Jim Grant's Blog

Help for Job Seekers – It's all about the process!

Employer Asks for Confidential Info Before an Offer is Made

I just received an email from a job seeker who was looking for help in responding to a request from an employer for a copy of his last pay stub after only one interview and before an offer was made.

When an employer asks for confidential information (like pay stubs, social security numbers, birth dates) before an offer is made, one of several things can be happening:
   * It is a legitimate request. It is part of the employer’s standard procedures.
   * The information may be used to rule you out. (e.g. your pay is perceived as too high or you are perceived to be too old.)
   * The employer is doing market research on salary and has no intention of making you an offer.
   * It is an outright scam with the intention of stealing your identity or some other fraudulent act.
The problem is that you don’t know in advance.

I have not done a formal survey. However, I believe such requests from an employer before an offer is made, negotiated, and agreed to is very uncommon. It is rare that another job seeker tells me that it is happened to him/her. I also believe it is premature for an employer to ask for such information? Why? Because an employer can make an offer contingent upon any information discovered during a background check or subsequently provided by you, the job seeker. Also, it costs an employer to have a background check done. It is not a lot of money, but it seems to be reasonable to think that an employer would be interested in saving the time, effort, and money by waiting to do the background check after the offer is made for those few cases in which an offer is not acceptable.

When I do get asked how to deal with such a request before an offer is made, my suggestion is that you say “I will be glad to provide whatever information you need after an offer is made.”

Please note. The employer’s people may not accept that kind of response. You run the risk of losing the opportunity if you don’t provide the information when it is requested. If you are desperate for a job, have been experiencing extreme personal or financial stress, or this is your dream job for which you have been waiting for years, then you may want to use a response that is softer than what I proposed.

However, in that case, I would suggest that before you acquiesce and provide the requested information that you ask yourself “Do I really want/need to work for an employer who plays the game with such strong-arm tactics?”


October 13, 2010 - Posted by | Interviewing


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  6. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know
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    Comment by chatroulette | May 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Boris(?) – Thanks for the heads up.

      I never uploaded any pictures, so I presume it is something that WordPress is doing.

      I just quickly scrolled through all my posts. I didn’t catch anything wacky.

      Can you cite a specific case that I could go check?

      Jim Grant
      Leader and Cofounder of the Chagrin Valley Job Seekers (CVJS)
      Not all those who wander are lost.
      Public Web Site: http://www.chagrinvalleyjobseekers.org

      “I train and connect job seekers.”

      Comment by Jim Grant | May 2, 2013 | Reply

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