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Rules on Previous salary

#1 Rules on Previous salary
20/10/2012 12:48


Hi There

I wanted to get an idea of whether all companies check your previous salary?

I spoke to a friend who works in recruitment and was told that they always assume a candidate has added approx £5k to the salary they tell you so if you want a decent payrise when moving jobs its not a big deal to lie about your last salary. But I am worried that if you are made an offer and the company does check that this reflect badly on you so hesitant to do this.

What are the thoughts.. should you add a few 000 to your salary in order to negotiate a better deal (is this a common thing) or is there a risk that when background checks are done it reflects badly on you?


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#2 RE: Rules on Previous salary
21/10/2012 00:27

TripleTwistTrump to LS_Cons1 (#1)

You will get many differing views on this question as its quite subjective and dependant on the company you are applying at. Some of these may be

1. Companies advertise a salary band, let's say between £40k to £60k. When you apply and they call in you, its pretty sure you wont get below £40k. So if you earn £30k, you are certain of a decent pay rise, but if you get £50k, then its all up for discussion

2. The job advert says, and is very common these days, 'competitive' or 'market leading' or 'excellent base plus benefits' - you should be wary of all such postings as they can offer anything and more or less, they go on what your previous package is

Coming to if they actually check you salary or try to find out, what matters is if you lie to them when revealing your salary. Adding even £1k to what you get is lying, no harm in monetizing benefits but adding anything on top is lying - so you need to be sure what you are ready to say. Some companies ask for previous pay slips, some ask for a reference letter stating position and previous salary where they will get to know what you were getting.

More importantly when you give your P45, they will eventually come to know - whether they do anything at that point or no is irrelevant, but they eventually get to know.

If asked, you could evade the question of your previous package by stating you applied for the role because they said they are paying between so and so, or that they are paying market leading rates etc etc - and have some numbers handy from payscale or glassdoor, or state you are moving only if the role pays a minimum of X - these are ways to avoid your previous salary being used as a benchmark to making a final offer. So you can openly tell what you current package is but making it very clear what you are looking for if you make the move.

Also, during the applications process, make sure you ask up front what the role is likely to pay and state that you dont want to go through the process and waste their or your time if, in the end, they offer something that you wouldnt consider in the first place itself!

All the best


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#3 RE: Rules on Previous salary
21/10/2012 11:22

DA_prof1 to TripleTwistTrump (#2)


I am currently experiencing a problem due to this above thread so can confirm that firms do check and am now in a situation that I cannot positively get out of.

I recently applied to a role via an agency and added £2k to my salary to ensure my next role was at least at the same band as my initial salary having had to take a paycut.

I have never or would ever lie on an application form or references of any sort but did not see the harm in stretching the truth to a recruitment agent.

The agent put me forward to a bank and on an initial conversation the interviewer re-stated the salary the agency had told them and I did not correct them, I was then told they would check if an offer was made. I immediately regretted not correcting the interviewer and am now unsure how to rectify this problem without a lose:lose situation.

Should I continue the process and only worry about it if I get an offer and perhaps state it was a misunderstanding and that the figure I quoted was a total package, or do I go back to the agency and tell them my salary to clear up the mess now and risk not progressing to the next stage?

Any advice?

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#4 RE: Rules on Previous salary
21/10/2012 13:53

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to DA_prof1 (#3)

If they demand to know your current salary, tell them that owing to Data Protection Rules you are unable to disclose that information becaues the Data Subject has not given permission. Or maybe quote Health and Safety. Or perhaps you could be about as specific as their job advert probably was, and just say your salary was ££££ Competitive £££" or "Excellent plus benefits". Big companies seem to love that sort of thing.

You could perhaps hand them a copy of Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" and suggest that they go back and study Economics 101.

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#5 RE: Rules on Previous salary
24/10/2012 17:42

marsday to DA_prof1 (#3)

So there was harm in stretching the truth to a recruitment agent then.


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#6 RE: Rules on Previous salary
24/10/2012 18:02

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#5)

I'm waiting for somebody to start their answer with "By law,....."

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#7 RE: Rules on Previous salary
25/10/2012 05:16

lidaka01 to LS_Cons1 (#1)

well , i think it all depends .if your previous salary is not higher ,you can lie to this company ,coz you off last job is that you want higher salary ,it's ok.but also according to the ability of the company ,if th boss don't care about the salary,only for your own ability ,you can lie your last salary , do u think so ?

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#8 RE: Rules on Previous salary
25/10/2012 08:55

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to lidaka01 (#7)

This reads like one of those Viagra e-mails.

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#9 RE: Rules on Previous salary
25/10/2012 17:45

marsday to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#8)


Brings a whole new aspect to "Excellent plus benefits"

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#10 RE: Rules on Previous salary
26/10/2012 09:43

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#9)

You know Mars, the more I think about it the more I think this guy may actually be the one who writes the viagra e-mails. Look at the style... it is spot on.

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#11 RE: Rules on Previous salary
08/11/2012 11:34

DA_prof1 to lidaka01 (#7)


I just wrote a reply but for some reason its disappeared?!?

I wanted to follow on from my first thread and get some thoughts

I went on to receive an offer from the bank having clarified my real package and received a low offer. Its a 5% increase on my base, but includes a car allowance. The contracted hours are also higher (40 vs 35) so in reality its not really even a raise.

Having gone back to negiotiate, the client has refused to budge and the agency is doing nothing but agreeing that the offer is "amazing and that I should consider"

The fact the company isnt willing to even try to have a conversation about it does bug me a little but i did like the idea of the role, should I accept despite the poor start or walk away on being under-valued?

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#12 RE: Rules on Previous salary
08/11/2012 11:56

marsday to DA_prof1 (#11)

Do you also get a car allowance where you are currently? The 5% increase - in the current market - isn't too bad. Bear in mind they will have their own budget and banding contraints, so the offer of 5% may seem low but could be as competitive as they are able to be.

The isue of an extra 5 contracted hours should'nt even be an issue - since when has anyone actually limited themselves to their contracted hours anyway?

If they are refusing to negotiate then you have the best offer they will make - so factor in all the soft benefits too i.e. is it a 'better' brand/higher tier? opportunities likely to come up internally? where have alumnus from the bank gone on to, both generally and from this role/department? Should give you a mental map on the added value of the offer besides the 5% raise and the car allowance.

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#13 RE: Rules on Previous salary
08/11/2012 12:11

DA_prof1 to marsday (#12)

I dont currently get a car allowance no, so agree the additional incentive is a bonus, but it was more that they were trying to say the offer is amazing and well above 10% and they had calculated this on the best case scenario comparing to my current package on real scenario ie max potential bonus, max potential pension compared to real bonus pay-out and actual pension based on my choices here. So if comparing like for like (which is why i mentioned hours) its actually closer to same level or just the additional car bonus.

The salary band spans another 5K which I checked before receiving the offer so I know they have bandwidth, but as im from a consulting background and not banking the reasoning is that im non FS, which amazes me as when I joined consulting I was given the same speech about being non consulting - cant win!

And my perception was that an agency is supposed to negiotiate for you, but this one seems to have no idea and is fearing ill lose the offer (or walk away) if I dont accept. I hate agencies, one job and they cant even get that right!!!

The soft benefits id say are also rounding off, some were better ie work/life balance and some may not compare ie leaving great training budgets available when working in consulting

I understand your points though, perhaps this is the best given the current market and it is an interesting role, worse case scenario I do it for a year and move internally or back out when the market is better.

Thankyou thats help calm me down and see a little clearer

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#14 RE: Rules on Previous salary
08/11/2012 18:48

Mr Cool to DA_prof1 (#13)

1. Google BATNA. Read and digest. Make the binary and simple decision.

2. Read the threads on this board seeing how many people are desperate to leave consultancy. That's why banks don't have to pay premiums.'ve totally misunderstood who's paying the agency and their role in this transaction. What makes you think they should be getting more money for you? Think it through and stop blaming them - they got you in to the client in the first place!

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#15 RE: Rules on Previous salary
09/11/2012 10:50

emersonkelly to Mr Cool (#14)

Tell your original salary, recruiters will check for your pay slips.

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#16 RE: Rules on Previous salary
19/11/2012 16:52

Deacs to emersonkelly (#15)

This is one of those topics that causes us forum members to go round and in circles ad nauseam.

There are quite a few old threads on this but, for me, the main points are:

1 - if someone says "there was a recent case where someone was sacked because of misleading a new employer about their salary" ask for backup evidence. There may have been 1 or 2 cases over the last 20 years but this is extremely rare and I have yet to see a link to a convincing story. There are plenty of posts saying "I'm sure I've seen evidence of this backfiring but I can't seem to find it..."

2 - never give a new employer your P45. They have no legal right to receive it and you are under no obligation to give it to them. Your old employer will only send a single copy to you and if this is lost in the post or never received, you won't have it to give to anybody. The sole disadvantage to this is that your tax situation will take a further 1 to 3 months to be sorted out.

3 - I know that recruiters disagree but never tell anyone your current package / salary. I also know that this is easier said than done. However, as in any other negotiating position, giving away your starting point will always disadvantage you. Typically, the salary for your new job needs to be for that new job - not based on your old job. If asked for your salary, try asking for that of the questioner and tell them that their salary is just as important for you to know as vice versa. This whole point of this is that you:

4 - need to have a good idea of the range of package you are after. When asked ,e.g. on a form, for your package details, answer the question with the package you are after.

5 - if a recruiter tells you they need to know your package before putting you forward for a role, tell them the range you are looking for. If they push you, give a figure from that range, which is higher than you are currently on. Make it quite clear to them that this is what you are doing and this is the figure you want recorded.

6 - find out from your current employer whether or not they reveal salary details when sent requests for references. I don't know the law on this but most employers won't give this information as it is treated as confidential between you and them. How else would a new employer find out your salary? I can't think of any other way they can reliably discover it, unless they have unofficial links to your current HR department.


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#17 RE: Rules on Previous salary
19/11/2012 17:17

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Deacs (#16)

Mr Cool is so cool. I love that BATNA wikipedia article.

Mr Cool, share more stuff like that with us!

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