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Should I share information about positions I have applied for with recruiters?

I recently put my resume up on Monster.com and a lot of staffing agencies have started contacting me to try and find me a job.

One thing they always ask me, in tones most benign, is whether I'm talking to any other companies besides the ones they've introduced me to. If I say yes, they ask which company (usually along with "Oh, I haven't even heard of them!" and I can almost hear them scribbling the name down), then ask how I found them, and who I spoke with there, and whether they're HR or technical or a recruiter, etc.

I can't think of any way it hurts me to give them this information, but somehow in the back of my mind I'm suspicious.

Is there anything I should know about this?

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marked as duplicate by bethlakshmi, jcmeloni, ChrisF, kolossus, bytebuster Jan 19 '13 at 4:55

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5 Answers 5

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There are two aspects to this.

First, they do need to know that you haven't already been submitted for a job. When two agencies send your CV to the same company, it causes problems. There can be a fight over who earns the commission. I have worked for companies who will not consider you for the job because it gets too complicated.

However, it is absolutely in the agent's interest to find out who is looking for staff. They can then approach those companies and try to get themselves on the books. This goes against you personally because it increases the pool of applicants. So it's not in your interests to give them this information.

My response to this is always, "You tell me where you're submitting my CV and I'll tell you if I've already been submitted."

On a few occasions, they've been aggressive to this response and I tend to say, "Would you want me to give the same information to other agents?"

That usually stops them.

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Yes, this. An additional benefit is that this gives them an extra incentive to consult you before submitting your resume somewhere, which ought to be a "duh!" but in reality there are recruiters out there who submit candidates without first gaining specific permission. –  Monica Cellio Jan 14 '13 at 18:10
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+1 for that "Would you want me to give the same information to other agents?" line. –  jfrankcarr Jan 14 '13 at 22:48
    
I wish I had read this four months ago. I ended up getting the job they tried to screw me out of, but I still felt like an idiot when I went in for the second interview and my interviewer said, "So you've been talking to recruiters..." –  mikeTheLiar Jan 16 '13 at 21:55
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Most HR departments frown on double submissions of a candidate even if from different agencies, many will outright blacklist an agency if they do double submit a candidate. So in one sense it is a valid question.

However since most agencies would not submit you to a company without your approval and knowledge it's really a fishing expedition on their part to find potential customers. Bottom line is that you are in control of this information and can choose to share it or not.

My suggestion would be to not share it upfront. You should always know beforehand what companies the agency is going to submit you to and you can simply tell them then that you have already applied/submitted a resume.

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Yes, recruiters should know they aren't the only ones you are using. However, while I would name the agencies, I'd be cautious of naming specific individuals as that could just invite trouble if one recruiter starts calling another. The issue of this is that you could be seen as someone that doesn't know how to maintain confidentiality as it isn't necessarily worth sharing all the information to someone else. I'd view the agencies as being close to public knowledge to some degree. However, the specific individuals working with you would be where I'd draw the line as that isn't something for them to know.

The other point here to note is that multiple staffing agencies may be trying to fill the same job and thus you have to be aware of who is the client if you go through an agency so that you aren't being doubly represented for positions. This is a quick way to get disqualified from a position because you may be seen as trying to get an unfair advantage as well as it being unclear who should be paid if you were to be hired as each firm would claim, "Hey, you placed our client. Pay us!" Thus it is worth having some kind of tracking system, a spreadsheet is the simplest solution though I could imagine people getting a bit more complex for some cases, so that you know where you were applied and for what position specifically.

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Don't do it unless the recruiter you are talking to is a person you well know. HR departments should not have problems with double submissions because recruiting agencies are not allow to submit CVs without the candidates' consent.

Remember recruiters are client minded and clients candidates are not their clients. They will try to squeeze and get the most they can from candidates. When they ask with who you have been talking to is because they are trying to get new positions. In few words they will go and talk to the companies you have been talking to so that they can introduce candidates they already have. This will reduce your chances of getting placed.

If they ask you if you are being interviewed just tell them truth without telling them the positions and name of the companies. If they tell you they need to know in order to know if they can submit you, then you tell them, give me the name of the company and position first and then I tell you if I have applied. :)

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I was a contracted/intern for a company. They wanted to hire an intern so that in a couple months, they could hire me on full time. Eventually they created the position which matched exactly what I did as an intern. Before posting the position, the boss asked if I was going to interview with any other companies, and I said no, I plan on working here. That day, I went home and started applying to other companies, because it occurred to me that they have the power to not hire me. Turns out, they hired one of the bosses friends with no relevant experience, other than he knows how to use a computer. My suggestion would be to tell the recruiters no, I am not applying anywhere else, and secretly keep your doors open.

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