A recruiter contacted me, regarding an opening, to see if I was interested. This recruiter gave a Salary Amount and location for this opening.

The recruiter agreed to telephone interview with their client. After interview, which went well, recruiter contacted me to see if I would go to the clients home office for another interview. After I agreed, the recruiter changed the Salary amount, lowering it by $8,000.

I was interested in the job but, recruiter would not negotiate. Should I contact their client and tell them how it appeared as a bait & switch occurred? Client said the position has been open 4 months & I was 1st interview. They gave the impression they wanted it filled yesterday. Is it ethical to contact them?

  • 3
    Most recruiters work on a commission. They want you to have a large salary, so that their commission will be higher. If that is how they are incentivized and they lower the salary, then I would suspect that the lower salary is the real salary and there is nothing to be gained by going around the recruiter to this particular employer. There might be something to gained by not using this recruiter in the future.
    – emory
    Aug 17, 2014 at 17:40
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    @emory: That's not true. Recruiters, like real estate agents, want to complete a transaction because they don't get paid at all if the candidate doesn't take a new job with the new employer. Therefore, they may actually prefer that the candidate ask for a little less than the maximum that the hiring company is willing to pay because it improves the chances that the company will select the candidate.
    – Jim G.
    Aug 17, 2014 at 19:32
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    The recruiter reduced the amount, probably because that amount might be the best they could get from the client. The OP hasn't received an offer and assuming they did, they still have the option of rejecting it. Aug 17, 2014 at 21:50
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    Did the recruiter not make you sign or at least agree to some terms, one of which is that you will not contact the companies directly? I wouldn't do it - I would make your terms known to the recruiter; eg, "i'll take the offer at the original amount but not the 8000 discounted price."
    – JoeT
    Aug 17, 2014 at 23:53
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    You say "recruiter would not negotiate" - but did they give you any explanation whatsoever for the change in the salary for the position? Aug 18, 2014 at 2:26

3 Answers 3


Depending on the company, the contracted hourly rate might be negotiated at a higher level than the department that the position is in. The budget for the position may have been reduced. The recruiter may have made a mistake or gotten confused between positions because I'm sure s/he is working to fill several of them. There are a number of reasonable explanations for the salary change.

If a potential contractor reached out to me about salary for a position, I would view that person as not following the common procedure. If it appears that you can't follow common procedure before you have the job - what would happen if you were hired? Would I have to worry about you going around me? Do I have time to deal with someone like that?

You have the option to interview about the position and then if it's offered and the salary doesn't meet your expectations - then you will need to decide to either accept it or not. This is where being a contractor has its pluses and minuses.

  • thank you for your perspective. I agree there is fine line and am glad I didn't cross it. Aug 18, 2014 at 17:55

Many positions such as this are actually contract roles. The company pays the recruiter every week, and the recruiter passes some of that pay on to the worker. The recruiter makes more money if they can convince the worker to accept a lower "salary."

To answer the question, there is nothing wrong with contacting the employer and explaining what the recruiter is doing, because it affects both of you. For example, the employer might be paying a generous amount, and expect you to work a certain way. But if you're just receiving a pittance, you might resent that.


No, I would not go to the recruiter's client directly. For better of worse, by starting working with the recruiter, you agreed that he or she would be representing you.

In addition, I would wait for a written offer after the last interview before I would start negotiating the salary.

By contacting the firm directly, you risk to spook them and will not get an offer.

Once you get an offer, it is up to you to take it or not or to indicate that it is $8,000 lower than expected.

  • thank you for your answer. Appreciate the objective advice. Aug 18, 2014 at 17:54
  • By dropping the offer, and making the the prospective employee want to pull out, the recruiter is actively going against the interests of his client. So he doesn't deserve a penny in commission.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 29, 2015 at 11:38
  • The only exclusive relationship, if there is one, is between the recruiter and the company. The applicant is not duty-bound to go through the recruiter, to defer to the recruiter's judgment, or to keep the recruiter's secrets.
    – Sneftel
    Mar 5 at 15:58

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