Tag Archives: salary range

When you base pay on salary history, a unicorn loses its horn

[Image description: A tan and white horse in a field of wheat. The horse looks pensive. Maybe it’s actually a unicorn who just lost its horn because someone asked for salary history. Image by Donna at Unsplash.com]

Hi everyone, we need to talk about salary history. Imagine you are hiring two fundraisers for your growing development team: Edna has had nine years of experience raising money, and has a record of bringing in over $10 million dollars. Joe has two years of experience fundraising and has brought in $300,000; before that, he worked for a bank. Because Edna is more skilled in fundraising, you have her supervise and mentor Joe. Things work out well for a while, until Edna found out that Joe is paid 10% more than she is. The reason: Joe had worked at a bank, so he had a stronger salary history. So now we have someone who is more qualified, with a better track record, and who is doing more work—supervising and mentoring in addition to fundraising—getting paid less than another person who is less qualified. Continue reading

Let’s make basing pay on salary history illegal in all 50 states

cat-205757_960_720Recently, Massachusetts became the first state ever to make it illegal for employers to ask for job candidates’ salary history before making a job offer. This is so awesome that I ditched work and got some soy ice cream to celebrate.

For a while, I’ve been arguing about how crappy it is for employers to not disclose salary ranges in job posting, and how ridiculously archaic and bizarre that we still base people’s salaries on their previous salaries. Nothing else in our society operates like that. Imagine if someone goes to a restaurant, and at the end of the meal, the waiter comes by and the customer says, “So, can I ask how much the last person who ate here paid? $24? Well, then I’m paying you $26.40 for my meal. That’s a generous 10% increase.” Continue reading

Hey, can we be a little nicer to job applicants and stop treating them like crap?

red-panda-1194504_960_720Hi everyone. I am in Washington DC giving a keynote at the Nonprofit Talent and Culture Summit on the importance of our sector’s investment in our most valuable resource: Sticky dots. No, just kidding: our professionals. So this post may be kind of hastily written, since I must find and put pictures of cute baby animals on my PowerPoint deck. (An entire post will be written later on the strategic deployment of cute baby animal pictures).

Today, I want to talk about being nice to job applicants. After doing lots of hiring, talking to friends who are applying for jobs, and having applied to jobs before (#OxfordCommaForever!), I realize just how demoralizing it can be out there for job candidates. A colleague told me he had three interviews with a panel of grumpy-ass people, got berated for asking a question “out of turn,” and didn’t hear from them for weeks. This was for a half-time entry-level position. WTF.

There are tons of tips out there for job applicants about how to stand out and improve their chances of securing that dream job. Today, let’s bring some balance. We in the nonprofit sector pride ourselves on equity, community, and social justice. And yet we still have some terrible habits that we need to break. For some reason, probably because of the power dynamics between employers and job applicants, otherwise-awesome organizations sometimes treat candidates like crap, like “others” instead of potential partners in our shared quest to create a better world. This often mirrors the injustice we nonprofits feel when treated like “others” by funders due to the power dynamics in funding. Continue reading