Quora: In job interviews, recruiters always ask your current pay. Should I be honest about it? Or is it okay to lie?
As a recruiter, part of my job is ensuring that it is possible for my client companies to make competitive offers to the candidates I submit. If I don’t know a candidate’s current compensation level, I can’t submit them to my client without increasing the risk of failure. If a candidate won’t tell me when I ask, I don’t submit them. I can’t risk losing the client.
That said, when I’m working with smart people, we all understand that in most cases candidates require an increase in compensation in order to make a move.
In addition, my commission is based on a percentage of the salary I negotiate for my candidates. So, the higher the salary, the more money I make as a recruiter even though the company, my client, pays the bills. I explain this to candidates during the screening process in order to help them understand the relationships involved and develop credibility.
Like others have mentioned, a good recruiter will know if a candidate is inflating their compensation. How? I can’t speak for all of us, but I personally have spent years talking to people about their compensation and I know what the jobs in my discipline pay. There’s also a high likelihood of getting caught when the hiring company requests a W2 for their records. I think we all know what happens when candidates get caught in a lie during the interview process: Game Over.
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Kurt Schmidt is the author of “Modern Job Search” and the President and Owner of Capto Systems, an executive search firm focused on supply chain and strategic sourcing jobs in manufacturing and energy. He’s also an aspiring photographer and traveler. If you’re really looking for a job, you need this book!