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.