway. – Gabe Sechan Jul 12 '17 at 13:46
  • 4
    No it isn't. They asked, he answered. That doesn't mean that he needs to provide proof for it, or that it matters to the final result. Telling them the truth would be utterly illogical, it can only hurt him – Gabe Sechan Jul 12 '17 at 13:53
  • 3
    @Dukeling No, it would work just fine, because its a tangent to what you're actually discussing. What you're really discussing is the salary you'd get at the new place. This is brining the discussion back into line. – Gabe Sechan Jul 12 '17 at 13:59
  • 1
    @GabeSechan It's ridiculously unreasonable to expect that you can make claims without being willing to provide any sort of (readily-available) proof of said claims and any vaguely intelligent person would be extremely suspicious if you do this. Trying to tell people what's important to them or expecting them to just trust you is extremely condescending and you might find the offer withdrawn on that basis alone. – Dukeling Jul 12 '17 at 14:07
  • 7
    @Dukeling Happens all the time. People lie about their salary constantly. HR expects it. That may be a good reason for HR not to even ask that question, but nobody is going to hand over their paystubs to prove their salary, whether lying or not. Now telling me that you don't trust me or that I'm lying to you in an interview is extremely condescending and will get me to reject an offer (if not walk out of the room) on that basis alone. – Gabe Sechan Jul 12 '17 at 14:14
0

Never, ever show weakness.

You exaggerated your salary, ok, now own it. When asked to provide your paystub say simply, "I've already told you how much I make, and I've told you how much I expect to be paid. If you're not willing to take me at my word this business relationship is never going to work. I'd like to work here, and I think you'd like me to work here, so to proceed I need salary X and you need to trust me. By hiring me you'll see you'll get exactly what you're paying for. Do we have a deal?"

Then they'll tell you either yes or no, but they'll respect you for keeping your cards close (whether or not you bluffed them, which they'll wonder about). If you get the job, really excel. If you don't, no worries, but next time don't lead with what you made. Lead with what you know market rate to be plus some percent for your experience.

-2

Just give them a bi-monthly paystub. Say that's all you could get.

"Hey, this doesn't add up to the salary you said you made!"

"Yeah, I was including my end of year bonus. This paysub doesn't have that on there because I get that in January.

Done and done.

  • There's a good point in here, if you had other benefits in your current employer that you're losing, it's fair to include the monetary value of those in your salary – JeffUK Jul 13 '17 at 8:18
  • 1
    You should only say that if it is true. The last thing you need is to add one lie on top of another. – jkdev Jul 13 '17 at 23:47
  • 1
    DO NOT KEEP LYING. – MissMonicaE Jul 14 '17 at 14:37
  • 1
    @MissMonicaE is right. At the point when he realized what they were trying to do to him he should just have stopped all communications altogether. Just get out as fast as he could. – mathreadler Jul 16 '17 at 15:44
-4

You've lied already to get this job, so lie again with photoshop. Make a photocopy of your salary sheet, then photograph that with your phone, or scan it in. Edit the numbers with gimp or photoshop or equivalent. Print.

They should pay you what they think you're worth. You should take jobs that pay you what you think you're worth. What you have been paid in the past is a weak indicator of your value to your potential employer. Each employment is unique. They're bad managers relying on your current boss's judgement of your worth, they should do their own homework. But since they're not doing the work, they suck as hiring managers, they're lazy, and they deserve a photoshopped document.

  • 11
    This sounds unethical, and illegal. – Anko Jul 12 '17 at 23:17
  • 4
    This is I think the worst kind of solution. Not just unethical, but I think in most countries the person who falsify a document might end up with a big fine or even jail. There is a good chance that the company will see the person's previous salary by taking over the employment and submitting tax papers. – CsBalazsHungary Jul 13 '17 at 6:19
  • 4
    Fraud. Not your best bet – Stilez Jul 13 '17 at 7:21
  • 10
    And if this does not work, kidnap the hiring manager and release him only if they agree to not ask for your previous salary anymore... – Thern Jul 13 '17 at 14:26
  • 4
    "They deserve a photoshopped document". Explain that to the judge. Also, I don't get the concept of "They are lazy and bad at their jobs, so you should commit fraud to make sure you get to work with them." Why put in any effort to work with someone you think it bad at their jobs? – Kevin Wells Jul 13 '17 at 16:20

protected by Jane S Jul 13 '17 at 4:38

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