I recently accepted a full time w-2 contract position and have been working on-site for less than a month. When I initially received the first call back from my recruiter before my first interview, she told me up front that the position would be $80-85k depending on experience, non negotiable. I said that was fine and proceeded with the interview process.

Upon succeeding my interviews, I was then offered the position with an even more appealing salary exceeding $100k.

This is my first contract job without benefits, and I am assuming when hired as a permanent employee I'll probably take some sort a cut. My rate is substantially better than my previous full time/perm positions with benefits so I decided to just go for it.

Is there any reason (besides DOE) that they would offer me that much more? Such as...Taking into consideration that I will probably have to pay more for my benefits or because they really think I'm worth that much?

I'm in my late 20s and feel like I have impostor syndrome. It's still unreal that I was offered an opportunity at my dream company (well, if/once I go perm). As someone who's never had a contract job, I'd like to see if I need any reality checks.


Note: the recruiter is an employee of the company.

  • 1. It sounds silly, but I'd like to confirm with you that it is the client who is making the offer? 2. Is your recruiter an employee of the company? If so, the company gets the last word on how much you get compensated. May 27, 2014 at 15:33
  • The recruiter is an employee of the company.
    – user19746
    May 29, 2014 at 3:15
  • 2
    That settles it. Enjoy the extra money and if you still feel guilty, send it to me :) May 29, 2014 at 3:24

2 Answers 2


The recruiter has no way of knowing what value the company will actually place on YOUR hiring, as opposed to someone else's. They were given, at most, a typical number and a range which were valid for the expected applicants, at the time they began the search.

The actual offer may be either lower OR higher than the recruiter's assumptions.

The recruiter never has all the answers, and often doesn't have the correct answers. Use them only as a source of leads to jobs, and assume that they're pretty much clueless about anything beyond that.

(Offtopic but important point: You said "I am assuming when hired as a permanent employee I'll probably take some sort a cut." That when is also an assumption, and may be a dangerous one. Even if that really is their plan today, if the needs of the business or the cashflow change between then and now, you'll be the easiest person to let go. You should be prepared to start looking again as you come to the end of your contract, and ideally have some possibilities lined up in case they don't come through... and don't assume you can stop looking until you've actually been hired.)

  • 2
    I will say "most" recruiters are pretty much clueless beyond providing leads and a process to pursue them, however; there are recruiters that work very specific niches and tend to have high profile clients that they only pursue hiring for senior or managerial roles. If you find one of these recruiters in your field they can be an invaluable resource. I've found these recruiters try to learn the ins and outs of the relevant tech and industry and are usually able to tell you more about a job than the company hiring you can. (note these people are rare) May 27, 2014 at 18:07
  • keshlam, I should've clarified that the recruiter is an employee of the company that hired me, if that makes any difference. Thank you!
    – user19746
    May 29, 2014 at 3:17
  • 1
    That still doesn't mean they know exactly what candidates for what positions will be offered what pay at the time the offer is made, only what they were told to publish for the purposes of getting suitable candidates to apply. If you were applying for an HR position, I'd expect them to come closer, but even then the "going rate" for those skills may change between advertising the position and filling it. Or maybe they just decided they really wanted you, or felt bad about it being a no-benefits position.
    – keshlam
    May 29, 2014 at 3:24

It probably depends on the "climate" of hiring your skills. If other candidates interviewed had higher former salaries ( ie this position was going backwards) then they realized what the going salary needed to be. Being a contractor, in a very competitive IT hiring market ( more jobs than qualified people) good companies will adjust market pay rates based on what they are seeing. They don't want you to quit because you get a 100k. ( approx 50 an hour) offer. Enjoy.

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