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I have an interview this week for a service desk position working with hospitals. It is a 6 month contract position with an opportunity to hire after 6 months based on performance. The problem is that when i spoke to the recruiter, they said that the initial offer is less than 20.00 an hour. That’s on a 1099 basis. That seems unbelievably low to me. I agreed to go to the interview and my plan is to have a wage that i Will not budge on. I am currently employed so i have nothing to lose. I wanted to ask about what you all think would be a good starting point for me to ask for as far as wage goes and then any advice in terms of what to expect in terms of salary expectations after being hired after 6 months. If i have to pay my own insurance, etc. I can’t imagine an hourly rate that low being anything but an insult.
Any advice would be welcome.

Tldr: contract to hire wants to offer an hourly wage of less than 20 an hour. Looking for advice on how to negotiate my wage at an interview that i don’t care if i get the job or not.

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