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The new sketchy interview tactic financial firms may be employing

I got nothing

I got nothing

I recently sat down with an experienced consultant who had just moved from one Big Four firm to another, and he rattled off an interesting anecdote about the hiring process.

The goal of the move was to earn a promotion and an accompanying pay raise, among other less important details. He was honest about his reasoning behind looking and was open about his current compensation, as well as the raise he would require to change firms. He was caught firmly by surprise as the process moved to the offer stage.

The hiring firm, of which he asked to remain nameless, asked for proof of his current salary, clearly in an effort to justify his financial demands. The company wanted recent pay stubs and W2 forms going back two full years.

While such a request is common with my former vocation – recruiting, as commissions are direct evidence of success – it struck us both as odd, especially considering he was admittedly an individual contributor, not someone responsible for bringing in business. I reached out to several consulting firms, including all of the Big Four, to see if this is a common interview tactic, but none responded to requests for comment.

In your experience, was this an odd request? Does it happen in banking as well? How would you have responded? Let us know in the comment section below. He thought about it, got some advice, and declined to provide the evidence of his pay, despite being honest in the interview. He still got the job offer.

Comments (8)

  1. This is almost always done for jobs in South Africa

    Christiaan Ndoro Reply
  2. I would have done the same, i.e., not provided. Can you share what exactly he said to them when he told them he would not be providing those documents?

    I always tell those that ask for that sort of information that it’s not what I am being paid that I am basing compensation request-requirements on but the amount of added value I am expected to generate in the position being contemplated.

  3. Hey, if the guy is as cold-blooded a mercenary, as he sounds, in it solely for the money (not that there’s anything wrong with that, especially these days when companies have zero loyalty to their own people, even the best ones, who maybe missed a daughter’s wedding to work overtime to meet an arbitrary deadline that in the end didn’t make the slightest difference) and willing to jump ship the minute a higher bid is dangled in front of them, what’s wrong with the bidder demanding proof of his earnings claims?

    After all, customers at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch get to have a close look at, and maybe even a squeeze of, the “merchandise” before making their choice and paying their money, and this is very close to the same kind of transaction.

    If he refused the financial “body cavity search” they demanded, they shouldn’t have hired him. They made a mistake by caving in–he’ll soon be back with more demands, or cleaning out his desk to move on to the next buyer of his “goods.’

  4. I had a recruiter request this on the first call (he called me) for an analyst position at a hedge fund (pretty known fund). I just remined him he called me and I’m interested but not eager to leave where I am.

    I asked around after and most people told me they photo shop paystubs when asked.

  5. The majority of multinational companies in Hong Kong use this tactic to gain the upper hand in negotiations and you cannot say no, because if you do they’ll just move onto the next candidate who will provide them the details, so it’s a sad state of affairs.

  6. Employers and recruiters can basically do anything in regards to digging in to your privacy, including, but not necessarily using illegal tactics. There is no effective government overseeing for this problem. The burden is entirely on the candidate to prove that illegal methods were used. However, I bet the only an insignificant minority has the means to press any charges, considering that a jobseeker has already too much to cope as an unemployed person. The offer vs demand equation dictates the rules here. If a candidate has options, that candidate will tell such recruiters to that that job and *&^@!!! it, since an employer who resources to those tactics would not be a nice employer to work for.

  7. I was under the mistaken impression that potential employers were to ask questions/requirements that are relative to performing the specific job. But then with fake jobs that recruiters advertise, I am not surprised. Please let us respond to fake job ads with photo shopped documents. Seems that would be a form of “equal employment opportunity” considering the lack of ethics displayed by recruiters today.

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