January 24, 2019 – Vicki Pero -

Should You Ask Job Candidates How Much They Make?

A common practice companies use during the candidate evaluation process is to ask each candidate what they currently earn. Some hiring managers even take the step of asking a candidate to prove it by sharing copies of pay stubs. Both of these practices are becoming dated and are even illegal in some states and local areas. Governing bodies, employers and candidates recognize more and more that there isn't a direct connection between what someone earns today and a fair compensation package for the role they are pursuing with your organization. If you're still not convinced, consider the the below points and make this practice a thing of the past in your talent acquisition process.

There is More to the Package than Salary

Many candidates recognize that there are other considerations they need to make when evaluating a new opportunity than salary. Often, they take into consideration:

  • Is health insurance provided and at what cost?
  • Are other insurance options available such as dental, vision, life, etc. and again, at what cost?
  • Is there a 401K plan and/or profit sharing?
  • How much paid time off is offered?
  • Are there other benefits that could ultimately affect the candidate's bottom line?

A candidate may be seeking a new role because one or more of these is not available or offered at an acceptable level regardless of what they are earning in terms of salary. Candidates often say to me that they want to understand the complete compensation and benefits package as part of their decision making process.

The Role May Be Very Different from Their Current Role

Candidates expect to be paid based on the value of the role itself and the position requirements regarding experience, education, and skills. They will not see a connection between their current compensation and the role they are applying for, and you shouldn't either.

It's best to evaluate a candidate on their qualifications for the position, and if you think they would be a good fit for the role, offer what you see as a fair salary for the position. Considering the above, provide a complete picture of the compensation and benefits package during the offer process. It is even a good idea to highlight intangibles such as company culture and the type of work the person will be doing that is unique and rewarding.

A better question to ask candidates to evaluate whether they are a potential fit is "What are your salary expectations for a role like this?".

Candidates, you should absolutely be prepared to answer this question. Do your homework and ask for what you think you are worth for the role. Be clear and consistent from the beginning of the process regarding these expectations, if asked.

Compensation is very much a part of the talent acquisition process for companies and candidates. The way it is discussed is what has shifted over time to ensure this part of the selection process, much like other interview questions is linked to the role itself.

Need help with this or other parts of your talent acquisition process? Contact us today at letsconnect@marlyngroupllc.com.