job hunter speaking (l) woman interviewing for job with interviewer holding paper in front of laptop on table (c) job hunter speaking (r)

Production Perig/Shutterstock @shea.vandenbergh/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I wanna be fully transparent with you’: Interviewer tells candidate company only budgeted for lower end of salary range

'What in the world is going on with the job market??'


Adrienne Hunter


Posted on May 18, 2023

A woman claimed that despite a job application listing a salary range of $43,000-$79,000, the position was revealed to have only been budgeted for $43,000.

On April 24, Shea van den Bergh (@shea.vandenbergh) posted a TikTok about a job interview she just finished. She claimed the interviewer admitted that her prospective employer usually budgets $43,000 for the position she applied to. The interview was for a Healthcare Quality Improvement Coordinator position at the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The video has amassed over 394,000 views as of May 18. 

“Bitch, you want a master’s degree and experience and pay me $43,000?” van den Bergh said in the clip. 

“What in the world is going on with the job market??” she added in the caption. “While I’d love this job and enjoy the work, I can’t just stop feeding my child.”

@shea.vandenbergh What in the world is going on with the job market?? While I’d love this job and enjoy the work, I can’t just stop feeding my child. It is a government job, which is why they cant quality employees, which is why the government programs are failing. #joboffer #salary #momlife #workingmom #foryoupage #fyp ♬ original sound – Shea van den Berg542

In the comments section, viewers echoed her frustration.

“That range should have been the first red flag like 43 to 79 is a huge difference,” one commenter wrote.

“I make 40,000. It’s hard to live off of. I have to fight for every raise I get,” another user said. 

In an email interview with the Daily Dot, van den Bergh explained that she began applying to jobs in January after her Los Angeles-based contract position, which paid $81,000 a year, had started to end.  

“I probably applied for 150 positions and got around 20 interviews. I live in South Carolina so I was aware the salary would be less than the salary in LA for a similar position. As I was applying for jobs, I noticed quickly how many companies were offering so little money, but I needed to get a job.”

Van den Bergh said she went into the interview expecting a midrange offer, which she would have been happy with.

“He said I should keep in mind the other benefits of the job, like PTO, benefits, etc… That’s not a livable wage,” van den Bergh wrote.  

“I worked EMS while getting my master’s to better my future, not go backward. So while I would have loved the job and believe I would have been a good fit for the position, I know my worth as well.”

Social work and human services positions have historically been underpaid. A recent study from the University of Washington School of Social Work found that human service workers are paid 30% less than other industries in the state of Washington. The university also conducted a comparable worth analysis and found that human service work is undervalued compared to other jobs with similar levels of difficulty and skill requirements.

The Daily Dot contacted the South Carolina Department of Social Services for comment. 

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*First Published: May 18, 2023, 3:49 pm CDT