Here at Brilliant HR, we are frequently asked complicated questions surrounding employee compensation. Questions like, “what are the best practices for asking a candidate’s current salary?” or “is it appropriate to bring up compensation during an interview? Compensation can be a tumultuous terrain, and there are few definitive answers available for candidates and Hiring Managers. Through our research on the topic, we discovered varying inconclusive results.. While one article concluded that an applicant should not give up any salary information, and stick solely to “ranges” and “current market salaries” when interviewing for a new position; the next article stated that candidates should be upfront, direct and honest with what their current salary is and what they hope to earn in their next position.. For the recruiter or Hiring Manager, there’s even less information out there;however, with new laws taking effect in many cities and states, — it’s critical for your organization to have a defined set of rules regarding compensation discussion. New York City, Albany County, New Orleans, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts and Philadelphia have all passed ordinances prohibiting employers and employment agencies from doing any of the following:
- Screening job applicants based on their current wages and benefits or other compensation or salary history.
- Requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria.
- Requesting an applicant’s prior wages or salary history or requiring an applicant to provide that information as a condition of being interviewed or considered for employment.
- Seeking the applicant’s salary history from a current or former employer.
Many of these new laws will help bridge the wage gap in the workplace; however, organizations may face greater difficulty in compensation planning and hiring without the knowledge of prior salary information. Learn about our Compensation Tool
So as a recruiter or hiring manager, where does that leave you? This article has some helpful suggestions on ways to handle these new laws.
- Remove salary history questions from job applications, including online applications.
- If you work with recruiting agencies and background check companies, ask them to exclude salary history inquiries in their process.
- Train HR, internal recruiters and other employees who interface with job applicants not to ask about salary/benefits/compensation history, but to explore other permissible areas.
- If these individuals are interacting with job applicants and the applicant offers their current/past salary without prompt, be sure your staff makes a note of it, and the circumstances surrounding the disclosure.
- Post salaries for jobs on your open requisitions – or salary ranges, which can vary upon experience. This might help attract more qualified candidates!
In conclusion, we are in unchartered territory with the new laws coming in to effect. There is no precedent for how to engage and react – so tread lightly, train your employees to use caution, take notes and document in writing to protect yourself and your company. As a candidate, these rules apply as well. Read up on the latest laws and ensure you are being polite but also firm if someone asks you a question you think might be off limits. If you have any questions on this topic or any other HR compliance topics, contact us!