When she started her career in tech more than a decade ago, Shanae Chapman soon grew comfortable answering traditional interview questions: greatest strengths (time management, attention to detail), weaknesses(prioritization). "Tell me about yourself" was kind of tricky, at first.
No one in her family had ever held a corporate job before, and the question is actually weird. What exactly did the interviewer want to know? She figured it out quickly enough.
Still, one question kept derailing her job search: What are you currently making? Chapman was earning about $25,000 a year working a desk job at a university in Boston while she was in graduate school. She hoped to double that figure by moving into a new industry. But when she told recruiters her salary, lo and behold they would tell her that's how much they were offering, too.
A trap. "Why would I want to go to another job and make the same salary?" said Chapman, now 34 years old and a senior user experience researcher and designer in St. Louis. She stopped answering the question, instead telling recruiters her target salary. The strategy worked. She landed a role at IBM that paid $50,000 to $60,000.
Searching for a new job this past year during a booming job market, now with years of experience at large companies like IBM and Boeing and at startups, Chapman had a vastly different experience. Now employers aren't asking for her current salary. They're asking for her salary requirements: What does she want to make?
"And honestly, if they didn't ask — I would ask them," Chapman said. If they don't answer, she sees it as a red flag.
The salary question has emerged as the thorniest piece of the hiring process, according to job seekers, recruiters and negotiation experts.
The question itself is seen by some as progress — asking a requirement is better than asking salary history, and 16 states, including Massachusetts, New York and California, have completely banned asking job candidates their pay history — but it is still full of pitfalls.
Hollywood Tests the Limit of Marquee Names a Single Film Can Hold 好萊塢巨星抱團正流行
Last December, Netflix began streaming "Don't Look Up," a big-budget satire starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Tyler Perry, Ariana Grande, Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Timothée Chalamet.
One star playing Spider-Man? How quaint. "Spider-Man: No Way Home," has three A-listers in Spidey spandex: Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. About 43% of opening-weekend viewers in the United States cited the cast as the reason they bought tickets, according to PostTrak surveys.
"Someday, someone will decide to make one movie with two Batmans — oh, wait, it's happening," Terry Press, one of Hollywood's top marketers, said with signature dryness. She was referring to "The Flash," a superhero movie from Warner Bros. that is scheduled for late this year; Ben Affleck's Batman will appear alongside Michael Keaton's Batman.
Taken one film at a time, star amassment is nothing new. "Grand Hotel" (1932), "Thousands Cheer" (1943), and the entire "Ocean's 11" franchise come to mind, not to mention Marvel's recent "Avengers" movies.
"Stars matter — always have, always will — and Hollywood retreats to them, leans harder on them, when it gets nervous about a wandering audience," said Jeanine Basinger, a film scholar and the author of Hollywood histories such as "The Star Machine," which examines the old studio system.
Basinger, who founded Wesleyan University's film studies department, noted that individual star power has faded. Studios have become fixated on intellectual property — preexisting franchises and characters.
And don't forget Hollywood's favorite game: Follow the leader. "The Avengers: Endgame," which packed its cast with Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen and a dozen other boldface names, became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time in 2019.
"It's trendy at the moment," Tim Palen, a producer and former studio marketing chief, said of what he called an "all skate" approach to casting. "Not new but certainly symptomatic of the battle for attention that's raging."