Recruiters are like bargain hunters trying to take advantage of senior citizens at a yard sale with mispriced offerings. The recruiter recognizes market value but wants it cheap, knowing they pocket the difference when they know someone else will pay dearly to have value in their service.
They betray their scheme in the first conversation, either asking what you are currently being paid or what salary you would like for the job being discussed, forcing a particular number to be set as the baseline. You aren’t applying for your current job so don’t want the salary you already have, and you have no idea what the company is actually paying so don’t have any good guesses for their silly game.
They avoid telling you the salary range being offered because their power and personal gain comes from hiding that figure to pay you less than budgeted. The value of a recruiter to a company is their ability to keep pay below market rates.
A recruiter is on the phone and an email all day sifting through marks for this scheme. A little flattery and robotic template expressing interest in candidates lures them in. He qualifies their resume and monetary expectations and looks for an angle, but mostly disposes of almost all candidates.
Recruiter heavy companies with unreasonable budget constraints end up repelling talented candidates and settling for people who are so desperate they are willing to work for rates below market value.
Some job seekers go right to asking for the pay range of the position, which puts recruiters on their back foot but has the chance for an honest and respectful exchange.
Others shut down salary discussions whether by feigned social inappropriateness, ambiguities, ignorance, or outright hostility to that line of questioning. Sometimes this can be done agreeably, pretending that it would be in everyone’s interests to come upon a fair number after a finding whether there’s a match between the candidate and company. It’s all social garbage anyway.
They are mostly faking and lying to you and trying to rip you off, and you should be aggressively fighting for your interests so you can bring home the maximum amount of money for your family.
There’s nothing nice going on here. The recruiter is trying to cut margins below the budgeted amount, cornering you into a fight for aims contrary to exploitation. Retaliating with smart aggression is totally justified.
First you recognize who these people are and their purpose. Then having seen their essence, act appropriately towards them and what their approach deserves.