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Are You Hiring? Don’t Ask This Question!

You can ask job candidates a plethora of questions, but there’s one we strongly recommend you avoid:  “How much money did you/do you make?”

There’s no harm in asking why a candidate wants to work with your company, what motivates them, or how knowledgeable they are with certain computer applications, but lawmakers nationwide are pushing for a Salary History Ban. 

The Salary History Ban is NOT active in Arizona yet, but Focus HR, Inc. recommends you cut salary history questions from your pre-employment processes to avoid wage discrimination and gender pay gaps.

Best practice: Focus on the Candidate’s Work Experience, Proof of Job Performance, and other Market Factors.

Five Things a Person’s Salary History Says (or Doesn’t Say!) :

  1. It can tell you how much they got paid at each job they’ve previously held.
  2. It does NOT convey their worth to a new employer in a new role.  There are many reasons a person may take a job below their capability and market value. Every assignment is different and the level of pain will differ from organization to the next.
  3. It does NOT tell you how good they are at their job.
  4. It does NOT convey their passion, enthusiasm, or team mentality.
  5. Salary history is useless as a gauge of someone’s talent.  There are overpaid and underpaid people everywhere.

We Recommend You:

  • Remove questions from print and online applications that request any kind of compensation history.
  • Train your hiring managers to stop asking questions about previous pay.  This includes questions about commissions and, in some cases, benefits.  Hiring managers should, instead, ask about a candidate’s earning expectations.
  • Create a salary range for each position in your organization.  Variations should be based on education, merit, and previous work experience.

To get expert advice on your company’s hiring practices click here.


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