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View Poll Results: Do you / Would you exaggerate your present salary at a job interview?
Yes, I would quote present salary as being higher than it is to get a higher starting point 22 30.56%
No, would tell the truth, and try to negotiate a higher salary 50 69.44%
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  #41  
Old 21.03.2011, 16:38
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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no they won't, like all agents they don't give a fig about the contractors only the end client, sure they want to make lots of money from you but not at the chance of losing the end client.

Unless your on a C permit wouldn't your new employer know what you earned before from your tax payments anyway?
I would agree with what you say (that they won't care about getting the top rate) but not for the same reasons.

They want turnover. If they can get you sold off at 120k in one day they'd rather do that than sell you off at 140k in three days. Turnover is the most important thing.
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  #42  
Old 21.03.2011, 16:48
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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... The only ones I would have let negotiate my salary were working at body leasing shops. They'd earn a share of my salary EVERY month and would therefore be highly motivated to sell me for a top rate.
"No they won't" part 2.

The agency has already negotiated a daily rate with the client. The agent will want to give you as little as possible, thereby increasing their margin. In my experience, but notwithstanding the excellent point about getting turnover, is that you're more likely to have an agent negotiate on your behalf for a permanent position than for a contract.

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I hate to be unfashionable here and await the groans and rolled eyes, but...lying is wrong! It's unethical. Even if you company is unethical too, for me there's a massive premium on being honest. It's a question of character - if you have a good reputation, a reputation for honest, you'll be able to walk down the street with you head held high, and you won't be scrabbling to get 180k from 160k. There are very few people who manage to earn in the millions and it isn't because they're 11 times cleverer or work 11 times harder. If you become the person that people can trust and rely on, then you'll become absolutely priceless.
I'm with you on the ethics, old-fashioned as that is. However, honesty and business do not mix very well. The only way to really win the rat race is to be a rat. That means - lying, cheating, bullying and brown-nosing, and, if necessary, eating the bodies of dead colleagues.
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  #43  
Old 21.03.2011, 16:54
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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I hate to be unfashionable here and await the groans and rolled eyes, but...lying is wrong! It's unethical. Even if you company is unethical too, for me there's a massive premium on being honest. It's a question of character - if you have a good reputation, a reputation for honest, you'll be able to walk down the street with you head held high, and you won't be scrabbling to get 180k from 160k. There are very few people who manage to earn in the millions and it isn't because they're 11 times cleverer or work 11 times harder. If you become the person that people can trust and rely on, then you'll become absolutely priceless.
Don't get me wrong - I totally agree too. You can't put a price on that.
I wanted to hear more about the practical negotiating part and the tricks that people use. E.g. you could quote your present salary at "Around the 120-140 range, depending on bonus" when asked, when in reality you might be making only 120 in a good bonus year. This tactic would be for me overstating your present salary, though not strictly unethical. For me being totally honest, saying "I earn 120 in a good bonus year, but realistically only 100", would be telling the truth but practically taking it too far!
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  #44  
Old 21.03.2011, 16:55
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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I hate to be unfashionable here and await the groans and rolled eyes, but...lying is wrong! It's unethical. Even if you company is unethical too, for me there's a massive premium on being honest. It's a question of character - if you have a good reputation, a reputation for honest, you'll be able to walk down the street with you head held high, and you won't be scrabbling to get 180k from 160k. There are very few people who manage to earn in the millions and it isn't because they're 11 times cleverer or work 11 times harder. If you become the person that people can trust and rely on, then you'll become absolutely priceless.
While I have otherwise fairly high ethics and do not lie in business - this is one of the few exceptions where I learned my lesson: I have sold myslef too low several times. After hearing about my salary, HR people made offers "that's the best we can do for this position" only to find out later that other people on the same team with very similar experiences got way more. When I got a bit more experienced, I have seen others getting tricked to do the same job I do for less.

I'd love to have an open and honest discussion, but my experience is that HR people are not really interested in it:
I'd love to work for a company where it is crystal clear that a person doing job x with a performance review of y gets z CHF a year. I only have never seen this in reality.
My experience is that HRs try to pay as little as possible for the best candidate. I am sure we can agree that this is fairly short-sighted as candidates turn into employees and they become extremly frustrated when they find out how they got tricked... but they don't care. I once made a big stink as I was obviously underpaid (I did not receive a raise for three years after joinind as a fresh graduate). You know what they answered me: "We know that you are on the low side. But we have people who are on the high side and out target is x as an average, so I cannot really do anything". "How about cut the pay of the overpaid ones and give more to the underpaid ones?" "I cannot do that based on policy xyz". I left the company after six months of attempts by my manager to fix the situation. My experience is that as soon as you accpet an offer, it is close to impossible to change a lot - and before the offer there is no transparent and open talk.
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  #45  
Old 21.03.2011, 16:56
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

It is interesting to note that the poll seems to be going 2/3rd honest - 1/3 lying the whole way!
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  #46  
Old 21.03.2011, 16:56
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

I'm a recruiter of some years standing specialising in certain areas and so I can just smell it when a candidate is not telling me the truth and it really doesn't do them any good in the long run.

I would say if you are talking to HR or line manager they will know what to expect from your history and the market and so will any recruiter from an agency worth their salt. So if you want to inflate your salary then minimalise it for your own credibility.
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  #47  
Old 21.03.2011, 17:03
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... honesty and business do not mix very well. The only way to really win the rat race is to be a rat. That means - lying, cheating, bullying and brown-nosing....
I guess you've got your tongue in your cheek, but just for the record, I don't agree that honesty and business don't mix. I've fired people for lying - about former experience, past seniority, qualifications, expense cheating etc. I've never fired anybody for lying about former salary, but then again I've never paid anybody based solely on what they got at their last shop, but if they lied and I found out - I'd fire them for that too. Without hesitation. I don't mind people screwing up once in a while, as long as it doesn't become a habit (then that's incompetence). But you can't put too high a price on honesty, especially in business.

As for bullying and brown-nosing you get that in spades in business. Sadly it can work for some of the time but in the end, these folks tend to make enemies and many eventually meet their nemesis when management changes/reorganizations happen.
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  #48  
Old 21.03.2011, 19:31
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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I'm with you on the ethics, old-fashioned as that is. However, honesty and business do not mix very well. The only way to really win the rat race is to be a rat. That means - lying, cheating, bullying and brown-nosing, and, if necessary, eating the bodies of dead colleagues.
Cockroaches and locusts may do well short term but it often comes back to haunt them at some point. Imagine not having a single reference who will back up that you are honest and can put company interests before your own. If you lie about your salary you're probably lying about other things and sooner or later your co-workers are superiors are going to see through the lies. Nobody likes to work with a liar and nobody trusts a liar. Do you want to be an outcast in your workplace?
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  #49  
Old 21.03.2011, 19:39
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While I have otherwise fairly high ethics and do not lie in business - this is one of the few exceptions where I learned my lesson: I have sold myslef too low several times. After hearing about my salary, HR people made offers "that's the best we can do for this position" only to find out later that other people on the same team with very similar experiences got way more. When I got a bit more experienced, I have seen others getting tricked to do the same job I do for less.
I think there is a huge difference between a strong sell and an outright lie.

I've also been sold short in different positions and later found other people who were less competent than I had been offered better deals. On the other hand the company recently went through a hard restructuring exercise to cut costs. These two individuals have both received their pink slips and I'm still in a job. That's priceless.
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  #50  
Old 21.03.2011, 20:07
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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I'm a recruiter of some years standing specialising in certain areas and so I can just smell it when a candidate is not telling me the truth and it really doesn't do them any good in the long run.

I would say if you are talking to HR or line manager they will know what to expect from your history and the market and so will any recruiter from an agency worth their salt. So if you want to inflate your salary then minimalise it for your own credibility.
You are the right person to ask:

I applied to a job, you do the interview and ask about my courant salary. I smile and reply: "I am not telling you that, you are free to make you own mind about it". How do you react?
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  #51  
Old 21.03.2011, 21:01
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It is interesting to note that the poll seems to be going 2/3rd honest - 1/3 lying the whole way!
The 2/3 were lying. The 1/3 were being honest! ( Or maybe they were lying, and everyone was telling the truth).
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  #52  
Old 21.03.2011, 21:37
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

Honesty is always the best policy.

When asked what your current salary is, you can also answer that you would like to earn between x and y. This is after all, what they are after, i.e. how much are you going to cost. Many interviewers will then move on and not ask the same question again. If they do, you simply answer what you earn today and state again what you are aiming for.
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  #53  
Old 21.03.2011, 22:00
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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This is after all, what they are after, i.e. how much are you going to cost.
This is not at all what they are after. The question is a trick: They know you are applying to earn more than you do now - nobody applies to earn less. So asking for your current salary sets the stage for the negotiations.

Ok, I did not plan to go into detail, but anyway: I recognzied a huge difference the way people negotiate in various cultures. Not just in the job market, but generally. In Germany, side A names a terribly low offer, side B a far too high one. From there both sides slowly move to the middle and you find a compromise. In Switzerland, both sides first agree on a compromise and then start to pull it in either direction. Very confusing for both cultures to try to make business with each other. (I actually learned this from one of my Swiss colleagues who told me how hard it was originially for him to make deals in Germany - afterwards I recognized what went wrong for me several times here).

HR wants your current salary and misuses it as a starting point for the negotiations. As you applied for a better job than the one you have, it naturally should pay better. By starting low, they have an advantage. Simple as that. By being a bit vague "I earn roughly x CHF depending on the bonus" ( my company has not paid a bonus in years and x = current salary plus 10%), I set the stage straight. If they play dirty, I will do so as well. If they don't, I will not: the guy who hired me for my last job never asked for my salary but simply for my expectations. I was honest and we made an agreement within 30 seconds.
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  #54  
Old 21.03.2011, 22:14
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

I suppose each experience is different - the last time I was simply asked what I expected. I have once also been asked what I was currently earning and I took my base, added the bonus and gave the annual total.

On the other side of the process, I do not think I have ever asked a candidate what they currently earn, only what they expect in order to see whether it fits into what has been budgeted. I have once even offered the candidate more than they asked for.

But then I am not in HR, so I cannot really comment on HR tactics.
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  #55  
Old 21.03.2011, 22:15
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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HR wants your current salary and misuses it as a starting point for the negotiations.
Misuse, that's the point: How do you know if you can trust the recruter in front of you or if it's a dirty player. Trust or not trust...

The recruters writing on this forum know that they can be trusted. But I have one in mind who hired me, who (I figured out quickly when working at that place) could not be trusted at all. A real nasty player. But that was a very friendly and charming looking b*****d. And this one does not write on this forum.
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  #56  
Old 21.03.2011, 22:32
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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Misuse, that's the point: How do you know if you can trust the recruter in front of you or if it's a dirty player. Trust or not trust...
There is no legitimate reason to ask for the current salary. What's the point? I am applying for a different role at a different company. The question is not what I earned up to now, but weather we can agree on a deal or not. If he asks, he is using it as a tactic. I had plenty of interviews over the years and in 90% I was asked. I guess that's what the Eidgenössich Diplomierten Personalwesen-Assistenten (or similar) learn on page one of chapter "how to negotiate a salary". If they were creative enough to change the strategy from time to time, they might really catch me with my guards down ("Do you have a cat?" "No" "Oh in that case the offer would be x")... but if they were that creative they'd hardly work in HR...
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  #57  
Old 21.03.2011, 23:00
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

In deed. I think I have told how I dealt with that : "I know CH, I know the prices, I don't work for less than X, top it or don't call back" (with a big smile, no agressivity, just plain German Sachlichkeit). They did call back, but I was ready to let the opportunity go. I could afford it. That counts too.
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  #58  
Old 21.03.2011, 23:39
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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I'd just say something like - I'm currently on (or my package is worth) 100K. I'm looking for 130K, (this is my opening bid), because (blah blah - reasons why I'm worth it - more experienced now, this job requires more responsibility/risk). Then negotiate.
This is a really good answer.

Unfortunately I am a bit rubbish at selling myself in such a way - but I also don't want to lie, and neither answer the salary question - so if someone could come up with further ideias for tactics/answers how to handle this situation, would be greatly appreciated.


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they might really catch me with my guards down ("Do you have a cat?" "No" "Oh...
!!
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  #59  
Old 02.06.2011, 14:48
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

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If you're going to lie about your salary, then why not also lie about your experience and qualifications? And if lies are okay, must your recommendation letters and diplomas be real? Why not print them out on your computer and get a friend to sign them. Fiction and fantasy are so much more interesting than reality. Do you see where this attitude is taking you?

Stay clean. Be honest. Play by the rules.

Or otherwise, remember that he who lives by the sword also dies be the sword.
It's a jungle and during your employed life (and job interviews) employers lie as well. Don't try to be holier than the pope, just make sure you outplay the players.
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Old 02.06.2011, 14:58
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Re: Telling the truth about present salary at interviews

when I came to Switzerland for the interview and the salary question came up, I told them my actual salary plus my guaranteed premium earnings. I added, in order for me to consider any offer seriously, the salary would have to be at least 15% higher.

And that was exactly what I got.
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