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Don’t Ask Job Candidates for a Salary History

If you’re a hiring manager, the next time you interview a candidate for a new position, you have an opportunity to help your company be more equitable and fair.  

There’s one simple step your organization can take to increase diversity and fairness in hiring: Stop asking job candidates about their salary history. Why? This information gives the employer a bargaining advantage — it can offer just a bit more than an applicant’s current pay level, with confidence that they will accept. But if the employee is underpaid to start with, the company is perpetuating that inequity. When access to salary histories is limited, Black and female job applicants see a more level playing field.

In the past few years, 14 U.S. states have banned this practice, and new research found that these laws correlated with pay increases for successful Black (+13%) and female (+8%) candidates. If you’re a hiring manager, the next time you interview a candidate for a new position, you have an opportunity to help your company be more equitable and fair. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste.

From HBR.org, this tip is adapted from “Stop Asking Job Candidates for Their Salary History,” by James Bessen et al.