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Recently, I was contacted by a recruiter for a position. After a lengthy phone conversation in which my technical skills and employment history were discussed, he offered a certain salary range.

Once I actually went in for the company’s interview with HR, I was told that the staring salary was $10,000 less than what I had discussed with the recruiter. This offer I could not accept, and even though I don’t blame the company, I do feel it was a waste of my time.

Is it normal for a recruiter and the company to have differing salary ranges?

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    The recruiter works for the prospective employer not for you - You know the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules :) Whatever the recruiter tells you, the final word comes from the prospective employer. If the prospective employer chooses to jerk the recruiter around, there is not much that the recruiter can do about it. I would say that it is both in the interest of both the recruiter and the recruiter's client to be in sync but as you have just experienced, that doesn't necessarily happen. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 9 '14 at 1:35
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    No, it is not normal. Either the employer is playing games with the recruiter, or the recruiter is playing games with you. Call the recruiter back, tell him what happened, ask him WTF? and then SHUT UP. His next few words will determine whether you will ever talk with him again. – John R. Strohm May 10 '14 at 3:25
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Once I actually went in for the company’s interview with HR, I was told that the staring salary was $10,000 less than what I had discussed with the recruiter.

None of this is normal & is—as the kids say—quite sleazy. But you say this:

This offer I could not accept, and even though I don’t blame the company, I do feel it was a waste of my time.

Ridiculous. The company is hiring a recruiter to hire staff such as you. If there is an issue like this, you need to mention it to the company right away & provide documentation.

But that said, there seems to be some kind of “bait & switch” happening here. You say you had “a lengthy phone conversation” with the recruiter? From my perspective it seems like they were leading you on & telling you everything you wanted to hear. Including a salary you liked. And I am willing to bet the company knows this is how the recruiter behaves.

The reality about agents & recruiters is their job is to wrangle in “resources” and you are a resource. Whether it pans out with the company is not their problem. This happens with good agents & recruiters as well as bad. You are a commodity asset. And at the end of the day, the recruiter can just say, “Hey, I got X amount of people to the company & they hired someone in X time.” That is their benchmark. If one person complains about their methods, that is one out of easily dozens of others. Won’t affect them.

So if you want to confront the recruiter on this issue, you should. But at the end of the day you will most likely not change their behavior & will most likely not be closer to landing a job. You might be better off chalking this up to experience, and applying for other gigs elsewhere.

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I think there's a disconnect here. A recruiter is not empowered to "offer" anything, only the company can make an offer. The recruiter can tell you what the salary range is that the company gave them, but this does not necessarily translate into what the company may offer you.

That said, it's rare for there to be such a difference. Although there are several potential reasons.

  • Someone at the recruiters office typo'd when putting the salary range into their computer.
  • The recruiter confused two different positions when discussing one with you.
  • The recruiter was actually thinking you'd qualify for position X when the company only considered you for position Y.
  • The company itself determined after interviewing you that they would hire you but at a smaller rate than they had told the recruiter because you didn't quite fit their requirements but someone thought you might grow into it.
  • and, of course, the bait and switch reason: the recruiter inflated the range and figured you'd just go ahead and accept the lower offer.

The best way to handle the situation is to be upfront with the hiring person (in this case HR) and politely let them know that the salary being offered isn't good enough as well as what you were expecting. If you two aren't able to come to an agreement then leave and call the recruiter to tell them what happened.

If this happened a second time with the same recruiter then I wouldn't talk to them again.

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