Do You Have to Give Your Salary History?

Do You Have to Give Your Salary History?When you’re applying for a job, do you have to give your salary history? How can you avoid providing it without taking yourself out of the running? More and more cities and states (NYC, California, Oregon, Delaware, etc.) have moved to target the gender pay gap by preventing employers from asking for salary history during screening and interviews, while Amazon and other companies are making the change on their own. (Note that, depending on the particular law, it’s still legal for companies to ask for your salary history post-offer.) So let’s talk about it today! What are your strategies for answering salary history questions on job applications and in interviews? What do you think about these new laws, and do you live in a city or state that has passed one?

We even got a question recently from Reader F, who had gotten burned by giving her salary history. As she explained:

I had 3 interviews with a large firm. I have 5 years experience in the exact field I was interviewing for. The firm has their 1st year associate salary posted online. At end of the 3rd interview they asked my current salary at my small firm. After pushing I gave it to them — it’s $40k less than their 1st year associate salary. Through the recruiter they then offered me my current salary, and then upped by $20k. I declined, citing their advertised first year being way more. Why would this happen?

That totally stinks, reader F, and this is exactly the kind of problem all of the new legislation is aiming to prevent. (In this exact situation it might have been because she was interviewing for a non-partner track position — without knowing more about the job as listed and negotiated it’s hard to say.)

The best defense is a good offense — and knowing how to respond to salary question. Here are a few recommendations from career experts on how to carefully navigate the salary question:

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Negotiating a Salary (and Other Benefits)

negotiating a salary

2018 Update: We still stand by this advice on negotiating a salary, but you may also want to check out our most recent advice on salary negotiation.

Ladies, have you ever negotiated your salary or other benefits? Share your tales from the negotiating table with us — we want to hear your wins! This probably won’t be terribly relevant for all of the summer associates out there about to accept job offers, as those are usually lockstep/nonnegotiable offers — but perhaps one of you has a story about someone who actually did negotiate that offer.

(Pictured at top: As You Pass, originally uploaded to Flickr by Brian Talbot. Some social media images via Stencil.)

Some thoughts out of the gate on negotiating a salary:

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Salary or Title: Which is More Important?

Up! originally uploaded to Flickr by Peter π2018 Update: We still think this is a great discussion on whether salary or title is more important — but you may also want to check out our latest discussions on salary negotiation tips.

Which is more important — your salary or your title? Reader D wonders…

I would love to see a post on the relative merits of pursing a higher title or more compensation. Would readers be willing to be paid less (or the same amount) for a title bump? Or, would they demand that any title bump come with an increase in pay? Is title more important than money? Or, is money more important than title?

Interesting question. My first reaction was “money — duh” but I suppose there are situations where a title would be more important than money. We’ve talked before about how job hopping isn’t the best idea, but in some professions (for example, magazines), historically, the way to get through all the bottom-rung positions (editorial assistant, assistant editor, junior editor, etc.) was to change jobs as frequently as possible. The salary bumps were miniscule, and the job title was, generally, ceremonial — a junior editor still had to sort reader mail as much as an editorial assistant — but they helped you advance to the real editing much more quickly. So I suppose, in today’s environment — where more and more industries are taking the Hollywood “Harvard grads start in the mailroom” approach to hiring, and where people often take internship after internship because real jobs are scarce — well, maybe I would take the title over the money. (Pictured: Up! originally uploaded to Flickr by Peter π.)

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Open Thread: Charitable Giving

how-much-to-donate-to-charityWe got this question from reader C, and it struck us as an interesting topic…

I have an article/poll idea: How much do Corporette readers donate to non-profits and which types of non-profits?  I tend to donate $25-100 to all of my alumni associations (high school, college, law school), and then I have an assortment of other causes I like to support.  I also support friends who are raising money for causes or running for office.  My biggest donations go to organizations of which I sit on the board of trustees.

I’m very curious about what percentage of their salaries Corporette readers donate to non-profits.  Also, do people donate strategically, e.g., for networking or business development purposes?  I tend to feel guilty about some big-ticket fashion purchases when I think of all the needy non-profits out there, so I know this is relevant to your subject matter!  Also, given how popular your posts on finances have been, I think this might be an interesting topic for your readers.
We suspect the answer will be deeply personal to each person, so we’re going to do this as an open thread.  For our $.02, research is what generally slows us down in terms of charitable donations.  We’ve heard that oftentimes charities take a lot (like 80-90%) for administrative costs, and the money doesn’t actually go to the cause — so the question is always, which charity?  Most of our charitable giving tends to happen to the same causes that we’ve donated to in the past, or if (after a funeral) a family suggests a donation in lieu of flowers; we’ve also joined a lot of associations/societies where some of the membership fee is treated as a charitable donation.  Readers, what are your thoughts?
(Pictured: Salvation Army, originally uploaded to Flickr by zieak.)