Salary History is History

January 16th, 2018 by Dave Nerz

In North America some laws regarding the collection of salary history information have gone into effect and there are others pending implementation for January 1, 2018. The locations and jurisdictions will become more difficult to monitor and, in some cases, you need to consider that a candidate lives in a covered location, the employer has an operation in one of these locations, or that a candidate might be in one of these locations while a phone interview or screen is happening. Assumptions otherwise could end up creating risk for you as an independent recruiter.

Here are some things to do that will help you prepare for a trend that will not go away anytime soon:

  • REMOVE questions and fields about “current salary” from your database, forms and questionnaires.
  • If you are having candidates come to a site to apply, make sure the job board or tool you use does not REQUIRE salary history.
  • LEARN new ways of discussing salary expectations with candidates. Maybe it should start with, “My firm XYZ has a specific salary history policy and we DO NOT ask about your salary history. But I do have a few questions that will help me evaluate your needs and potential fit for openings that our firm is working. May I ask you a few questions?”
    • What kind of a salary range are you seeking? OR Is there a targeted level of income you expect? OR Tell me about your financial expectations?
    • Is there a level of compensation below which I should not consider you a candidate for positions our firm works?
    • Anything else you would like to volunteer regarding your salary expectations?
    • Work with your lawyers to ensure comfort and their clearance with any questions you are using.
  • EDUCATE your staff and run mock interviews/role play situations to make sure everyone is well-rehearsed and addressing the salary issue as you intend.
  • MAKE staff sign a document that states what your salary history policy is and that they agree to abide by it 100%.
  • INFORM clients about the changes you are making. Offer to help them with salary survey data to price jobs. Make sure they know why salary history will not be a part of documentation coming their way in the years ahead.
  • COACH all interviewers — including those done by clients — to avoid direct questions regarding salary history.

As with age discrimination and other new policies that impact our industry there will be a learning curve and a flurry of fear. Make sure you are on the right side off that curve. Lead — do not follow — and you will avoid being a sample case in the courts of laws. Avoid the flurry of fear by learning all you can about this topic.

How are you addressing this pending change at your firm?

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