The One Question You Can't Ask An Applicant





Just when we thought things were tougher than usual to hire in our industry, more and more states are enacting laws that have banned the requests of salary history and compensation. Currently there are 20 states thus far that have said it is illegal to ask a potential candidate what they are currently earning, or for some sort of history of their compensation. 


Why is this? 

  • The goal of this ban is to close the gender wage gap. The rationale behind these laws is to force employers to make offers based on the work being done and the work experience it takes to successfully fulfill the role. It makes it less likely that currently underpaid applicants will not have their salary history used against them and continue to be underpaid.


 What can I ask? 

  • It’s ok to still share the salary range of the position in which you are hiring, and it’s also ok to ask a candidate what their “desired” salary range is. We like to break the ice on that sensitive subject by asking, “What salary range/wage would make you excited to get out of bed each day and join our team?” This is an easy way to get the conversation going.


When can I ask? 

  • You are allowed to request salary history from an applicant AFTER an offer has been extended AND accepted, but are only allowed to use it as a confirmation of the history. 


 Last tip. 

  • Go back over your application process, whether it be an online career page, or good old fashioned paper application, take off any salary history requests. Make sure anyone within your organization that is screening applicants has full understanding of what is legal to ask, and what questions can get you in enough trouble that might force you to contact outside legal counsel. Even if your state or area isn't currenlty listed, it's good practice to get into, more will be added! To see if you are banned:


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