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06/27/19 at 8:57PM UTC
Illegal Job Questions about Salary
I'm interviewing for a new role outside my company and the recruiter asked me my current salary. He is based in Chicago, but I'm based in Los Angeles. It is illegal to ask a woman her salary in CA, so at first I deflected the question and said it would depend on the total comp package. Then asked me again several times, and said because there was so much competition for this job, he insisted on me giving him a number so neither of us waste our time. He made me feel pressured and like we needed to be on the same page and said, "Well, I need to make sure you aren't going to ask for $500k or anything." I felt really uncomfortable, so I just told him what I make. He said, "Great, we are on the same page and you are in the range for this role." I got off the call feeling really unsettled and unsure of the whole experience. This is a highly coveted position at a startup about to go IPO, and I really want this job, but this experience left me with a bad taste in mouth. I called a friend and asked if I did the right thing given his insistence. She told me I shouldn't have shared my salary, and they could make me a lower offer because I did that, and that also it was illegal for them to ask in the first place. I didn't know what else I should have done. She suggested I should have asked instead for the range for the position and told him whether or not my expectations were in line with the band, rather than providing my exact salary. Now I'm really confused and feel like I messed up, but I was also afraid he wouldn't put me through to the next round without knowing my compensation, and he was putting a lot of pressure on me to tell him and it made me feel like I had to as to not cause waves in the conversation. I did make the next round, and now I'm afraid I've accidentally low balled my own offer if I get the job. My friend suggested in my next interview I ask for the range for this role, but they already know what I make. Help!!!!
The Liberated Tribe
Take control of your career and pay!!
06/27/19 at 9:27PM UTC
Hey! I'm sorry that that was such a poor experience. I've done lots of interviewing and my past and it's too bad that the interviewer could not read the scenario. I totally understand how you're feeling in regards to sharing that information. You're right, you don't want to put a number out there and feel like you've low-balled yourself. You ultimately have a couple of choices here. You can go into the next interview prepared to bring up salary and have a constructive conversation, you can suck it up and see what happens when the actual offer is presented, or you can file a complaint. Obviously the third option will not get you the job but it'll hopefully prevent those scenarios from happening in the future. In my opinion, I would keep going through the interviewing process and wait until an offer is given. At that point, you can then negotiate. If you need help with negotiating your offer, I'm happy to help you negotiate your salary further. You can also always make the argument that while you shared your current salary, that is not what you'd be looking to make in starting a new position. There are always ways to engage a conversation, from a professional standpoint, while also getting what you want. In the moment, you really weren't given a lot of options. If you would have insisted NOT to share..... You may not have had the second interview. It's a really crappy situation but you did the best that you could. Don't dwell on it :) the important thing is that you've advanced further. Once you get the offer then let's negotiate it up from there! Good luck in round 2!!
06/28/19 at 4PM UTC
What an AWESOME answer - I'd love to have a friend like you in my circle!!
06/29/19 at 1:13PM UTC
06/29/19 at 8:09PM UTC
Beautifully articulated. :) I love your perspective on this!
Source/Manage/Coach/Scale High Performance Teams
06/27/19 at 9:34PM UTC
Agree, ask for the salary range. At this stage of the process that's a legitimate question. Once you see where your current salary is on the range, focus on nailing the interviews and getting an offer. If you receive it and it is indeed low balled, be prepared to counter with a reminder of the compelling list of above and beyond skills that you are bringing to the role that would necessitate a higher salary offer. Be professional and confident, state the reasons why clearly, and ask for that higher salary. Negotiate until you feel comfortable that you've gotten what you want. Go get it girl!
I help women and minorities land dream jobs!
06/28/19 at 2:56AM UTC
Check out this template that I included in my LinkedIn post about How to Answer the Salary Question to Minimize Your Diversity Pay Gap https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-answer-salary-question-minimize-your-diversity-pay-sandra-z-diaz
06/28/19 at 1:28PM UTC
If you're made it to the next round, you can always negotiate. In the future, absolutely tell the recruiter that, as you live in CA, that question is off the table. Ask for their range, you decide if you fall into the range or not, and can say "Yes, that's doable" or "I'm sorry, that won't work for me."
HiEd Professional/PT Fitness Inst
06/28/19 at 2:04PM UTC
I'm sorry you had this experience. When we are hiring, we give the range to candidates when we call to invite to the first interview so that we don't waste anyone's time - theirs or ours. I work in a public university, so if that person is already an employee, we can see what they are making, but we still give them that range and option to duck out at point of interview.
Mom, story-teller, social media professional.
06/28/19 at 3:27PM UTC
Hmm... This is not at all an odd question to me. I live in Georgia and every job I have ever applied to has asked for my current salary range. I always pad it a little and am very quick to tell a recruiter that I'm not willing to move outside a current company unless it's a 15 percent range. Different experiences for different people, but this isn't at all a red flag for me. And I would add, be firm that you expect a certain salary range.
06/29/19 at 1:14PM UTC
It’s something true for CA state residents...I find it frustrating that laws like this are patchwork and by state....
06/29/19 at 2:55PM UTC
Yes, in California it is illegal to ask for an applicant's salary history. The law is meant to 'level the playing field' for those who have elected to take time out from their career to care for family members or other reasons. The recruiter should have complied with this, according to: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/california-salary-history-ban-questions.aspx
06/28/19 at 3:34PM UTC
If you encounter this again, I would remind the recruiter that you live in a state where it is illegal for them to ask the question. We are removing the salary question in our application even though it is not illegal where we are at. We don't want to break the laws or requirements of others states since we get several candidates from out of state.
06/28/19 at 3:37PM UTC
You could have answered, “I know you want the actual number, but for privacy as well as legal reasons in California, I’m not able to share my current salary. Based on what I’ve heard so far, I’d expect your range to be anywhere from $XX,000 to $XX,000. Does it seem like we’re on the same page?” And state a big range—like $30K . You have no idea what will come out in the interview! But at this stage, the next time salary is raised—such as second interview or offer stage—say, “I was pressed to give my current salary to the recruiter even though I live in California where the question is against the law, but for this role, I’d be expecting a salary of $XX,000 and a potential bonus of XX%.. Would that work with your budget for the position?”
06/29/19 at 3:12PM UTC
Perfect reply, I'm going to use this one!! It's funny - we've been so conditioned to this question that we consider it normal, but it's somewhat like a new romantic partner asking intimate details about your previous relationship. I see it like this - an employer needs someone to perform a role, they assess the value of that role, and what one was paid prior to taking that role is really none of their beeswax.
07/01/19 at 12:03PM UTC
"what one was paid prior to taking that role is really none of their beeswax. " LOVE THAT! haha I'm heading into a second interview for a position that I'm really excited about, but it's with a very small business and I'm nervous to have the salary conversation. In a small business, every penny counts so they can't always offer the highest compensation in the industry. Luckily, in NJ it is also illegal to ask for prior compensation unless the prospective employer has already made the candidate an offer with a salary amount stated, so I hopefully have some wiggle room!
06/28/19 at 4:18PM UTC
I was curious whether this was an internal recruiter working for the prospective employer - or is this an agency recruiter who could potentially make money from a placement fee if you are to be offered this position? If its an internal recruiter the way this was handled presents a red flag to me. This recruiter is not properly trained on hiring practices. As others have indicated, you could have answered that in California it is against the law to be asked for your current salary. However, you would be happy to share your salary expectations. I am a recruiter who works in Illinois. Many of the positions I work on are outside of the state. However, we are constantly trained on the appropriate way for a recruiter to ask about salary: What are your salary expectations for this role. Please make sure you do your homework on the culture of this organization. This type of aggressiveness should not be tolerated in a professional environment.
Social Media & Employment Branding Specialist
06/29/19 at 1:24PM UTC
My standard response is a first "Well given the role as you've defined it, market rates in my area are around $X" or start at X or however I want to hedge. If they keep pushing for I need to know your number a helpful "How about this - I know that laws are different in your area and mine, you may not realize this is an illegal question in my area. But I do understand the reason, I totally agree we'd like to insure we are in the same ballpark and I do agree that wasting time is not helpful. So we can both stay on the right side of local law, tell me your range and I will let you know if I would be happy falling within that."
06/29/19 at 3:04PM UTC
I did not know this was illegal in California. I’m in Washington but recently interviewed with two different California companies. Both asked me my current salary. I responded with “I would expect the base range for this position to be between x and y, is this correct?”
06/29/19 at 5:12PM UTC
This question is ONLY illegal if a CA based employer asks it. It’s not illegal to ask if the employer is in another state.
06/29/19 at 5:13PM UTC
California's Salary History Ban: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions. As of Jan. 1, California employers are required to comply with California Labor Code Section 432.3, which prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories.Jan 31, 2018
Co-founder of brightmeetsbrave.com
07/01/19 at 9:34PM UTC
I have a couple of thoughts on this subject. First of all, many recruiters follow precedent set by the company who is hiring them, so beware that this potential employer is more concerned about a dollar sign, rather than a potentially high fit employee. Please keep in mind that interviewing process is a two-way street, you need to be comfortable with how the interview is going. I would strongly encourage you to do some research on what this position is valued at, and what your worth is. Look at tools such as paysa.com, glassdoor (know your worth calculation), or payscale calculator of your value. Then look at what a typical compensation for somebody in that particular industry and level is. If you could reach out to your network and ask a few men & women on what is expected range to be (you can ask mentors, somebody who has a similar role, etc) to help you gauge the range. It's a reasonable request at that point to ask the recruiter what their range is, because you will be armed with what your value and the market value of that position should be. If they are going too low, will you really be happy to take their offer? Please make sure you don't sell yourself short. And to answer your question - does it matter that you have disclosed your current salary? Well, a little bit if you go through exercise of what you are worth and what the market value of the job they are hiring for; and a lot of bit if you just hope they will make you a fair offer. Your counter could be along the line of - "I know I have disclosed my salary before and you have shared that it's within the range, but after doing some research and considering the role and the responsibilities that come along with this new position, I am interested in this position as long as compensation is representative of the responsibilities. Can you please share what kind of salary range as well as other benefits like bonus structure and stock options are available for this role?" It's not just the employer who has leverage, you have leverage of your knowledge, skills and potential! If you accept the position and feel like they have low balled you, it will breed nothing but resentment and won't make for optimal working environment. Good luck!
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