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How To Deal with Multiple Recruiters Who Work with the Same Company

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Q:

Recruiter A put me in for Position 1 at Company X. I met with Recruiter B to discuss a potential Position 2 at Company X (although I didn't realize it until our meeting that the job was for Company X). I explained to Recruiter B that Recruiter A had already put me in for Position 1 at Company X, so we decided I should try to confirm with Recruiter A that Position 2 was NOT the same job as Position 1.

Before I could call Recruiter A, I received a voicemail from her telling me that she knew of another potential position at Company X (it was Position 2).

So, the "original" recruiter ended up asking me if I wanted to also be put in for Position 2, AFTER I'd already met with Recruiter B to discuss it. Recruiter B has not yet sent my information to the client.

What do I do? Recruiter A has already been talking to Company X about me for Position 1, so I am already in the running there. Recruiter B hasn't even gotten to that point yet and the two positions are very similar.

A:

This is a tricky and uncomfortable situation for all involved, but the best way to avoid any problems is to be honest with Recruiter B and tell her you have already been submitted to the company by Recruiter A. When companies utilize the services of search firms, the service agreements usually state that once a recruiter submits a candidate for a position, the recruiter is entitled to receive credit for the introduction, no matter which position the candidate is hired for a period of six months to one year.

In this situation, Recruiter A clearly discussed opportunities at the company with you first and deserves credit (he's likely to be compensated anyways for the placement). Do not allow Recruiter B to submit your information to the company. Just kindly let her know that you clarified the situation and you have already been presented to the company.  Keep the door open to hear about opportunities with her other clients. She should be understanding to the situation. It's part of being in the recruiting business.

Problems arise when the same candidate is presented by two different search firms to the same company. Some candidates believe it is to their advantage to hide previous applications, past interviews, or discussions about the company with another third-party recruiter, so they deliberately omit this pertinent information. I imagine it's because many candidates are not well-versed on how the recruiter/company relationships works and they probably think the more people who put them in front of the company, the better.

This is not the case when working with recruiters.

The consequences of being introduced by more than one recruiter for a position will never result in a happy ending. It damages the relationship between the candidate and the recruiters. Most hiring companies will do whatever necessary to not be involved in a battle between two recruiting firms claiming credit for the candidate. The company will question the candidate's integrity or possibly decide that hiring the candidate will cause issues it prefers to avoid.

These situations can be easily avoided by keeping a few things in mind:

  • Keep detailed notes of the companies and positions for which you have applied, including conversations with recruiters and the positions/companies they have presented. Include position and dates of initial introduction and follow through interviews.
  • Be honest with a recruiter if you have sent your information directly to a company or if you have been presented an opportunity at the company by another recruiter. We don't like surprises.
  • Not all recruiters adhere to the same standards of confidentiality. Make it clear to the recruiters you choose to work with that your information should not be sent to any company without your permission.


This post is part of an on-going series

featuring readers job search and hiring questions. If you have a question you would like answered in this blog, please send it to me here. Your information will be kept confidential.

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