Salary History: What you can & can’t ask based on recent changes in laws across the country

November 14, 2017

Throughout the recruiting process, there are countless questions aimed towards finding out whether job candidates will be a fit for the company. A common topic recruiters and employers bring up when vetting jobseekers is salary. While this may have been the norm in the past, asking about previous pay history is now banned in certain locations. The reasoning for this ban is to make efforts to close the pay gap between men and women, and to encourage basing pay upon skills and qualifications instead of previous salary, according to NYC Commission on Human RightsA recent Hunt Scanlon article covered how bans on compensation history questions could change the way recruiting firms do business, and how employers recruit talent. Here is what you need to know as a recruiter, employer, or jobseeker about salary history questions where the laws are in effect.

What you CAN’T do under the new laws:

  • You can’t ask a prospective candidate what they are currently earning at a job.
  • You can’t use the candidate’s previous pay to determine an offer if you stumble across it on accident.

What you CAN do:

  • If the candidate offers salary history without prompting and voluntarily, it can be considered.
  • You can ask about a candidate’s salary expectations, as opposed to what they made prior.

What happens if you break the rules:

Where you are restricted from asking about salary, based on a recent article by Business Insider:

  • California
    • The ban covers private and public employers from asking a candidate’s pay history, set to take effect in January 2018.
  • Delaware
    • All employers are banned, taking effect in December 2017.
  • Massachusetts
    • All employers are banned, taking effect in July 2018.
  • New Orleans
    • The ban is currently in effect just for city departments and employees of contractors working for the city.
  • New York City
    • Public and private employers are banned from asking pay history questions, effective now.
  • Oregon
    • The law banning all employers from salary questions goes into effect January 2019.
  • Philadelphia
    • The ban was set to take effect in May, 2017 for all employers, however, a temporary halt has been placed on it.
  • Pittsburgh
    • City agencies are banned from the inquiry, effective now.
  • Puerto Rico
    • All employers are restricted from inquiring about candidate’s pay history, going into effect March 2018

It is important for all parties involved in any recruiting process to be aware of these new and upcoming bans on salary history questions.

As a national executive search firm, Direct Recruiters, Inc. (DRI) stays current on these laws around the country. If you have any questions about this, please contact us for a conversation.

 

Interviews: The Most Common Questions Answered

July 27, 2016

By Christy Fox, Marketing Specialist

You have a job interview coming up and you’re beginning to prepare by planning your outfit, confirming the time and place, and printing out resumes, cover letters, and reference sheets.  More importantly, you start to think about the questions that will be asked and how you should answer.  No matter how many interviews you have been on, it is likely that the first thing you do is type “interview questions” into Google to refresh your memory on the common questions and the best way to answer.  Odds are, you’ll have an idea on how to answer these questions, but do you know why they’re being asked and what the interviewer is really trying to find out?

Take a look at these 5 common questions, why interviewers are asking them, and good approaches to giving the best answers possible.

Tell us about yourself.

                This prompt often happens at the very beginning of the interview.  At first glance it seems self-explanatory why an interviewer would ask this, but normally this question is more important than you might think.  This is the opening for you, as an interviewee to make a great first impression as well as the chance to show how your background is relatable to the position.  It is a good idea to show the interviewer that you are qualified right from the start.

Do:

  • Keep the answer concise so you don’t bore the interviewer
  • Relate your background to the details of the position

Don’t:

  • Don’t get too personal
  • Don’t just list off what is already on your resume

What are your strengths?

Commonly used to gauge confidence, and again, see how you align with the position as a candidate, interviewers ask this question to identify what you are good at and find out if you will do well in the position.  Always think about this question before your interview and make sure that you are prepared with strengths to offer that show you will excel in the position.  While you may have many strengths, be sure to pick the strengths that are most relatable to the job.

Do:

  • Provide short examples of your strengths in action with recent accomplishments or positive results
  • Be confident when discussing your talents

Don’t:

  • Don’t pick a strength that is irrelevant to the position
  • Don’t be too vague – be able to elaborate

What are your weaknesses?

                This might be one of the tougher common interview questions.  Even more important than the actual weakness, employers will pay attention to how you handle this question.  As you may know, while it is important to give an actual weakness you have, you also have to tell the interviewer the ways in which you improving upon it or how you are overcoming the weaknesss.  Try to decide on a weakness that won’t directly ruin your chances at the job, but make sure to be honest.

Do:

  • Try to turn what may be perceived as a negative into a positive
  • Talk about what you are doing to improve

Don’t:

  • Don’t make a claim that you have no weaknesses
  • Don’t talk about weaknesses that will immediately eliminate you from the job opportunity

Why do you want to work here?

                This question gives you an opportunity to show off how much you know about the company you are interviewing for, and how you are the right candidate to fit into the culture.  Make sure you mold your answer to project how you can help the employer in this position.  Do research on the company, the industry, the company values, financials, and the position to give a knowledgeable answer while adding value to yourself in the eyes of the interviewer.  Check out the company’s website, LinkedIn, and other social media channels.

Do:

  • Show your interest, while speaking competently on the company and position
  • Take a look at company values beforehand and mention if they happen to match up with your personal values

Don’t: 

  • Avoid giving vague answers such as “I heard it’s a great company.”
  • Don’t focus your answer totally on yourself – try to show how you can be valuable to the company

Tell about a challenging situation and how you overcame it.

                Most interviewers will ask at least one situational question in an interview.  What they’re really trying to find out is how you handle stress, working with others, and how you solve problems.  Be prepared with examples of situations you have been in with previous experience and make sure to tell how you solved a problem while remaining professional and calm.

Do:

  • Have multiple examples of different situations because this question could vary
  • Exemplify how you came up with a solution in the situations logically

Don’t:

  • Don’t bring up a difficult situation where you were the cause

It is always smart to prepare for as many different types of questions as possible before going into an interview.  For additional interview tips, take a look at our Candidate Toolkit here:  https://www.directrecruiters.com/for-candidates/candidate-tool-kit/

3 Helpful Tips to Beginning Your Job Search

April 20, 2016

By Christy Fox, Marketing Specialist

Are you looking for a new job opportunity?  Will you be graduating soon without a job lined up?  If you are, you may be experiencing a range of feelings- excitement, fear, or happiness to name a few.  Job searching may be a brand new experience for some, while others are constantly looking for that perfect career opportunity so job hunting is very familiar.  Regardless of who you are, it is important to know how to navigate your job search process effectively.

Below are three tips that I found helpful in preparation for landing a new job:

Networking is key.

You have heard it a thousand times; “It’s all about who you know.”  You may think that your connections are not relevant to the jobs you want, but your network is still one of the most valuable tools in your job search.  Even if you send 200 resumes out online in a month, you’re more likely to get an interview or conversation from the one resume that someone you know passed along for you.  The following contacts are just some who could be a vital piece in finding your next job opportunities:

  • College professors
  • Alumni from your college
  • Past employers
  • Previous coworkers
  • Contacts from networking events

Whether you are making short phone calls, writing e-mails, attending networking events, or connecting on social media such as LinkedIn, be sure to update your contacts on your job status.  If possible, let them know you’re looking for jobs.  Even if your network can’t directly help you land a job, their network may have opportunities that you can be connected to.  Always keep the lines of communication open and be candid about what you are looking for.

It’s easier to find a job when you already have a job.

Picking up a temporary position or even an internship can be beneficial in the process of finding a full-time gig.  Many employers show concern when seeing a gap of time on your resume since your last job.  While it’s commonly known that job searching can seem like a full-time job in itself, it is important to find a way to continue working.  For example, substitute teaching jobs are available for anyone with a Bachelor’s degree and are welcomed in many school districts, along with seasonal or temporary retail jobs, or get creative and start your own side business to fill in the time gap.  Added bonuses of working while searching are the opportunity to continue networking with different people in different fields and a way to make income while you continue to job search.  Additionally, it is likely that your future employer will be impressed that you stayed occupied and continued to build your resume even during a transition phase.

Be prepared and proactive.

Job opportunities and the chance to share your professional information can show up at any time.  For that reason, it is safest to keep these job searching and interview materials up-to-date and current:

  • Resume
  • LinkedIn and any other social media profiles
  • Reference Sheets
  • Cover letter template
  • Business cards

Keep in mind to be organized with your materials and keep them on hand (or at least saved on your phone) to be able to send anytime and anywhere.  Whether you are at a job fair, having coffee with an old friend, or even at a family function, there’s always a chance to make a connection to a job opportunity.

Not only do you need to make sure all your documents are up to date, but it is important to stay current on the market you are looking in.  Following relevant industry news, job opportunities available and companies you are interested in will help to prepare you and give you an edge in interviews.  It is also helpful to follow employers or job seeking social media sites that can be beneficial to you.  Make sure to have a clear vision of what type of positions you would like, or at the very least, what job functions you are interested in so you can relay that to your network.

Job searching can be a long and exhausting process.  Just remember that networking, staying busy, and being prepared will be extremely helpful over the course of your job search.

What other tips have you found helpful while job searching?