If a recruiter contacts me about an opportunity at Company X but I find out that I have second or third-degree connections with people there (through personal and professional friends), should I approach the opportunity and discuss it through the recruiter or reach out and make connections via my personal network? Is it okay to sidestep the recruiter and directly reach out to the company (assuming I have not spoken with the recruiter)?
For most recruiters that have contacted me, they have all been cold contacts via various networking or job search sites. Though I would like to work with recruiters to find good opportunities for myself, my past experience has not been too memorable and have made me feel like I am at their mercy. With an introduction through a friend, I have found that the response rate has been better and people have been more receptive that way.