Banning Salary History Questions

A recent article in a SHRM Talent Bulletin mentioned the fact that some States are passing laws prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories. There is currently a bill in Congress to ban this practice nationwide.

The Bulletin mentions that employers should start thinking about the elimination of these questions going forward.

Many feel additional laws will eliminate anything that may influence the decision process. That could not be farther from the truth. You cannot legislate common sense no matter what you do. Rules and regulations have made it almost impossible to help or coach any applicants because of the fear of a complaint or lawsuit. Pretty soon you will just have to grunt questions throughout the interview process.

In our practice, it makes sense to ask these questions depending on the position and the person. Will someone be satisfied making $30,000 when the last job paid $50,000? That is a legitimate concern since an applicant may jump at the first offer at the old salary. The staffing company is then left holding the bag on that decision.

Government efforts are better focused on helping job seekers be prepared through education, job training and making it easy for a business to hire, not putting up roadblocks for business to hop over.

Three Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Today’s Job Market

Almost every day I am asked about the lack of qualified applicants.  There are generally lots of applicants but very few keepers.  Keepers would have the following:

-Reliable transportation

-Semi-stable job history

-Can communicate

-Limited background issues

-Actually show up to interview and work

Since I have owned my staffing company for the last 13 years there are several constants in the job market.

1-No one can follow directions.   Simple job postings with easy to follow steps cannot be followed.  Applicants routinely call with questions that are clearly answered in the posting.  Providing a rudimentary resume is a huge chore.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually read the document before sending it.

2-If your company is not reaching out to Millennials via the internet, you will be working at your company by yourself.  Having a good website, social media pages etc. allow folks to check your company out prior to sending in an application.  A bad company reputation can steer applicants away to your competitors. Are your sites mobile optimised? 40% of our internet traffic is via smart phone.

3-Loyalty and work ethic have changed.   Gone are the days of an employee working until retirement at your company.  You should be ecstatic for someone that makes it 2 years! In the next several years, Millennials and Gen Z will make up over 50% of the workforce.  This is not your Father’s workforce.  They value more time off, access to offsite work, more positive reinforcement and rapid advancement.

Knowing that these factors exist, dreamstimecomp_17241922 how do we proceed? Adjust your hiring parameters.  Plan for more training and development.  More  importantly, cross train to provide variety and backup  for when your workforce eventually leaves.  Don’t try to swim against the current, you won’t make it and be miserable in the process.


See the 10 best jobs for Generation Z

Now that the first wave of Generation Z is in the process of leaving school for the labor market, Carlsbad, California-based CareerCast has compiled a list of the best jobs for this group of young people born from 1995 through 2010.

According to the report, this demographic accounts for 25 percent of the total population. As baby boomers retire and Generation Z employees enter the workforce, the American workforce is growing demonstrably younger.


This group of young workers has been exposed to technology from birth, which means they are cut out for professions such as computer and information systems analyst, information security analyst and software developer, some of the hottest jobs for this group.

Some of these jobs pay more than $100,000 a year and have high growth outlooks, according to the report.

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Poor customer service. Who answers your phone?

cartoon biz guyWith billions of dollars spent on today’s online marketing communication: Text , Snap Chat, Facebook, Twitter etc. you would think businesses would think about who is actually answering the office phone. Why is this money being spent when the first actual person contacted in your organization is a total dimwit? The money lost on this poor reception could pay for your whole online media campaign.

We are routinely asked to locate a receptionist at the lowest paid entry point in the company. This person will be looking at their Facebook feed while your new prospective customer rots on perma-hold. Or is talking to the telemarketer because he “sounds cute” while your top customer’s service problem is transferred to the breakroom. Unsure about your situation? Have someone test your First Responder and see how it plays out. It might save you a boatload of cash.

Is your GPA the most important thing?

Recently I saw a Facebook post regarding our youth education matching the skills most companies want in employees.  Guess what?  Employers and youth education are not on the same trajectory.

In our school system, a ton of emphasis is put on the GPA which has lessened the importance of social or economic skills.  Think I am wrong?

Do you think someone below the age of 21 could tell you the difference between a socialist and capitalist? They can’t because it was never taught or explained in a historical perspective.

Have you seen the interviewers standing outside of major universities asking students questions?  Most of these folks can’t identify a picture of Ben Franklin.  Nice way to waste $100,000+ on school. Shocked?  I ‘m not, I see these people every day in my staffing company.

Today’s schools are a politically correct, sanitized, bubble like atmosphere that is not real world.  If you call someone a bad name, you are labeled a bully and punished.

No one is trained to deal with unpleasant issues. When you get chewed out by the boss today, you can’t run to the teacher, its HR.  We are teaching our children that it is ok to show minimal effort because everyone gets in line for their participation trophy. Guess what? Not in real life…

If you are the parent concerned that your youngster is not getting enough proper social stimulation, try some of these ideas courtesy of my father.

  • All adults are greeted (standing) with a handshake and a sharp look in the eye
  • Put phones and electronics away and discuss current events or subjects in school
  • Challenge youth to think for themselves and not take media reports as gospel
  • Teach youth how to dress for a work environment
  • Pot is not legal everywhere and if your drug test comes up positive you won’t get hired
  • Not everyone is college material. Help your kids decide where they fit in. AND support them.
  • Teach sound financial practices early

Regardless of our technological advances, not much is sold or managed through email, text or Snapchat.  If your product is, then you have a commodity and the next innovation will put you out of business.

Millennials need to be reminded that personal relationships matter in business the same way as they do in your social life.  People buy stuff from people they like or are like them.  Putting the phones down and actually talking to a person is a dying act.  Learn how to communicate. You may find that, in the long run, your GPA may mean very little but, if you have the right people skills, your bank account won’t.dreamstimecomp_14540149


jobsI can hear the groaning already.  This group currently makes up around 40% of the available workforce.  If you intend to hire someone in the next 6 months, you should be ready to deal with the quirky personalities that exist in this group.  Here are some examples.

We like to text…a lot.  Need to stay in touch?  Better get our numbers in your phone.  Emails will sit in the inbox for days.  Reminders, quick meetings or praise will be primarily through this system. My phone will be within 2 feet of me at all times.

We like flexible hours.  We work better after our late night Starbucks and video game bingesOur questions could arrive on your phone after regular work hours.

Plan on me leaving in 1.5 years.  We get bored easily.  So we like exposure to different areas.  Cross training on different jobs keeps our interest.

Casual Fridays?  We like casual every day.  Ties and overbearing dress codes are a bummer.  We like to wear jeans and tennis shoes.

Not at my desk?  Check the Starbucks on the corner working on their WIFI.

Hope your HR person has a Psychology degree.  We like to grouse and chat about issues that bother us.  Open door policy is a must.

Forget corporate gibberish.  We enjoy straight talk and realistic expectations.  Playing favorites makes us angry.

Since the Great Recession, the workforce has changed dramatically.  Many disenfranchised workers just stopped looking for work.  They have settled on the couch with Government handouts and won’t be back.  Full-time jobs are replaced by part timers or contract workers.  Easily laid off if the economy makes a bad turn.  Adjusting your hiring expectations will be necessary if you want to continue to add viable employees.  The foundation of the old workplace rules are crumbling just as the Pyramids.  Is your company the next relic of the past?


Looking for a Job?  Your cell phone may hurt you.

hOver the years, I have left thousands of messages on cell phones.  I identify myself, the company and slowly leave my phone number.  I expect most people would agree with this process. But…some jobseekers think I would rather…

1-      Listen to their 4 year olds personal message

2-      Listen to their favorite song before the message

3-      Listen to the computer generated 6  0  2  4  7  7..

Impressions count.  Create a  brief but professional greeting that your grandma would love.  Just make sure to have her listen to it.    Answering your phone is a different set of issues.  Here are some job killing practices.

1-      Yeah!

2-      Who Dat  calling me!

3-      Kid yelling in earpiece, while you are talking

4-      Talking to me while the car window is down and driving 50mph

5-      Not listening to your messages but calling back a missed call with “who called me?”

6-      Boyfriend answers, thinks I’m your other boyfriend.

Sending out hundreds of resumes without planning ahead for a interview call back is just plain dumb. Your poor manners on a call back could result in you missing out on an opportunity, not to mention thousands of dollars in income.  Take the time to think ahead and be ready for the opportunity to show employers you are ready to work for them.

Higher Minimum Wages and Educational Benefits for the Good of Mankind?

Not necessarily.  Despite the push to pay higher minimum wages by Do-gooders and those in the Government, something even more basic is causing these changes. This is the free market at work.  Remember that from your basic economics class? (if you had one)  Low supply (workers) causes prices to rise (wages).

Do you think Starbucks is offering 4 year online college degrees because of the goodness of their heart? Of course not.  The bean (haha) counters at Starbucks looked at the turnover in employees and the quality of the available workers.  Then they put a price tag on that lack of service and sales.  That obviously was a big number since they can afford to put in a big, expensive new benefit for existing and new employees.  In the end, the company will reap larger profits for the shareholder.  That is guy/gal that invests and takes a risk with his/her capital with Starbucks stock.  Sponsoring these types of programs will no doubt have young people lining up to apply and interview.   The company will get to cherry pick the best workers and other companies will have to create similar programs to compete for a shrinking qualified workforce.

The free market is a beautiful thing.h

Should you give notice before you take a new job?

A simple question.  But very few people actually do it! Do you hathe it when your in laws show up unannounced for their 2 week vacation? Same thing here.

Many employers expect that you won’t leave them in a lurch by actually being courteous when you leave.  Even if you hate the company, you should offer a notice. Depending on the circumstances and the job, some employers might let you go immediately.  I was in the financial services business and when you gave notice, you were escorted from the building. But enough of my issues.  Here are some facts to ponder.

  • Not giving notice can come back to bite you. You cannot use people as a reference.  If I checked up on you, and you quit without notice…I won’t hire you because you will do the same to me.
  • Coworkers can talk to vendors etc. about your naughty behavior. Blocking you from doing business with them.
  • The boss you stiffed eventually could be your boss again! Guess who will be getting the boot as soon as he/she takes over?

When employees go through a temp service, they forget how many employer contacts the company has.  Do you think not giving proper notice will move you to the head of the line for positions next time you need help?  Remember, hiring managers talk, and if you want your resume discussed in a good light, take the simple step of giving a proper notice.  Your career will thank you later.

How do I get a higher paying job?

hdreamstimecomp_24559209If you are an employee that has the following characteristics you will find more opportunities and more money.

  • Stable job history, meaning a minimum of jobs in the last 5 years
  • Administrative folks with QuickBooks, and good customer service skills
  • Mechanics, Hvac, Commercial Drivers and Machinists
  • Sales with a proven background of results.
  • Clean backgrounds and a clean driving record (DUI’s and tickets keep you from driving company vehicles)
  • Applicants that can communicate well, follow simple directions and dress appropriately
  • Can you be at work every day and on time

If you are someone that has had many short-time positions, many employers will skip over your resume.  Employers are looking for some longevity.  From their point of view, if they have to take time to train you, they expect you to give them time to properly groom you for promotion.   If you find yourself at a dead end job, take the time to explore opportunities at your current spot.  Ask about additional training or the requirements you need to grow. You may be surprised to find your best option right under your nose.