Here's What Happened When a Woman Mentioned Pay Before an Interview

March 15th 2017

Almie Rose

A young woman applied for a job, got an interview, and before her second interview, asked about the company's pay and benefits, which is when the company shut her down.

Taylor, who tweets under @feministjourney, shared emails from her interactions with Skip The Dishes, a Canadian-based food delivery company that delivers to select Canadian cities and some cities in North America. In her email to a representative named Victoria, Taylor inquired about pay, asking:

"If I do end up filling the position, how much do you think I'll be getting paid an hour? Benefits will also be included, right? Sorry, I just thought I should ask now. Thanks for your time and have a lovely day."

Victoria of Skip The Dishes responded by saying:

"Your questions reveal that your priorities are not in sync with those of SkipTheDishes. At this time we will not be following through with our meeting this Thursday."

As Taylor explains in a follow up tweet, this was not for a first interview: "I had already done a phone interview that went well. They then asked me to do a menu test, which is what was cancelled."

Taylor then got a longer email from the company in which they doubled down.

Though the email began with, "your questions are valid ones" they continue by writing:

"[W]e would like to clarify where we may have not communicated our position clearly. As a startup company, we seek out those who go out of their way to seek out challenges and new opportunities. We believe in hard work and perseverance in pursuit of company goals as opposed to focusing on compensation. Our corporate culture may be unique in this way, but it is paramount that staff display intrinsic motivation and are proven self-starters.

For these reasons, questions about compensation and benefits at such an early stage is a concern related to organizational fit."

Twitter users immediately called out the company's response and supported Taylor's claims against the company.

Skip The Dishes tried to fix the situation with two tweets sent from its company account.

Their tweets did not go over well:

Though to be fair to the company on one point, Taylor did share her full name in her own screen shot.

ATTN: has reached out to Skip The Dishes for a comment, and will update when we hear back.

It isn't wrong to ask about pay for a hired position.

It's especially an uphill battle for women, who typically don't ask about pay the way men do, if they ask at all. When women do ask, it's usually tempered with an apology, as Taylor did when she prefaced her question about pay with "sorry."

Harvard Business Review conducted a study in 2003 about the disparity between men and women when it comes to asking about fair pay, titled, "Nice Girls Don't Ask."

"Men and women are still treated unequally in the workplace. Women continue to earn less, on average, for the same performance, and they remain underrepresented in top jobs. Research has shown that both conscious and subconscious biases contribute to this problem. But we’ve discovered another, subtler source of inequality: Women often don’t get what they want and deserve because they don’t ask for it," according to the authors of the study.

In Taylor's case, she did ask — and was seemingly punished for it.

In October, Tricia Tongco for ATTN: reported on one little-discussed factor that helps women get fair pay: "unionization helps women get closer to equal pay." Tongco cites statistics from a 2016 study by the Economic Policy Institute which states, "Working women in unions are paid 89 cents for every dollar paid to unionized working men; non-unionized working women are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to non-unionized working men."

Elise Gould, one of the authors behind the study, told Rewire news this is because union contracts have "more transparency on how wages are set, less inequality."

PayScale, a website with the motto "paying the right way, getting paid what you’re worth — it’s complicated, and it matters" offers tips on how to ask about pay.

The site's top tips are to be enthusiastic and "do use the offer call (or email) to ask about benefits in addition to salary. When you’re doing your research after the call, make sure you know a typical salary benefits range. A full-time, but hourly gig might not come with benefits, whereas some of the best companies provide benefits that end up being worth 50% of your salary. Consider your entire package."


Though SkipTheDishes says in its tweet "it's OK to ask" it clearly wasn't, prompting one Twitter user to tweet, "So is it only a disqualifying question when asked by a woman? Don't men usually ask this first?"