Hello everyone. Today’s post is from Anum over at Current on Currency. Enjoy!
While there seems to be a long-standing tradition of embellishing résumés, there is a fine line between that and lying during interviews. Making false or misleading statements may be one thing, but omitting important facts can be just as dishonest.
The root of the problem goes back to the competitive nature of job seeking in general and assuming that if “everyone else is doing it” to level the playing field, it must be okay.
This way of thinking is particularly evident in college graduates as a recent study suggests, but continues to be reinforced and even practiced in the later stages of one’s career when salary becomes an essential talking point.
A Stronger Focus on Screening Procedures
The rise of embellishments has led to increasingly comprehensive screening procedures, and employers are taking a closer look at the résumés they receive, according to new findings from CareerBuilder.
The survey involving 2,188 hiring managers and human resource professionals revealed that 42 percent of employers spend longer reviewing applications than they did previously, and 86 percent of employers now appoint the task to more than one employee before reaching a final decision.
The Importance of Discussing Payment
For most, there is nothing more daunting than discussing payment with someone who has the ability to make potentially life-changing decisions, but avoiding the subject could cost you $500,000 over the long term.
It’s therefore in your best interest to provide accurate facts and figures concerning your salary history on paper so that if you’re asked any follow-up questions in an interview-type setting, you’ll be able to do so without hesitation.
Navigating Payment Negotiations
Ultimately, HR managers and recruiters are looking at past salaries to gauge who will be more or less receptive to an offer of payment, and this puts candidates in an unfortunate bargaining position for fear of leaving money on the table.
Often the best thing you can do in this situation is reframe any direct questions about your previous earnings and state your expectations using broader terminology. For example, try to answer with:
- I’d like to keep that information confidential, but I’m looking for…
- My previous employers consider that information confidential; however, I’m seeking…
- I only share that information with my accountant, but ideally I’d like…
Another tip is to use active language for both your speaking and resume. Discussing your previous experience using active language will highlight the active role you played in your company’s culture. This is attractive to employers for future hires.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of information regarding salary negotiation tips designed to help job seekers land the interview and prepare them for landing the job.
The Role of the Verification Process
Salaries are used to determine value, and a prospective employer is well within their rights to conduct a verification process that includes requesting to view a recent pay stub or W-2.
Depending on the company, this process may be implemented after you’ve been handed the job as a formality, and if you have lied about your salary history or position, the offer could be rescinded as a direct result.
A Preferred Alternative to Outright Lying
The question then isn’t so much whether or not it’s okay to lie about your salary history, but whether there’s any real benefit to doing so.
Keep in mind that professional employer-employee relationships are founded on trust, and if you’re caught in a lie, expect there to be consequences, as rarely are there any second chances.
This is not to say that you can’t embellish certain things to present yourself in the best possible light, just that your past earnings shouldn’t be one of them. You’re far better off padding your CV with regard to the tangible skills you have developed over the course of your career.
Anum Yoon started and maintains her personal finance blog, Current on Currency. Sign up for her weekly newsletter to read about her financial journey and perspectives on money management, frugal living, and financial trends.