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They do get paid for a placement - this is true - but there is certainly motivation in getting someone another 10K. For someone like me that owns their own small company, an extra 10K for my candidate could mean $2,500 in my pocket.

I'll always advise candidates on the risk of asking too much or the potential for an offer to be retracted if we don't negotiate in good faith and reasonability, but it isn't accurate to think that the incentive to raise a candidate's salary isn't there for many recruiters. For your example of 10K that may result in $2,500 to the recruiter, that isn't an insignificant amount. That's a mortgage payment for some.

I do agree that the risk of someone being too expensive is real, but the recruiter doesn't decide on what is too expensive - that is a decision made by the market and participants in the market.

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