Question….Why do Human Resource Professionals and or Hiring Managers literally freak out when a candidate asks for a 25% bump in base salary when that new base is well within the budget?  Is the concern they’re afraid someone might find out?  If so, don’t worry employees ask their colleagues what they’re currently earning, not what they were previously getting.  And somehow, someway they all find out anyway.

It appears that in certain cities this may change since the question, “how much ya earning” may be a NO NO, sort of a “You Don’t Ask, Cause I Won’t Tell” situation.  Once passed and enacted this new legislation puts the employer in a situation where they’ll never know the size of increase.   A new paradigm will present itself whereby offers would be based on VALUE.  How appropriate this cliche would then be, “The Cost of Something is Meaningless Unless the Value is Understood”?   Now the offer would be solely based on the “perceived value” being brought into the organization and it’s ROI.

What’s the trigger?   As reported by USA Today’s Paul Davidson, “several states and cities are banning the famous question, “what are you earning” during the interview process to ensure equal pay for woman”.   And once enacted this legislation goes right to the heart of what Davidson says, “Is a fundamental unfairness of shackling a new employee to a prior salary”, which by the way in my opinion is a gender neutral problem.

Granted, if a woman (or man) is underpaid in Job A, it’ll perpetuate itself at Job B, C, D, etc. since we all know 99% of the time offers are made based on one’s previous compensation (base + bonus).  Oh how difficult it would be for decision makers, HR, hiring managers, etc. to base compensation on the perceived value the new employee brings and the potential ROI on their success.

Imagine this simple yet real situation….. A hiring manager asks a recruiter, “what’s your candidate’s current salary”, response, “so sorry I can’t tell you”.  Legislation or no legislation the next thing you’ll hear is a simple, “fine, let me review the candidate’s resume and I’ll get back to you” as they’re reaching for the shredder.  The salary question is in the DNA of both the interviewer and the interview process itself; it’s a benchmark, a crutch and unfortunately denies the candidate of compensation based on the value they offer.

Bottom line, in my world, the world of IT where demand outstrips supply,  if an employer has a budget, a range consistent with other employees in the group and a candidate who possess the skills to meet if not exceed the expectations of the role and their desired compensation is within that range, regardless of what they were once earning (you may not know anyway) ……….What the heck,  you’re 90% ahead of the game….GO FOR IT and feel good about it before another company snatches them up.   Or, just keep looking while your opportunity costs associated with the vacancy soar.

For more on this debate contact us and ask for Eric Silverman


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