Applicant Says They Feel "Low-Balled" After Recruiter Asks for Lowest Salary They'd Accept

In a viral post, a person revealed that they feel "low-balled" after a recruiter asked them for the lowest salary they would accept for a job.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Aug. 10 2023, Published 11:25 a.m. ET

Let's face it — salary negotiations are difficult. It's incredibly intimidating, but we encourage you to stand your ground and know your value to the company, unlike this person in the "antiwork" subreddit who fell into a trap and essentially agreed to take a company's initial (and extremely low) offer.

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The original poster, who goes by the handle u/DrillingShale, revealed he feels "low-balled" because, during a phone interview, a recruiter asked for the lowest salary they'd be willing to take for a job.

Read on for more details. Plus, stick around to hear what the internet has to say.

Businessmen shaking hands at the office.
Source: Getty Images
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A recruiter asked an applicant the lowest salary they'd be willing to accept.

"This was like, the second or third question in the initial phone screen," the OP wrote, adding, "They asked me word for word, 'What is the lowest pay you would be willing to take for this position?'"

Sadly, it seems the OP doesn't know any basic salary negotiation tips because he gave the recruiter a number — and it just so happens to be the company's starting base pay. Wow, what a weird coincidence (not). Well, good luck to the OP because the firm likely won't offer him anything higher.

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In the end, the OP said he was going to meet with the recruiter again soon and was planning on asking them, "What's the highest amount of compensation you are willing to pay for this position?"

Unfortunately, we don't think that'll go too well, and it seems the OP doesn't have much faith either because he asked if the recruiter was "purposefully trying to low-ball" him (the answer is yes, by the way).

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Many took to the comments to share their thoughts on the OP's situation and on salary negotiation tactics.

"Standard practice by recruiters," one Redditor said. "What you do is think of the number that would make you dance if you got it, and tell them that is the minimum you would accept."

A second Reddit user boldly claimed that all recruiters are "disgusting," adding, "I remember once [when] a question was literally, 'What is the minimum amount you need to survive? They weren't even hiding the fact that they plan on giving you the bare minimum for the privilege of working for a company."

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Redditor u/GeddyVedder commented, "Negotiation 101: You can start high and come down, but you can't start low and go up."
Source: Reddit / u/GeddyVedder

As expected, several fellow Redditors agreed that the OP made the biggest mistake which, as we said before, was giving the recruiter a number (We are still annoyed that he did this!)

"You done messed up. Always go in with a high number, stating that that is what you'd expect given your education and experience," someone said. "If they don't like that, tell them that you're not willing to change jobs for a pay cut."

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Another penned, "It's what they said.. If you said 2,000.. They would've said it's the starting base pay. If you said 1,000, they would've said it's the standard starting pay.. If you said 500, they would've said.. Well, you get it."

"Seems a little convenient that the number you shot out was exactly what they pay, no?" a third person wondered. "I bet the real number was a lot higher..." Very, very true.

Redditor u/avalisk commented, "He didn't 'try' to lowball you. He did. The base pay is probably higher."
Source: Reddit / u/avalisk
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"You f----- up by giving them a number," a Reddit user commented. "They'll not go up from there."

The OP foolishly replied, "They said it was their starting base pay, so I'm assuming that it's only up though.'

He was met with a truthful response: "They're not going to offer you a contract higher than your lowest number you gave them. You've told them what you'll accept. That's what they’ll offer. You might get a 2 percent raise every other year going on but that'll be it."

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