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In the luxurious situation of having a rare and sought after set of skills, one might get contacted by multiple recruitment agencies.

From one particular (very large) city, I have been contacted by three separate recruitment agencies, all with different job offers.

Specifically since they are in the same area, I'm wondering if it would be considered un-professional or otherwise negative, to let multiple agencies represent me?

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Something to consider is how many agencies are you prepared to keep in the loop about the status of your job search as if you start getting more than a handful of agencies, it could be some work to call each of them regularly. –  JB King Feb 11 '13 at 17:47
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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Not on its face, no. The problem generally comes when both you and the hiring company are working through multiple recruiters, and the recruiters aren't talking to each other about the candidates they're submitting. The end result is multiple copies of your resume on the desk of the hiring manager. This wastes time (he has to recognize your name and confirm that it's a dupe), and reflects badly on you, especially when a recruiter has padded your resume without your knowledge (and thus the hiring manager has resumes with two different skillsets and job experience sections with your name on them; which one's accurate? As the hiring manager I might just circular-file them both).

To avoid this, you can either not work with a recruiter, work with only one recruiter, or tell all recruiters you work with that you must be contacted and give approval before the recruiter sends your resume to an employer, and they must tell you the company, department and hiring manager they are working with on the other end. That allows you to keep track of who has been sent your resume and by whom (of course you must keep these records) thus avoiding having multiple recruiters hired by the employer each sending them your resume; first to get you the scoop gets the credit should you be hired.

Recruiters are often reluctant to part with this information; they usually get their money by referring you to the employer, not by telling you who's hiring. However if you tell them why, and make it a strict condition of their representing you, you may make them more willing to play ball, and more importantly you establish the working relationship between yourself and the recruiter and avoid having your reputation tarnished.

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+1 for the must tell you the company name. I can't understand how anyone can prepare a CV tailored to an application at a specific company if they don't even know the name of that company. –  Mark Booth Sep 4 '12 at 16:54
    
@MarkBooth Resumes with specific technical skills don't always need to fitted to every company. If you're a C++ quant developer, you're the same quant developer regardless of whether you are applying to JP Morgan or Merrill Lynch, and the positions will be about the same. –  MrFox Feb 11 '13 at 18:00
    
@MrFox - not always, but the more information you have about the target company, the more effectively you can tailor your CV to that companies requirements. There is absolutely no reason to trust a recruiter who won't even trust you with the company name. Plus, how do you avoid the perils of double presentation if a recruiter can't even confirm they aren't sending your CV to someone you've already applied to? In short, a recruiter keeping the name of the company from you is simply unacceptable. –  Mark Booth Feb 11 '13 at 18:10
    
@MarkBooth No argument with what you posted at all. I'm just trying to note that some people don't tailor resumes. They apply with the same resumes everywhere. –  MrFox Feb 11 '13 at 18:15
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I've been sent to job interviews by recruiters prior to the recruiter even telling me what the job title/roles are. Point being, recruiters don't care. They're going for quantity over quality much of the time. –  DA. Feb 11 '13 at 18:19
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There is nothing wrong with having multiple agencies represent you to potential employers.

The only issue is if 2 (or more) agencies submit you at the same time. You have to keep tabs on who is submitting you. This is an issue because the employer has to pay a fee to an agency. If 2 recruiters submit you to the same job, which one gets the fee? Many times, companies don't want the headache.

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