Should You Check a Job Applicant’s Financial Background & Salary History?

financial background checkSeveral specific questions are essential for a hiring manager or HR department to pose during an interview. Inquiries regarding previous salary history or the applicant’s financial background can act as a critical tool in salary negotiations and be an important factor in the hiring decisions. But in today’s modern world, it can also be considered discrimination and potentially lead to legal repercussions. There are, however, definite reasons to focus on financial issues while running a Detroit background check. And it can be fully legal and acceptable as long as you do it correctly.

What Are the Advantages of Checking Salary History?

Salary history inquiries can help confirm the applicant’s previous level of responsibility which may be especially important in financial-based positions. Posing salary or financial background questions can give insight into the applicant’s ambition and motivation as well as whether they’ve been promoted a lot in their previous positions. Financial background information can go a long way towards helping to confirm the best candidate when the position involves major deal closings. Most often, however, employers request salary history to decide whether they can actually afford the candidate.

What Are the Disadvantages of Checking Salary History or Financial Backgrounds?

If not done correctly, checking an applicant’s salary history or financial background can be an irritating or intrusive ordeal. Many candidates will opt out of the position just due to the inquiry, so expect fewer options to choose from. And in some cases, you may be requesting information that you’re not legally permitted to ask; thus, risking the reputation and success of your business altogether.

When Should a Salary History Be Requested?

There are definite reasons a hiring manager or company records may need to know the salary or financial background of a potential hire. But think carefully before proceeding. Financial, sales, and banking industries may require that information to ensure they’re hiring candidates who can fulfill the duties of the job at hand. In those cases, the applicants are usually familiar with the process and have no objections. However, otherwise, such inquiries can be objectionable and even seem discriminatory on the applicant’s end. In other words, requesting that information could backfire and land you in some hot water. According to a nationwide survey, companies are split on the decision with 27% of applicants not objecting to the question and 37% of employers refusing to question financial backgrounds and salary history altogether. As more and more companies edge towards caution, it becomes a slippery slope. But if you’re going to ask and your state hasn’t banned the option, do so early in the hiring process and prepare for fewer prospective hires.

Is it Legal to Ask for Financial Background and Salary History in Michigan?

Remember: regardless of what the media states, the national gender wage gap is still an issue. According to the Center for American Progress, a typical working wage for a woman of color can be as low as $.54 on the $1 compared to a white man for the same position. Several states have thus banned salary history inquisitions, and Michigan is among those states–at least during the interview process. Of course, if you need financial background information, there are still options for obtaining them, but you may need to consider hiring a private investigator to avoid potential legal ramifications. When you’re ready to cover your bases give us a call, and we’ll take care of your needs… legally.


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