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Another job interview and recruiter tactics

May 5th, 2011 at 05:28 pm

An agency set up a phone interview for me with a big health insurance company this morning. I was pleased and surprised, because I don't have a health care background; most of my writing's been in financial services and real estate.

It seemed to go fairly well; the guy said there are 3 or 4 other candidates they'll be talking to. It's a contract job for 6 or 9 months with a possible extension. He mentioned there's some law that says that a contract job can't last more than a year (umm, i guess that's to protect employees from becoming forever contract workers with no benefits), so he said if it goes a year, they'd have to wait a month, during which time I couldn't work, and then rehire me.

So this is how successful companies today manage their human resources. Can you imagine the devastation to families if every company tried to get away with not having any permanent employees? There are very few protections for contract workers...no pay for holidays not worked, no paid vacation days, no paid sick days and health insurance, of course, is your problem.

Trust me, if I get the job, I will continue looking for something with benefits.

I think I mentioned before how the recruiter immediately latched on to the low end of the hourly wage I cited when she asked me how much I wanted. There was no special reason that I could see that she included the rate, $35 an hour, in the email she sent me which contained contact information for the interview with the employer. I think it was her way of trying to establish the "official" rate at the low end of the range I gave.

When she had asked me earlier what I wanted, my answer was, "Around $40 an hour...maybe $35." Her response was that this was perfectly within their range. So her immediately assigning the job a value of $35 an hour ticked me off.

I mean, the rule of thumb I always understood was that if you're working without benefits, the hourly rate should be higher than if you're working with benefits. This rate of pay is not higher than what I could expect to get in my field, with my experience, with benefits.

Now she may think she's got that taken care of, since I haven't said anything, but if it turns out the employer chooses me for the job, at that time I will tell the recruiter that I expect $40 an hour, given my background and expertise, and given the parameters of the job. How could she argue with me then, since she already responded that $35 to $40/hour was within their range? And how offensive that she would so quickly try to pin me down to the low end, possibly guessing I want/need the job too much to object.

Is this just a little bit slimy?

Well, the difference between $35 an hour and $40 an hour is substantial to me...over $10,000 annually. I figure that if the employer says he wants me, she has no choice and can't then tell me, screw you, we'll find someone else. She may have had the power to do that prior to my interview, but I don't think she can do much once I'm chosen by the employer, and especially since she already assented to the range.

I mean, her company still makes money if I'm hired at $40 an hour, but possibly they make no money if I'm not. I'm not sure if any of the other candidates the employer mentioned were put forth by the same agency that found me. And I would think it would be embarrassing and unprofessional looking if, after the employer said they want me, if the recruiter tried to steer him toward someone else becus they didn't want to pay me the $40 an hour.

Anyone have experience with this sort of thing?

4 Responses to “Another job interview and recruiter tactics”

  1. M E 2 Says:



    Since I am 99.9% sure no one I know makes $35-40/hr ... I'd have to say nope, no experience with this one at all.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    I have never worked with a recruiter, but I do wish you the very best of luck. I hope it works out!

  3. Ima saver Says:

    Good luck!

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    I think all middle-class salaries are stagnant, even declining, as companies squeeze employees for profits they can pass along to their top executives and parent companies. I get this annual salary guide from a staffing agency that seems to indicate I'm on the low-low end of salary for a senior copy editor in my geographic area, yet I can't find a job similar to mine that even comes close to my current salary. I think our perception of how much we can get for our skills is overblown because non-millionaires are making less and less these days. I've seen infographics about it, and the picture they paint is not pretty. More and more wealth is housed in the top 1 to 3 percent of American households, leaving less and less for the rest of us to share.

    Sorry, I just depressed myself with that screed! I hope I'm wrong, because I really want a new job that pays comparable to what I'm making.

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