On September 29, 2019, Illinois passed a new law that prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. The law also allows employees to discuss their pay and benefits with colleagues, a practice employers often frown upon. These measures are intended to help close the gender pay gap and eliminate pay inequality. The new law applies to both salaried and hourly workers. However, Illinois is not the only state to have this law. There are currently 14 states that have banned the wage issue and that number is growing.
So how should employers handle the new law? Knowing someone’s salary history is a crucial part of determining what that candidate’s salary should be at your company. There are some steps employers can take to avoid not being able to ask about wages. These steps revolve around expectations and research.
Ask about expectations
If employers haven’t already done so, they should start asking candidates about their salary expectations at the first interview. Asking about salary expectations lets the employer know if the candidate’s desired salary is within the salary range of the job. From the start, this will make them fit or unfit for the position. If the candidate’s desired salary is within the range, then he knows that there will be no problem with future salary if he offers him an offer. If the employer really likes the candidate, then he can give you an offer that fits further up the spectrum to help ensure that he will accept the offer.
Employers may even include this question on your job application, prior to your first interview. If candidates select a salary well above the salary for the job, that can automatically remove them from the candidate pool.
In addition to asking about expectations, you should also set your OWN salary expectations. At the first interview, tell the candidate what the job’s salary range is so they know up front. This would be a good question to ask after asking about their expectations so they don’t set their expectations around yours. If your salary expectations don’t meet the range for the job, ask if it’s okay. If there is any form of hesitation, it’s probably not okay, even if they say it’s okay. Beware of any hesitation.
Do your salary research
Before your first interview with a candidate, a good rule of thumb is to research the industry and position you are currently working in. This allows you to gauge what his current salary might be. Useful resources for research include the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor, and job descriptions in the same field/position. Having an idea of what your current salary range might be allows you to prepare for what your salary expectations might be. If your expectations are well above the salary you found in your research, you know your desired salary is higher than the industry average.
You’ll also want to make sure you continue to research the industry. you job and the positions for which you are looking for candidates. To remain competitive, you must offer competitive salaries and ensure that you meet and/or exceed the salary expectations of the industry and position.
No longer being able to ask candidates about their salary can cause a bit of a hurdle for employers, but here are 3 ways to get past that hurdle. Asking about expectations, setting expectations, and doing your salary research will be key to the future of hiring.