What if your candidates were suddenly priceless?

For those of you unfamiliar with California's obsession with creating the most complex employment environment EVER, consider yourself fortunate. It seems like every few minutes a new workplace related law gets enacted to dictate what employers can and can't do and how they can and can't do things. 

Just recently, California's Governor Brown signed a new wage equality measure into law. Essentially, it's intended to ensure that women and men working in the same/similar jobs earn the same/similar pay. Sounds reasonable enough, right?

After all we keep reading and hearing about alleged institutionalized inequalities causing women to earn substantially less than men in the same jobs. In aggregate, the statistics sure seem to agree with that premise. And, of course with or without any additional context, many people tend to believe those statistics reflect reality. 

But, moving on to something potentially equally controversial... 

Throughout my career I've noticed that in general most recruiters feel obligated to ask job candidates about their current/previous earnings and feel ENTITLED to that information. Presumably the mindset behind those inquiries is that there would be no way on earth to continue the conversation without the candidate divulging those figures. 

To some recruiters, it makes no difference at all that the hiring company most likely has a budgeted pay range in mind and is already expecting to compensate the selected individual based on the value placed on that role, combined with the perceived level of contribution that candidate would make. That being the case, wouldn't it be more expedient (dare I suggest a more positive candidate experience) to just explain the company's pay structure and find out if the candidate is interested in further discussion regardless of his/her current or recent direct deposit amount? 

I realize I may be in the minority, but I've never really considered what a person (especially me) is currently earning or previously earned an accurate reflection of what s/he should earn in a different position, at a different time, at a different company. Without additional context of that information and the situation involved, how can it be THAT relevant? 

Not that I'd ever be able to convince anyone to change her/his mind about any of the above matters, nor do I care to try...

However, related to the intro about CA wanting to earn the "most complicated regulatory atmosphere for employers" trophy, I was amused to see the following "pending" legislation: State Assembly Bill 1017

LINK: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/asm/ab_1001-1050/ab_1017_b...

EXCERPT: 

432.3. An employer shall not do any of the following:

Orally or in writing, personally or through an agent, seek salary history information, including, but not limited to, compensation and benefits, from an applicant for employment for an interview or as a condition of employment. 

So, as the title implies... what would you do if you could no longer ask your candidates about their $$$$? Would you go around like Flo from Progressive Insurance handing them a "name your price tool?" Or would you label him/her a "tool" for not supplying information to satisfy your intrusive line of questions? 

Views: 349

Comment by Katrina Kibben on October 9, 2015 at 10:18am

Kelly, another great article - thank you. It's definitely double edged - recruiters feel entitled to the information and the job seeker feels like they have to do everything the recruiter asks. You hit the nail on the head re: there's already a budget for any man OR woman who joins the company (and this is a secret so many job seekers have 0 idea about). 

Comment by Eric Putkonen on October 9, 2015 at 12:28pm

Great article.  One way around is we ask for desired salary...and so there is no mention of salary history that the pending law covers.

However, I would will say that I don't believe salary history is relevant and I am one of those recruiters who believes it may be advantageous to post our salary ranges in our jobs.  I wrote about some of this in my blog post "Transparency to Increase Trust, Tenure, & Talent Pool" - http://www.neorecruiter.com/2015/08/transparency-to-increase-trust-...

Comment by Eric Putkonen on October 9, 2015 at 12:28pm

Great article.

One way around is we ask for desired salary...and so there is no mention of salary history that the pending law covers.

However, I would will say that I don't believe salary history is relevant and I am one of those recruiters who believes it may be advantageous to post our salary ranges in our jobs. I wrote about some of this in my blog post "Transparency to Increase Trust, Tenure, & Talent Pool" - http://www.neorecruiter.com/2015/08/transparency-to-increase-trust-...

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on October 9, 2015 at 6:48pm

I think that legislation is rather unlikely to pass, and if it did, it would make salary negotiations much more difficult.  It opens an endless cart-before-the-horse scenario.  In my experience, "budgets" are often highly flexible, and "projected salary ranges" often get revised based on competitive market data.

Realistically, I think it would be unconstitutional or impossible to outlaw a recruiter asking a candidate for their current ballpark compensation level.  I'm not an employer, myself, and the idea of me being an "agent" for some other party is quite ambiguous, if I might be just gathering information for my own purposes.  

Thanks for sharing, Kelly!

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on October 19, 2015 at 11:43pm

thanks for commenting: Katrina, Erik and Nicholas! 

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