Author Archives: Marc Mencher

Job Hunters Rejoice: That Dreaded Salary Question NO MORE!


There is a trend sweeping across the U.S. prohibiting Employers, Agencies and Search Firms from asking applicants/candidates about their salary histories.

This means that dreaded interview question: “How Much Are You Currently Earning?” is becoming a question that can no longer be asked.

For job hunters, this is awesome news!  For Employers, Agencies & Search Firms this means you must alter the way you have been interviewing, qualifying and extending offers of employment.   These new laws are passing to fight wage discrimination, eliminate pay gaps and end pay disparities.  The concept behind this movement is that employers should use labor market data, the candidate’s job experience, skills, education, and performance in the interview process to set salary.  You know… set compensation based on qualifications, not a candidate’s salary history.  This trend looks like it will sweep across the nation so it’s wise to alter your recruiting and hiring practices now.

Where Is the Salary Question Currently Banned?

  • California banned private and public employers from asking about a candidate’s pay history.
  • Delaware banned all employers from asking candidates about their salary history.
  • Massachusetts As of July 2018 – all employers are prohibited from inquiring about a candidate’s pay history.
  • New Orleans banned inquiries about all city departments and employees.
  • New York City has banned public and private employers from asking about a candidate’s pay history.
  • Oregon banned all employers from inquiring about a candidate’s salary history.
  • Philadelphia banned all employers from inquiring about a candidate’s salary history.
  • Pittsburgh banned inquiries about all city departments and employees.
  • Puerto Rico As of March 2018 – all employers are prohibited from inquiring about a candidate’s pay history.

What Do the Laws Prohibit?

The law prohibits employers and anyone acting on their behalfs, such as employment agencies and search firms, from inquiring about the salary and bonus history of candidates.  Then using the information in determining the new compensation program offered.

What is Prohibited?

  1. Asking candidates about or soliciting information about prior earnings or benefits (e.g. inquiries on employment applications asking for salary history are prohibited; however, inquiries asking about salary expectations are permissible).
  1. Asking candidates current or former employers about a candidates current or prior earnings or benefits (Note: employers may NOT ask for W-2 information unless the applicant voluntarily offers information about salary history).

What Questions Can I Ask About Compensation?

  1. You may ask the candidate about their expectations with respect to salary, benefits, and other compensation.
  1. You may discuss with the candidate the unvested equity or deferred compensation that a candidate would forfeit or have cancelled by the candidate’s resignation from their current employer and the value and structure of the deferred compensation or unvested equity.
  1. You can ask a candidate about revenue, sales, and production, books of business, profits generated, or other objective indicators of performance. It’s also ok, to ask for documentation to verify this information.  Note: it is NOT permissible to ask about the commissions a candidate earned.

What if the Applicant / Candidate Volunteers Salary Information?

If a candidate voluntarily, and without prompting, discloses salary history then and only then may an entity consider salary history in determining salary, benefits and other compensation for the candidate and in this situation, may verify the applicant’s salary history.  However, we live in a litigious world and if a candidate does volunteer salary information, I would:

  1. Inform the candidate that by law, you are not permitted to ask questions about salary and bonus history.
  1. Document in your interview notes exactly what was said by the candidate and specifically note that this was voluntarily disclosed information.

What Are the Penalties for Asking Salary Information?

Violations of this law will result in steep penalties for employers: $250,000 for each willful (i.e., intentional and knowing) violation.  $125,000 for each unintentional violation.  In addition, you expose your company to lawsuits, backpay, compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees.

What Should I Do to Ensure Compliance?

Candidates (Job Hunters): STOP volunteering your current and past salary history when you are being interviewed for a new position.

Employers / Agencies / Search Firms:

  1. Review your employment application and qualification process and ensure that it does not contain a request for information regarding salary history (e.g., “prior salary” or “last rate of pay”).
  1. Make sure that managers and other staff involved in the hiring process know of the new laws.

Job Hunting – Customize Your Facebook URL


Choosing a custom or vanity URL is totally optional, but it adds an extra level of professionalism and gives you a shorter, more memorable Facebook address.  When you initially open an account, the system will automatically assign you a unique URL that’s generally made up of random numbers and letters.  I suggest replacing this string with a URL that uses your name thus it becomes much easier to remember and locate you on the Facebook platform.   I customized mine to be: www.facebook.com/MarcMencher  How to Get a Custom URL:

  1. Log into your Facebook account
  2. Head to facebook.com/username to pick out a custom URL for your page.
  3. Alter the assigned URL to some combination of your name. If you have a common name you may have to get creative to find an available URL. Remember to keep the URL short and sweet and as close to your name as possible.
  4. Make sure your new URL is easy to pronounce, spell, and remember.
    Don’t add “.com” to the end.
  5. Be careful what you choose as your username/URL, because you can’t edit or delete it once you claim it!

Job Hunting – Your Facebook Profile – The About Section

About You

The ‘About’ section is one of the most important sections of your Facebook Page.  This is where you can add or edit information about work, education, contact information, etc.  Here you want to emphasize your value and benefits.  This section is one of the first places someone will look when trying to get more information about you.  Fill out as much of the About section as you can.  When doing this keep in mind your goal which is to tweak your Facebook profile, so you can use it like a resume and a professional branding/networking platform.

  • Work and Education:  As you type the company name, Facebook will try to hyperlink you to your company’s page on Facebook, if one exists.  Obviously, make sure you select the correct company page. If the company isn’t on Facebook, you won’t see this a drop-down option. When entering your job title, make sure you use a universally recognized one, so people find you easily when searching Facebook via job titles. Include a short sentence describing what you did in the role.  Focus on the most important and relevant parts of your job and be sure to mention technology, keywords or facts and figures.  Present information that you feel a future employer would be interested in.
  • Work and Education:  As you type the company name, Facebook will try to hyperlink you to your company’s page on Facebook, if one exists.  Obviously, make sure you select the correct company page. If the company isn’t on Facebook, you won’t see this a drop-down option. When entering your job title, make sure you use a universally recognized one, so people find you easily when searching Facebook via job titles. Include a short sentence describing what you did in the role.  Focus on the most important and relevant parts of your job and be sure to mention technology, keywords or facts and figures.  Present information that you feel a future employer would be interested in.
  • Places You’ve Lived:  If you allow your current city or hometown to be publicly visible, it may help you connect with people. However, if you plan to relocate to a new city, you may opt to make your current city private.
  • Contact and Basic Information: Add your mobile phone and email addresses to this section. You can hide the email addresses you don’t want people to see and select a primary or default email account to receive notifications.
    • Websites and Social Links: Add your personal website only if it is related to your profession.  Also, here you would include your LinkedIn URL and any other links to social networks you want people to check out.
    • Basic Information: Birth date and year are two separate fields which allow you to set the privacy settings for each.
    • Languages: Speaking more than one language can be an asset so list them in this section, especially if you are interested in using the language in your next job.
    • Religious and Political Views: These two topics are very controversial; therefore, I would leave them blank or change the privacy settings so that only you can see them.
  • Details About You:  Here write a summary, list nicknames and share your favorite quotes.
    • About You: Include a short bio or professional summary.

Read Blog: http://bit.ly/2yAoCbc

Job Hunting – Your Facebook Profile – Intro Section


The “Intro” section is the very first thing someone sees when they go to your page.  The Intro field is meant to display the information that’s most relevant to who you are on Facebook.  If you leave this section blank, Facebook will auto-fill this section with data from your profile.  This is not the best way to use this section.  Use the Intro Section to feature a short description of who you are and perhaps your professional goals. You might include your tagline, branding statement or pitch. As you write your intro section, consider adding keywords or terms relevant to the role you are interested in.  Read Blog: http://bit.ly/2yAoCbc

Your Facebook Profile – Your Cover Photo


The cover photo is the large banner at the top of your profile.  Your cover photo should be all about you or your profession.  This is prime real estate so feature an image that in some way promotes your personal brand, showcases your core benefits, demonstrates creative or technical abilities, or conveys what it is you are aiming for.  Suggestions:

  1. You can use a video, instead of a static cover photo.
  2. Make sure you use the right dimensions! Desktops: 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. Mobile: 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall.
  3. Speak to your niche audience, if possible like I try to do here in the example.

Your Facebook Profile – Your Picture


A picture paints a thousand words… so realize it is important to choose the proper profile picture for your Facebook page.  In my opinion, your profile picture is more important than your cover photo because it’s the image that represents you throughout the entire Facebook platform (news feed, posts, replies, etc.) Also, since we know your career and social life are affected by your Facebook presence, the last thing you seek to use is an image that makes you look depressed, using drugs or drinking alcohol, or a photo that makes you look like you have not taken a shower in weeks.  You could use the same photo you use on LinkedIn, but I suggest a more casual shot.  Tips:

  1.  Choose a photo that presents you in a positive light. Ask your friends and family to help you pick an image that makes a good impression or communicates personality, successful or happy feelings.
  2. Use a quality image that is at least 180 pixels wide and 180 pixels tall.
  3. Keep the image a single topic: YOU!

‘Lock Down’ Your Facebook Profile

lock down

It’s smart to take the time to make sure that what you post on Facebook is seen only by who you want to see it – not the world.  Think about it, when job hunting the last thing, you want is Facebook revealing to your boss, co-workers, friends, etc. that you are on the hunt.  That is why we will use many of the same strategies we have already used for your LinkedIn profile.

Your Career Will Be Affected by What You Post & Share on Facebook!


70% of employers now check social media profiles for recruiting or qualifying talent according to a recent CareerBuilder survey.  This means that you will lose out on career options due to what is on your Facebook page.  Therefore, I advocate leveraging Facebook for your job search, just like LinkedIn by understanding privacy settings and focusing the information you choose to post and share.  Why risk having your current employer, or a prospective employer read something that can either cost you a new job or gets you fired from a current one?  Read Blog: http://bit.ly/2yAoCbc

Job Hunting – Your LinkedIn Profile – Final Tips


Job Hunting – Your LinkedIn Profile – Final Tips

  • Become an Author – LinkedIn’s allows all users to write and publish their work. Share your perspective on what’s going on in your industry.  Discuss issues facing folks in your career specialty.  Talk about using new technologies, etc.  This is a GREAT way to get noticed on LinkedIn and establish yourself as an expert.
  • Check Spelling & Grammar!
  • Link Your Job to The Company – If your current or past companies where you have worked have a Company LinkedIn page, make sure you properly link this page to your profile. This way the company logo will show on your profile and your profile will also show up if someone searches past or present employees of that company.
  • Manage Your Endorsements - Endorsements can be a great way to show off your skills. The way to get Endorsements working for you is to keep your skills updated. As you develop new skills, drop outdated skills from your profile.
  • Add Supporting Information – LinkedIn allows you to upload images, PowerPoint presentations and PDF files to specific jobs. These can be used to support what you have written in your job description.
  • Add Projects, Volunteer Experiences, or Languages – Do you speak a foreign language? Have a specialized certification? Learning something new? Add these types of things to your profile.

Keep Your Job Hunt Discreet –Your LinkedIn Profile Settings


Keep Your Job Hunt Discreet –Your LinkedIn Profile Settings
When you make any additions, or change to your LinkedIn profile, notifications saying that you have done so are posted out to your entire network of connections.  Receiving several of these notices about your profile is a telltale sign to recruiters, employers and the entire LinkedIn network that you’re job hunting.  I STRONGLY suggest you adjust these settings.  The privacy settings are easy to find: Just sign in, and then select: the me me (pulldown).  Navigate to ‘Settings & Privacy’.  You are presented with 3 main options: Account, Privacy, and Communications.  I recommend changing the following settings.

  1. Manage Active Status – Here you can change who can see you when you are active on LinkedIn. You can specifically block profiles.  HIDE your activity status from your current CEO, Boss or Work Associates.
  2. Who Can See Your Connections – While you could allow all your LinkedIn connections to see your entire network, I recommend the ONLY YOU option.  Members will still be able to see connections who endorse you and connections they share with you unless you turn this feature off also.
  3. Sharing Profile Edits – Change this option to NO! This will stop all your activity broadcasts, so the entire LinkedIn network is not notified when you make profile changes.
  4. Profile Viewing Options – Here you can change what others see when you view their profile. LinkedIn’s default setting will show your name and headline. This is not helpful if you’re operating in stealth mode.  Choose the Anonymous / Private option so other LinkedIn members do not know you looked at their profile.
  5. Notifying Connections When You’re in The News – Select YES and let your connections know when you are mentioned in the news, articles or blog posts.
  6. Who Can See Your Last Name – It’s a big turn off to hide your last name from people on a networking site.  It creates a negative vibe; What are you hiding?  Make sure your Full Name is showing so folks on and off LinkedIn can easily find your profile.
  7. Sharing Your Profile When You Click Apply – Choose if you want to share your profile with a Job Poster when you click apply to a LinkedIn job ad.
  8. Let Recruiter Know Your Open to Opportunities – I would select NO. I don’t want a ton of Recruiter’s approaching me daily.  If you select Yes, LinkedIn does try not to show your current company that you’re open to recruiters, but can’t guarantee privacy.
  9. Who Can Discover Your Profile via Your Email Address or Phone Number – I would choose the EVERYONE option. Why make it difficult to find you on LinkedIn?
  10. Salary Data on LinkedIn – I would NOT fill this out.  You seek to learn about all career opportunities. Want to know more about me?  Connect and Ask!
  11. Profile Visibility off LinkedIn – Select YES and allow your profile information to be shared by permitted services such as search engines like Google.