The question of “how much were you making in your previous position?” is #Cringe worthy. Why? Because in most cases, money is a taboo subject.
The question of previous compensations can drudge up the complex feelings and views— as if the interview process wasn’t stressful enough, now we have this to deal with!
Money extends to so many facets of your everyday life. (Alsemgeest, 2016, p.394) It confers social power and can be seen as a measure of worthiness and create an enhanced image and social structure for the individual. Money is also linked to happiness: the belief that more wealth brings greater happiness tends to be strengthened by the materialism.
During the interview process, the question of your previous compensation can make the interviewee feel embarrassed and conflicted as they are truly placed between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, honesty is always the best policy. However, if the goal is to land an opportunity to make more money, the question of how much does one roundup or inflate reality — will ultimately surface. This issue is magnified for those who are currently underpaid.
Your response speaks volumes. (Leonhardt, 2017) Declining to answer the question is risky. Refusing to answer can cost you the job, and sidestepping the question could get you a lower salary compared to those who answered (p.20).
In an attempt to (end the awkwardness for job seekers and) close the wage gap, the question of previous compensation is coming to an end. Thanks to new laws that prohibit employers from asking job candidates about their past compensation before making a salary offer. The law is currently in effect in New York City, Delaware, and California – and is quickly gaining momentum.
See where your city and state stand on this issue. Follow the links below, and learn more about the law and how it relates to you as a job seeker.
Gowland, L. (2017, March 9). When Employers Ask About Your Salary History, Say This. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/leliagowland/2017/03/09/when-employers-ask-about-your-salary-history-say-this/#25c1db487d9c
Pelisson, A., & Cain, Á. (2017, October 26). 9 places where people may never have to answer the dreaded salary question again. Business Insider. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/places-where-salary-question-banned-us-2017-10
Scheiber, N. (2018, February 16). If a Law Bars Asking Your Past Salary, Does It Help or Hurt? The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/business/economy/salary-history-laws.html
Cain, Á, & Pelisson, A. (2018, April 09). 9 places in the US where job candidates may never have to answer the dreaded salary question again. Retrieved April 09, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/places-where-salary-question-banned-us-2017-10
Added 12APR2018, See LinkedIn Discussion:
Cain, Á. (2018, April 12). 9 places in the US where job candidates may never have to answer the dreaded salary question again. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6389919100193243136
Alsemgeest, L. (2016). Talking about Money Is Taboo: Perceptions of Financial Planning Students and Implications for the Financial Planning Industry. Industry And Higher Education, 30(6), 394-401.
Leonhardt, M. (2017). Ace the Money Question. Money, 46(8), 20.