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‘This takes away potential earnings from you’: Viral TikTok video exposes HR recruiting trick to pay you less

‘Be aware!’


Jack Alban


The topic of fair wages in the workplace has always been a hot-button issue, but with the cost of property and renting in the United States at an all-time high and heightened levels of inflation, folks are worried about being able to provide for themselves and their loved ones who depend on their income for survival.

While there are many companies implementing hourly wage and salary hikes for their employees, overall these increases aren’t keeping up with the rate of inflation, meaning that workers may not be earning a sustainable income, even if they’re getting a raise.

So if you’re a job seeker courting possible positions with a new company, you should probably do everything in your power to ensure you’re starting at the highest possible salary when you join your new team, as experts believe inflation may get even worse and we could possibly be facing another recession.

However, HR recruiters apparently implement a variety of different tactics and tricks to ensure they get you in at a lower salary rate, according to the TikToker @workasawoman.

@workasawoman Remember the incentives of the people you’re talking to #workasawoman #careeradvice #careertiktok #techtok #worklife #corporate #womeninstem ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

The creator opens the video by saying, “There’s a very subtle and sneaky trick that a lot of HR professionals and recruiters use to pay people less money for the job that they take and I’m gonna tell you what it is.”

She continues, “The reason I know about this is because I’ve hired hundreds of people and I’ve seen this work.”

Text overlay sums up what the gist of the ploy is: “The sneaky trick is to convince you to join at a lower salary band to “anchor you to the top performance level.”

She elaborates: “When they go to give you an offer they’ll say this: ‘Our whole team was really impressed with you and we hope that you join. It looks like your experience level puts you at the highest end of this salary band or at the lowest end of next salary band up. So we could bring you in at the higher band but you would be on the very bottom of that totem pole. Over time you’ll be anchored to that band so it’s really much better for you to be at the top end of the totem pole.”

The TikToker expands on this in the text overlay: “They will use long-term thinking to encourage you to “be thoughtful” about your potential. Be aware! This takes away potential earnings away from you, and means that you won’t have any room for a salary adjustment without a promotion.”

The creator posted a follow-up video where she explained how to best respond to an HR recruiter who puts you in this position.

@workasawoman Reply to @rohan80659 💯 Agree with this person’s comment #workasawoman #careeradvice #careertiktok #techtok #worklife #corporate ♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

Commenters remarked that there are other “bonuses” and “perks” tied to some salary bands that aren’t offered in others. Higher salary bands may have additional assurances and privileges that lower ones don’t have, so while you may be at the “top” of a lower band, getting at the bottom of the totem pole on a higher salary band may give you additional options to explore.

One commenter said, “Salary bans may also determine bonus percentages or other perks. The red flag is if they don’t follow the way their system is designed.”

However, there were some people who disagreed that this was the best method of obtaining what you seek from your employer.

One user commented, “Compensation Consultant here. This makes no sense…Low end gives room for higher increases.”

Another shared, “This is just not factual. There are so many other things that play into placement within a role’s range.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to the @workasawoman TikTok account for further comment.

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