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Unveiling the Salary Dilemma in HR: Transparency, Negotiation, and Fairness

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Recently, we asked professionals on LinkedIn about a sensitive issue: when candidates provide incorrect salary information. We were grateful for the many responses and the genuine concerns shared by people in our community.

We know that having accurate salary information is very important in HR and recruitment. It helps employers assess a candidate's value, decide on fair pay, and make informed hiring choices. However, we also understand that candidates may face challenges when sharing

their salary history. We sympathise with their worries about privacy, future earnings, and negotiating ability.

At Black Pearl, we believe in being understanding and considerate. We ran this poll on LinkedIn to understand how individuals feel about being transparent about their salary information. We got some amazing insights and we are very excited to share with you.

Our goal is to develop recruitment practices that are fair, and open, and show empathy to everyone involved. Let’s dive right in!

Presenting the Poll

When analysing the responses to our poll on LinkedIn, we observed a diverse range of viewpoints expressed by professionals. The participants were divided into three categories: those who responded with "Yes," indicating that the HR/recruiter should continue with the application despite incorrect salary information; those who responded with "No," suggesting that the application should not proceed; and those who selected "Maybe," indicating a hesitation or a need for further considerations.

Apart from the poll response, we also received some comments regarding this topic.

One perspective that emerged from our poll and comments was from individuals who questioned the need for HR to ask for salary proof. They expressed their confusion, seeing it as confidential information that should not be required. They believed that everyone is constantly searching for better salaries, and therefore, it seemed illogical to change jobs for a small increase

Another comment we received highlighted the belief that inquiring about a candidate's previous salary gives HR managers a strong position for negotiation. According to this viewpoint, knowing the candidate's previous salary helps in assessing their negotiation potential. However, if someone intentionally misquotes their salary, the HR department

should shift focus towards evaluating the candidate's skills and abilities. This perspective argues that previous salary alone should not be considered a definitive measure of a candidate's worthiness for a position, and a more comprehensive assessment is needed.

Furthermore, one participant emphasized the right of individuals to determine the price for the services they offer to any company. This perspective highlights the notion that candidates have the autonomy to set their values based on their skills, experience, and market demand. It suggests that candidates should be able to negotiate their desired compensation without being solely confined by their previous salary.

These comments shed light on the importance of assessing a candidate beyond their previous salary and considering factors such as skills, abilities, and the individual's right to determine their value. They advocate for a more comprehensive approach to evaluating candidates and negotiating fair compensation based on their overall qualifications and market worth. Taking these perspectives into account encourages a more nuanced understanding of the topic and allows for a well-rounded discussion that respects the rights and considerations of both employers and candidates.

The Value of Salary Disclosure

HR departments ask for salary information because it helps them understand a candidate's past earnings and value in the job market. By knowing a candidate's salary history, HR can make fair decisions about pay and negotiate job offers. It also helps them compare salaries with industry standards and ensure fairness.

Salary history is important for both employers and candidates during negotiations. For employers, it gives them an idea of what to offer based on a candidate's past earnings, experience, and demand in the job market. Candidates can use their salary history to negotiate for higher pay if their previous salary was higher than what's being offered. It gives them a chance to explain their experience and ask for better compensation.

Transparency in salary disclosure is crucial for ensuring fairness. When employers and candidates openly share salary information, it helps identify and address any pay differences within a company. This promotes equality and fairness in the workplace. By openly discussing salary expectations and history, organisations can create a fair work environment where employees are compensated based on their skills, qualifications, and contributions.

Understanding the value of salary disclosure helps us see why HR asks for this information. It helps with negotiations, ensures fair pay, and promotes transparency. Emphasising the benefits of discussing salary openly can contribute to a more equal and inclusive workplace.

Assessing Skills and Abilities

It's important to understand that salary history shouldn't be the only thing used to judge a candidate's value. While past earnings can provide some insights, they may not show the candidate's true skills, qualifications, and potential contributions to a new job. Relying only

on salary history could overlook talented individuals who were underpaid or undervalued in their previous roles. We need to consider a more complete evaluation that looks at the candidate as a whole.

When determining a candidate's worth, we need to consider their qualifications, experience, and the value they can bring to the company. Their skills, education, certifications, and relevant experience are crucial factors in deciding if they're suitable for the job. By looking at these aspects, HR can get a better idea of their abilities and how they can positively impact the organization. Evaluating candidates based on their qualifications and potential contributions ensures that we focus on their abilities instead of just their past earnings.

Instead of solely relying on salary history, there are other ways to assess a candidate's market value and negotiate fair compensation. HR can look at industry standards, market research, and internal pay ranges to figure out appropriate compensation for specific roles. Additionally, evaluating a candidate's performance in assessments, interviews, and work samples can give us insights into their abilities and potential. Taking a more holistic approach allows us to make fair compensation decisions that align with industry standards and reflect the candidate's qualifications and potential contributions.

By emphasizing the importance of assessing skills and qualifications, we move away from relying solely on salary history to determine a candidate's value. By considering the candidate as a whole and what they can bring to the organization, HR can make fair decisions about compensation. This helps attract and retain top talent and build a workforce based on merit and potential, rather than just past salary.

Acknowledging the Sensitivity of Salary Information and Privacy Concerns

We understand that salary information is personal and confidential. It is sensitive for both candidates and employers. Candidates may feel uncomfortable sharing their salary history due to privacy concerns, and employers must handle this information responsibly. Recognizing and respecting these concerns is crucial in maintaining trust and fostering a positive recruitment experience.

To encourage candidates to provide accurate salary information, it is essential to create a trusting environment. This can be achieved by emphasizing confidentiality and assuring candidates that their information will be handled with utmost care. Open and transparent

communication about how the information will be used and the benefits of sharing accurate data can help candidates feel more comfortable in disclosing their salary history.

In order to strike a balance between transparency and confidentiality, implementing frameworks for open salary discussions can be beneficial. These frameworks can establish guidelines for discussing salary expectations, market rates, and potential compensation ranges. Emphasizing the importance of confidentiality within these discussions and ensuring that sensitive information is handled securely can help build trust between employers and candidates.


In this article, we explored the topic of candidates providing inaccurate salary information. We recognized the diverse perspectives and emotions surrounding this issue. We discussed the importance of considering multiple factors when evaluating a candidate's worth, highlighting qualifications and potential contributions rather than relying solely on salary history.

To address this issue, we encouraged a balanced approach that takes into account the interests of both employers and candidates. Recognizing the sensitivity of salary information and privacy concerns, we proposed creating a trusting environment where candidates feel comfortable sharing accurate data. By implementing frameworks for open salary discussions while respecting confidentiality, we can foster transparency and fairness in recruitment processes.

In conclusion, the topic of candidates providing inaccurate salary information requires ongoing dialogue and innovation in recruitment practices. By continuously discussing and finding ways to improve, we can create a more inclusive and fair environment for all parties involved. It is through open communication, understanding, and a commitment to balance that we can strive towards recruitment processes that are respectful, transparent, and empathetic.

Let us know your thoughts and experiences on our LinkedIn post by commenting. Excited to hear from you.


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