Asking Salary Is Banned

As of last week, the interview question "What's your current salary?" is illegal in New York City, and it will soon be prohibited in other places as well.

The law, which bans employers from asking candidates about their salary history, is the result of months of work by the city's Commission on Human Rights and growing political support.

How could it impact you? CNBC Make It talked to multiple labor and employment lawyers to find out.

1. Advocates hope it will lessen the pay gap

Many argue that because of the pay gap between men and women, especially women of color, the practice of asking a candidate's salary history is harmful.

In announcing the law, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis said in a statement said:

"Women and people of color deserve to be paid what they're worth, not held back by their current or previous salary. Today's law will enable job seekers to negotiate a fair salary based on their skills and will help break the cycle of income inequality that has been so prevalent in the workforce for so long."

Women are paid 20 percent less than their male counterparts performing the same job, according to the Institute For Women's Policy Research. In other words, for every dollar a man makes, a woman earns $0.76.

It's even worse for women of color. Latina women are paid 46 percent less than white men and African American women are paid 37 percent less.

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

"There's a cycle of gender pay inequity that's been going on for as many years as anyone's been measuring compensation by gender," Miriam Clark, a labor and employment lawyer who represents employees in disputes, tells CNBC Make It.

It may not be intentional, Clark added, but the impact still discriminates against women.

"It has a discriminatory impact on women because I think it's statically unarguable that women make less than men," she said, "really at every rung of the ladder all the way up."

2. There are still legal ways for employers to ask about your salary

Employers can still ask candidates about their "salary expectations," or the amount of money they would like to make in the new role.

Employers in New York City can also ask about "objective measures" of the applicant's productivity, Merrick Rossein, lawyer and professor at the City University of New York School of Law, tells CNBC Make It.

In other words, employers can still ask about how much you made in annual bonuses if you are in sales or other commissions-based sectors. Employers can also ask you to disclose your salary after an offer is made. If you lied in your interview, you could legally be fired.

Bloomberg/Getty Images

Bloomberg/Getty Images

Jill Rosenberg, an employment and labor attorney who represents employers, told CNBC Make It that employers ask that question to get more information on what to offer a candidate.

"You don't want to insult somebody and make an offer that's lower than what they're earning if you're trying to recruit them away," she says. "That's probably the most common reason."

A candidate's current salary, she said, is one of several factors hiring managers consider when making a salary offer. She added that companies aren't out to low-ball candidates.

"Employers are also interested," she said, "and this is not to say that employers try to pay people less than they're entitled to, but you don't want to overpay people either."

3. The question will soon be illegal in more places

In addition to the Big Apple, the question is also illegal in New Orleans, Oregon and Puerto Rico.

Asking about a job candidate's salary history will also soon be banned in Delaware, where a law takes effect in December, as well as Massachusetts and San Francisco, where similar laws go into effect in July 2018.

Philadelphia passed its own version of the law in May, but is now facing legal challenges from the city's Chamber of Commerce on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment rights of the Chamber's members.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a salary privacy bill into law that will make it illegal for employers to ask job applicants about their former salaries and benefits starting January 1, The Orange County Register reports.

4. But you may still be asked

If you're asked this question during an interview in a place where it's illegal, Rossein said you should politely remind the hiring manager that you don't have to answer it.

He suggests saying something such as, "Pardon me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that that question isn't legal here."

Immediately afterward, however, express that you're still interested in discussing compensation. You could follow up by saying, "However, I'm very interested in this job and would be happy to discuss compensation ranges and goals."

This shows that you are still cooperative, without potentially limiting yourself from a salary boost. Another way to shift the conversation from your current salary is to focus on the skills you bring to the table.

Nicole Hill Orisich, career coach in New York City, said you could say something such as, "I'd love to talk about the value I bring to the table as well as the market value for this position. Based on my own research for someone with my skills in this industry, I believe market rate is somewhere between X and Y. I would be happy with something in this range."

The reality is that despite legal protections, not answering the question could potentially hurt your chances of receiving the job offer, Roessein notes. He adds that it would be hard to make your case in court.

"I think this is a very important development in law," Rossein said."You're going to see a lot of legal activity around these salary issues."

How Companies Routinely Short Change Their Own Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan 

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Image Copyright iStock Photos

The classic, "build it and he will come" from the movie Field of Dreams, applies to business too.  Every day, companies invest so much of their funding into making their products better under the belief that if their product is the best, people will come.

While that approach has worked with iPhones and iPads, you'll be hard pressed to find another product that people literally line up to buy.

I see technology companies especially making this mistake; where they achieve very good growth for the first several years until they hit the wall.  Then they raise money, invest it in bettering their product, market to show how much better their product is compared to their competition, and then don't understand why the growth doesn't start up again.

Early on, their salespeople succeeded at selling to the low hanging fruit - the people that raised their hands because they needed or wanted the product.  When the salespeople run out of low hanging fruit, sales stall as they struggle to convert prospects who see the product as nice to have, but not must have. That's when most companies change gears and begin to innovate and invest in their product when in fact, they really need to innovate and invest in their sales force.

I can speak from experience.  At Objective Management Group (OMG), we work on improving our own product every single day in order to maintain our huge advantage over every other assessment that could be utilized for assessing salespeople.  Our assessment is cutting edge, worlds beyond what any other assessment company can provide, and literally the most accurate and predictive sales assessment in the world. 

Unfortunately, we are well aware of the fact that our new features and enhancements won't sell a single additional sales force evaluation or candidate assessment. There is a benefit to continued innovation and development.   It makes our partners feel more confident about what they provide to their clients and it makes us proud, but we know that those enhancements won't be the reason for a single additional client to use it.

Why?  If they really have a problem that only we can solve they would have bought the product we had 35 versions ago.  And if for them, it's only nice to have, our version 2 years from now won't be any more desirable than today's version.

So why don't companies get this?

In my opinion, it is because they can have a sense of control when they invest in their product.  In other words, they know that if they invest x amount of time, y amount of money, z amount of research, and n amount of testing, their next product iteration will be exponentially better than the current version and that will attract additional investor money, make it easier to recruit, and get better product reviews in the trade publications and blogs.

On the other hand, investing in the sales force is either a complete unknown to them, or if they had a bad previous experience, a potential waste of time and money.

Of course they can do both but companies tend to focus on one significant initiative at a time.  Consider  the fact that most tech company founders and CEO's are technical themselves and you can easily understand why they usually choose to put their resources into product development.  That's why their choice of Sales Leader is so crucial.  Tech companies need sales leaders who will fight for resources, fight for the best training, fight for the best coaching, fight for the best tools, fight to hire the best salespeople, fight for more money, and fight for time.  Nice sales leaders are nice to have but demanding sales leaders are essential.


The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivation

Have some holiday travel coming up? Today we want to share a powerful book by Dan Ariely that  provides lessons on approaching important choices in one's own life. This 128-page book can be started and finished within a single plane trip over the holidays.

Bestselling author Dan Ariely reveals fascinating new insights into motivation—showing that the subject is far more complex than we ever imagined.

Every day we work hard to motivate ourselves, the people we live with, the people who work for and do business with us. In this way, much of what we do can be defined as being “motivators.” From the boardroom to the living room, our role as motivators is complex, and the more we try to motivate partners and children, friends and coworkers, the clearer it becomes that the story of motivation is far more intricate and fascinating than we’ve assumed.

Payoff investigates the true nature of motivation, our partial blindness to the way it works, and how we can bridge this gap. With studies that range from Intel to a kindergarten classroom, Ariely digs deep to find the root of motivation—how it works and how we can use this knowledge to approach important choices in our own lives. Along the way, he explores intriguing questions such as: Can giving employees bonuses harm productivity? Why is trust so crucial for successful motivation? What are our misconceptions about how to value our work? How does your sense of your mortality impact your motivation?

50 Must-Know Statistics for Holiday Sales and Marketing


In 2017, holiday retail sales in the United States are forecast to amount to about 680.4 billion U.S. dollars. The holiday season can account for as much as thirty percent of a retailer's annual sales. Today we are helping you prepare for the holiday season with 20 must-know stats for the holiday season.

  1. November and December drive 30% more e-Commerce revenue than non-holiday months.
  2. 78% of shoppers used the internet for holiday research last year.
  3. An estimated, 92% of holiday shoppers will go online to either research or purchase gifts this season.
  4. The most popular time to buy online is weekdays from 12-2pm and on Sunday evenings.
  5. According to a recent study, 41% of online shoppers purchased from a new retailer.
  6. 1 in 3 retailers dedicate 31-50% of their total online marketing budget to holiday efforts.
  7. US retail e-Commerce will grow 16.6 % this holiday
  8. 86% of retailers expect their 2017 online holiday sales to increase.
  9. 38% of marketers do not use personalization in their marketing efforts.
  10. 98% of companies aren’t set up to identify, deliver on, and measure moments of intent in the purchase journey.
  11. 72% of millennials research online before heading to brick and mortar stores.
  12. 49% of shoppers view products in person, then find cheaper prices online.
  13. 22% research a product on their smartphone while in store.
  14. 27% read online peer reviews of a product while in store.
  15. 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for research while in-store say that it’s become an important part of their experience.
  16. People who shop both in person and online spend 66% more than those who only go to stores.
  17. 93% of shoppers take action for free shipping.
  18. Free shipping was deemed the 2nd most important factor for shoppers when purchasing online.
  19. 83% of shoppers will wait two more days in order to get free shipping.
  20. Delivery speed is the 4th most important factor in the online buying process.
  21. 50% of shoppers will choose a slower transit time for free shipping.
  22. 7 business days is the average time shoppers are willing to wait.
  23. 91% of shoppers say a low price is an important to very important factor in the decision to buy.
  24. 47% of online shoppers say they would consider enrolling in a product curation or subscription service.
  25. 40% of mobile users look for or redeem mobile coupons when shopping.
  26. 74% of shoppers say they are influenced by coupons and offers online.
  27. 63% of consumers will be likely to share a link for a holiday contest.
  28. 74% of shoppers search online to get ideas for their holiday gift lists.
  29. 1 in 5 shoppers made a purchase after opening a retailer’s email on their mobile device.
  30. Last year, e-Commerce orders coming from social media grew a staggering 202%.
  31. 20% of online shoppers say that FaceBook helps influence their decisions.
  32. 10% of online shoppers say that Pinterest helps influence their decision to buy.
  33. 19% of marketers are using social this holiday season to generate qualified leads.
  34. 80% watched product review and ratings.
  35. 68% preferred product videos from “people like me.”
  36. 45% preferred videos from experts.
  37. 18% of online shoppers start off on a retailers website to begin searching.
  38. 28% of online product searches take place on
  39. Mobile accounts for 50.3% of all e-Commerce traffic (eclipsing desktop).
  40. 1 in 5 e-retailers spent 50% of their marketing budget on paid search.
  41. More than 70% of brands are allocating more than half their digital marketing budget to search and social this season.
  42. 11% of online shoppers prefer to buy on tablet or smartphone.
  43. 80.9% of people who shop on tablets end up buying.
  44. 44% of online shoppers prefer to buy on a desktop or laptop computer.
  45. 38% say they will not return to a retailer’s website if it’s not mobile optimized.
  46. Mobile-optimized sites saw revenue grow 168% from March to May last year.
  47. 50% of shoppers abandoned carts that did not give an estimate on delivery.
  48. 58% abandon the cart after seeing shipping charges.
  49. Last year, 53% of those who shopped online used smartphones or tablets
  50. 40% of users will go to the competitor after a bad mobile experience, yet an alarming 84% have experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction.

Sources: UPS Pulse Of Online Shopper, FierceRetail, PixelMEDIA, Google, eMarketer,  Shopify,, Adobe