What to Do About the U.S. Salary History Ban

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Episode 11:

The Salary History Ban: Challenges & Solutions

Senior recruiter Scott Wilson rejoins Recruiter Fuel to discuss the salary history ban. He shares the challenges this ban presents for recruiters and how to navigate compensation questions going forward.

Here’s what you need to know about the salary history ban

The ban is an effort to fight wage discrimination, specifically the gender wage gap. Currently, candidate salary history questioning is banned in CA, DE, MA, OR, and Puerto Rico as well as New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

While the ban has good intentions, the main concerns for recruiters are the unintended consequences that come along with it. For one, recruiters won’t be having as many candid conversations with candidates for fear of being penalized. As a result, candidates that don’t fully understand the market could end up pricing themselves out of a job offer.

The ban makes it especially difficult when it comes to recruiting for roles in contract or contingent staffing, where recruiters are constantly discussing compensation with candidates due to the structure of certain roles.

It’s time to adopt a new strategy

Remember: you can still discuss compensation with candidates as long as they volunteer the information. Otherwise, instead of asking, “where is your compensation now?” reframe your question as, “where do you want your compensation to be?” This way you can still provide guidance to your candidate about whether or not their salary expectations are realistic for the role.

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  1. Michael Leitschuh says:

    I think you may be confused about what is actually being banned. There is a big difference between asking a candidate what their target salary is compared to how much they are making now. As I understand the law, it is not illegal to ask a candidate for their targeted compensation. Am I missing something here?

    • Sam Sandler says:

      Hey, Michael! Thanks for commenting. Nope, not missing anything! Within the first paragraph beneath “It’s time to adopt a new strategy,” we mention that recruiters now have to reposition the salary question from, “what are you making right now?” to “what’s your target salary?” Was there something else that threw you off?

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