Sunday, January 21, 2018

Are You Still asking for Salary History? Why You should Stop Now!


Asking an applicant about their Salary History has become a hot topic in employment.

Many employers routinely ask their applicant’s what they made at their last job. Sometimes the question is asked during the interview, and other times it listed on the application.

While asking salary history has been common practice, that may soon become a thing of the past.

Cities and states across the country have begun passing laws and regulations to stop, or at least curb, the practice of asking for salary history.


In New York City, for example, a new law has been enacted that prohibits both public and private companies from questioning an applicant about their salary history. This law also precludes employers from taking an “end run” around the prohibition and contacting former employers or even searching for salary information in public records. In addition if, during a background check, salary information is found, it cannot be used to determine the the applicant’s salary.   

Under the New York City law, there are a few exceptions to using salary history to determine salary offered:
  • If the applicant themselves discloses their salary history.
  • If the salary is determined through collective bargaining agreements.
  • If an existing federal, state, county, or local law authorizes salary history disclosure or verification.
  • If the individual is a current employee being considered for a promotion or transfer.
New York City isn’t the only one taking a look at the salary history question. Many states have either already enacted or are considering passing laws that address asking about salary history. 


Does asking for Salary History perpetuate wage bias?

Supporters of these laws argue that asking for salary history perpetuates the wage gap. 

They believe that by enacting laws to stop this practice, employers cannot use past salary as a way to continue to  “lowball” the salaries of women and minorities.

Because of these trends, confusion about whether employers can or should ask for salary history abounds.

A recent question on quora.com got me thinking about where I stand on the practice.

The question is:
If you were given an offer but had to go through background checks and complete an employment history verification and it asks for salary history, is it okay to leave that field blank?”.

My Answer:
It is your right to leave the salary history field blank, especially if it is not marked as a required field. However, there are some online application systems that will not allow you to “send” the application in without all required fields being completed.  

It is also important to note, that there are currently some cities and states that prohibit potential employers from asking about salary history. It is the belief that this practice perpetuates the underpayment of minority / women employees. In my opinion, employers already have a salary range in mind for the position (with final salary dependent upon an applicant’s experience and skills). Asking for salary history is unnecessary and irrelevant.




I believe employers would be wise to take notice.


As an employer, you should already have a salary range in mind for the position. What an applicant was paid before simply shouldn’t matter. What matters now is what you are willing to pay to fill the job, and what an applicant is willing to accept.

While the salary offered can vary depending on what the applicants themselves bring to the table, what they made at a previous job should not!

Employers should keep this in mind……
The trend to curb or eliminate the question of salary history will likely continue as more states and cities begin enacting their own regulations governing the practice. 

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Why Do You Believe in What You Sell?


Why Do You believe in what You Sell?

This question was asked on the networking site Alignable. When I saw it, I knew I had to weigh in with my thoughts. Below is my answer: 

While I ‘sell’ services (employment background checks and business mentoring), I find it essential to completely believe in what I do and why. And since my clients essentially get ME when they sign on, it definitely helps that I believe in myself and that what I do is valuable. I would find it very difficult to promote what I do if I didn't believe in its quality and value!”.

When I started my business, I quickly found that “selling” my services was one of my most difficult tasks ~ and that was a problem!

Getting the word out and landing clients is essential to making a go of any business. So I had no choice but to get myself out there, push that uncomfortable feeling aside, and sell what I do.

While it continued to be difficult, I found that the more I began to truly recognize the quality of what I offered the easier it got. I also discovered that when it became clear that my services could really help my clients succeed in their own businesses, my initial problems with “selling” what I do were no longer an issue.

Some of the other answers to “Why Do You Believe in what You Sell” also resonated with me:

  • “If you sell yourself, and believe in yourself, it is easy”.
  • I have “pride in what I do and believe in it’s quality”.
  • I receive “continued positive customer/client feedback”.
  • “I know it works”. 
  • “I know it helps people”.
  • “We love what we do, and that love translates to making a truly quality product” (or service).
  • “We have seen it improve people’s lives”.
  • We “get more customers by word of mouth” (which means happy clients).

All of these answers focused on what their company’s products or services did FOR their clients ~ and that is why they believe in them! 

The bottom line is, when I began thinking about my answer to the question “Why Do You Believe in What You Sell”, I realized that it would be impossible for me to sell something that I didn’t believe in!



For me, I believe in what I “sell” because I know it has helped our clients. 

Our background investigation services enable them to be more successful when hiring and finding the best candidates. We strive to keep up with new laws and regulations that govern employment screening. We know the quality we provide and how it can help solve our clients’ hiring problems. 

In addition, our Small Business Mentoring and Security Consulting helps them to start their own small business and keep that business safe.

I also found that once I changed my mindset to one where “selling” was not my ultimate goal, but partnering with my clients on their own road to success was, it made all the difference.


There is no way I could “sell” what we do if I didn’t believe in it. We place our focus squarely on the real value of our services ~ what we have learned about our industry and the way we treat our clients. I fully believe in the quality of what we offer, and that shows. While “selling” is still not really in my nature, it is so much easier because I know what we do will help our clients.

So, in the end, “Why” do I believe in what I sell? Because it would be impossible for me to run a business where I didn’t!!!

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

How Do You get a Decent Job with a Criminal Record?


Can You Get a Decent Job if You have a Criminal Record?

This question has been asked often and is a valid concern of anyone who has a past criminal history. So, when it came up again recently on quora.com (a Question and Answer site), I thought I would share my answer in hopes of helping others who are asking the same question.


Here is the Answer I posted:

"It can seem very daunting landing a job when you have a past criminal history. However, there are things you can do to make yourself more employable. 

First, Get a job, any job. It may be fast food. It may be janitorial. It doesn’t matter. The key is to work hard, be on time, be productive, and be eager to learn. Your employers will notice. Then, when you are ready to move on, you will have demonstrated a good work ethic and reliability. This will lead to a good reference. You may have to do this multiple times before a company who is offering a “decent job” will take a chance on you. 

Another route is to find local companies who do hire those with criminal records. Believe me, they are out there. Then you need to do the same thing. Work hard and be a model employee. Each time, you will be building your resume and your reputation. This is key. 

Even then, there will be employers who are hesitant about hiring you. That is when you need to be ready to plead your case. Emphasize how you have moved beyond your criminal past. Focus on what you have done to better yourself. Have a list of references ready who are willing to stand up for you, especially past employers who know of your good work and behavior. This is the best route to changing your life and becoming employed. I wish you luck!".

You can find more answers to this question here.

There is no doubt that having a criminal history does not make finding a job easy. 

Employers can be understandably leery about hiring you. They may be concerned about you re-offending or even you posing a problem for their business, their customers, or their other employees.

You have to recognize this and understand that business owners and managers have a right to be reticent about hiring someone with a criminal past.

Their very livelihood and reputation is on the line.

However, having a criminal record does not mean you are unemployable or destined to only the lowest paying jobs. 






As I shared in my Quora answer, there are definitely steps you can take to increase your chances of being hired and, eventually, landing the “decent” or better jobs you need.

“It is important to note that not all employers will automatically eliminate you from consideration if you have a criminal record. EEOC guidelines actually recommend that employers only take into account offenses that directly pertain to the job.

Be ready to plead your own case. Own your criminal past, share any circumstances that lead to your conviction, and show what you have done since them to turn your life around”.

Find our more advice in “Job Seekers’ Top 5 Frequently Asked Background Check Questions”.


But that does not mean finding a decent job will be easy.

“In this challenging job market, many ex-offenders feel like they don't stand a chance against job seekers with clean records.

It is important to keep in mind that most employers will screen for criminal history.  Existing “Ban the Box” laws and other guidelines may dictate when and how employers can use that information, but being screened is still a reality for anyone seeking employment. 

That is why it is important that you deal with your criminal record head on”!

And this can mean self-disclosing your criminal past!

Understandably, this is one of the most common areas of concern for ex-offenders.

My advice ~ 

“Take responsibility and be ready to explain any circumstances that lead to you committing your crime(s). When you are  truthful, it is much more likely that the employer will put your past in context.  

But don’t let your conviction be the focus – stress what you’ve learned from the experience.   

Take this time to explain what you have done to reform. Share clear examples of any training programs you have completed or any certificates you have earned (even those earned while you may have been incarcerated). 

You should also include any letters of recommendation from employers, mentors, or even support group leaders. Be sure to emphasize any examples of your reliability and trustworthiness.  

What your potential employer is really looking for is anything you have done to show you have moved on and have done the work to improve yourself.

While sharing this personal information may be difficult, it can go a long way towards getting you a second chance and showing you have moved on”.

Excerpts above from “Job Seekers: Do You have a Criminal Record? Find out the Best Time for You to Tell Your New Employer!”.


You also need to take care how you perform when given the chance! 

As I mentioned in my Quora answer, it is important to work hard at any job you are given. Make sure you are always on time, or even better, early. Treat your co-workers and managers with respect. Be polite to customers. In other words, do what you can to stand out! This will go a long way towards putting you on the right path the get the kind of job you need.


Having a criminal past does not have to ruin the rest of your life. The key is to be willing to put in the work to overcome the stigma associated with ex-offenders. And remember, there are employers out there who are willing to give you a chance.


While finding a decent job will most likely not come quickly, each step you take forward helps bring you closer to your goal.  


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