There is a new trend in the workforce that has my colleagues and I going in circles. Is asking a candidate’s current salary now taboo? In Austin, Texas there are no rules regulating these conversations, but in many states and cities around the country this question is outlawed. The question, “What is your current salary?” is a now a fineable offense in those locations.
Since the list of cities and states are growing our team has made it a best practice not to ask current salary, but rather steer the conversation to what a candidate’s earnings need to be in order to make a change. We find it is more effective than “What are your salary expectations?” or “What are you currently making?”. It gives us good insight into their reasons for wanting to change jobs and also helps answer if they are in range for what the employer wants to pay for the role. For us, it is easier to have a blanket policy instead of going on a case-by-case basis. However, many clients still want this information when formulating an offer. Often it leaves us in a conundrum… to share or not to share. As recruiters, we are in the middle, having both parties best interests at heart.
We will provide the information upon request so long as it is not banned in the client’s hiring location. We do our best to give a brief education about the rapidly changing laws. I encourage clients to speak with their attorneys and Human Resource professionals. Discussing a candidate’s current and past salaries will soon be a thing of the past. Prospective employees will no longer have to guess about how to answer the dreaded salary question and prospective employers instead will share what they have budgeted for this role. These laws should also encourage employers to pay current employees fair market value in order to retain talent.
What is your team doing to address the ever-changing rules regarding the salary discussion?