I have gone through two interviews for a position as a Branch Manager and now the prospective employer has asked for my W2 form from ’04. Why does he want it and should I provide it?
You did not say what you would be a Branch Manager of in your post if you take the position. It is not unusual for recruiters or hiring managers who are interviewing candidates in sales or other commission-type work to ask to see a W2 in order to better judge your career record. It is easy to say “Grew territory by over $2.5 million” but if your commissions do not show it, it might be a red flag.
If you were not on a commission- or part-commission basis in your previous position, the hiring manager may want to see your W2 in order to decide if your salary expectations are in line with their budget. If you were making significantly less or significantly more in your last position than the position for which you are applying, you can expect the W2 to raise questions in the mind of the hiring manager.
The best course of action is to ask the hiring manager why he/she needs the form. If they are uncomfortable answering that question, then you are justified in stating you are uncomfortable in providing that information unless you understand their intent.
There is a great resource on how to handle all salary negotiation questions, including this one. It is called “Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute” and it is written by Jack Chapman. I highly recommend it for finding the answers to the tough questions and for negotiating compensation packages.