I currently work as a mid-level corporate finance manager at a F500 and make $93k with no bonus. I know that I am vastly underpaid and the average pay for someone with my education/experience is about $130k with a 20% bonus, so I'm interested in making a move to another company.
The problem I have is that every time I talk to a recruiter, one of their first questions is "How much do you currently make?" As soon as I tell them I only make $93k with no bonus, they immediately set the bar at that level and say that they can get me $95k to $100k with a 10-15% bonus even though I'm qualified to make $130-$135k with a 20% bonus. I'm worried that lying about my current salary might get me in trouble, but I'm at a loss for what to do and I don't want to take a job that pays 30-40% less than what I'm worth. Any ideas?
Should I Lie About My Current Salary When Negotiating?
Generally, our users agree that if you are being vastly underpaid at your previous / current job you can reasonably increase the amount that you claim to be making.
I know plenty of people that lied about their salary, and none of them got caught. The fact of the matter is, most big companies base their salary offer on your previous salary - offering 12-15% bumps generally. I'd say lying is worth the risk if you are severely underpaid, because every company you interview for is going to low-ball you if they know your real salary.
I would lie. My coworker did it and the recruiter didn't say anything. The worst thing that could happen is they call you out on it and you don't get the job because you lied or because the salary is too low. No loss.
State the salary you would like to consider being hired out, otherwise it doesn't make any sense. Who cares if they check your previous salary, it doesn't matter. Each time you move to a new firm you have a one-off opportunity to make a big financial leap forward, otherwise it's all about small increase on a yearly basis and your bonus...
User @i hate audit shared a different opinion:
If you are working with an external recruiting firm, go ahead and lie about your salary -- if/when you get caught, just blame it on the recruiter and say they inflated your salary. If you are working with an internal recruiter, definitely don't lie.
However, several users shared that they were asked for their W2 and old paystubs during the hiring process. However, @OpsDude shared the following thoughts on this concern:
They legally cannot ask your old company your pay. I've seen W2 asked for, but you can just say you got a raise at year end and had a bunch of deductions, and they have no way of verifying. My friend added $10k to her salary, got asked for a W2 during background check, and then nothing happened.
Want to Learn More About Salary Negotiation?
Read the article - How to Negotiate For More Money During the Interview Process to learn more about the salary negotiation process.
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