A reader writes:
I have an interview tomorrow and they’ve asked me to fill out the job application, as well as print two copies of my resume. On the application, it asks for my salary history. I’m reluctant to give this out because I’m afraid they’ll try to lowball me for an offer. I accepted my current job in 2011 in a terrible economy and know that I’m overqualified for it based on my experience and education.
My entire compensation with benefits is approximately $6k higher than my actual salary (by itself). I have the exact number because it says on my HR profile: “Company paid benefits represent an additional 15.20% of your annual compensation. Your total annual benefit and compensation is X.”
Would it be ok to put the higher number? If I got an offer and they called my current company to verify, I’m not lying, so would there be a problem with this?
No, it’s disingenuous. After all, if they offered you a salary of $75,000 and later told you, “Oh, it’s really $65,000 but the value of your benefits adds another $10,000,” wouldn’t you feel they’d lied to you? Plus, if they verify your salary with your employer (which many do), they’ll realize you misled them.
You’re better off either (a) declining to disclose your salary history altogether since it’s really none of their business anyway (and since you already have an interview, you’re more likely to get away with this) or (b) being honest and explaining why you’re worth more than your current salary.