If a Law Bars Asking Your Past Salary, Does It Help or Hurt?

“It seems like the general social impulse is, ‘We don’t like employers using particular information, so we’ll tell them they can’t use it any more and assume that’s the end of the conversation,’” said Jennifer Doleac, an economist at the University of Virginia. “But if they cared enough about it to ask it to begin with, they probably care about it enough to try to guess.”

.. (Alternatively, employers may try to get the information in slightly less direct ways, like asking candidates about their minimum salary expectation, Mr. Klein said.)

.. They typically allow job applicants to disclose their previous salary voluntarily. As a result, some employers may feel comfortable making lowball offers to women, because they assume applicants will speak up if they make significantly more than the employer’s offer. Those who don’t speak up will be deemed to have made less.

This could, in turn, leave women worse off than before, since they tend to be more reluctant to bargain than men, as a range of studies have documented.

.. By asking what the candidate currently makes and paying the same or slightly more, an employer may simply want to ensure that an offer is accepted and that the new hire is satisfied — but may be oblivious to the risk of perpetuating pay disparities.

Planet Money: Hard Work Is Irrelevant

Most companies reward hard work. This is why people get paid overtime, and why full-time workers make more than part-time ones.

But, if you think about it, hard work alone says nothing about how much value you create. You could be toiling day and night, and be mostly useless to your employer. To your employer’s bottom line, what really matters isn’t how much you put in, but what you deliver.

There’s one company that takes this idea to its logical conclusion: Netflix. It’s run like a sports team. Whether you’re yesterday’s hire or one of the first employees, you’re out the minute you stop justifying your presence.

Find engineering teams that share your values

I sat down to make a list of companies I might like to join, and let me tell you, it was overwhelmingly un-fun. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It was the antithesis of fun.

I wanted to know about who I’d be working with, what my day-to-day would look like, and whether my values aligned with those of the engineering team. But careers pages and job descriptions were so unhelpful.

I got on the phone with several recruiters, and none of them could tell me if engineers were involved in shaping the product roadmap, or whether they favored speed or perfection when it came to shipping code. It suddenly made sense why so many engineers join companies where they already know someone.

How to Land a ‘Stretch’ Job

Good leaders can spot unrealized potential and steer employees to new challenges; here’s how to get spotted and thrive

Smart leaders have a knack for spotting hidden potential in their employees and suggesting jobs to draw it out.

Pushing people into jobs they don’t feel qualified for can be a hard sell. It can be just as difficult, however, for employees to sit back and allow the invisible hand of management to chart their careers.

.. Ms. Nicholas lacks credentials common among corporate tax chiefs—a master’s or law degree in taxation. Mr. Ungerleider says DowDuPont has other executives with deep expertise in tax law. What he sees in Ms. Nicholas is the ability to collaborate with them on a company-wide goal of improving global tax strategy.

.. Spotting untapped potential is especially important in advancing women, who tend not to apply for jobs they aren’t already highly qualified to do. Executive coach Joel Garfinkle of Oakland, Calif., also sees this tendency in “the introvert who may be intimidated by the extroverts around him or her, the talented but shy person who is afraid of self-promotion, or the person of a different race or culture who has been taught not to put himself forward.”

.. After a few months of managing VetAdvisor’s revenue and expenses from her Ebensburg, Pa., office, she realized meeting targets gives her a sense of teamwork and pride. 

.. Looking back, Ms. Roseman says, “Dan had a knack for understanding what I could do—for seeing things in me that I didn’t necessarily see.”

.. Motivating many, Ms. Foster says, is a desire to pay it forward. When these leaders tell stories about their own careers, “a consistent theme is that somebody took a chance on them and helped them make a significant leap—without checking all the boxes.”