I work at a medium-sized recruiting firm in the U.S. I primarily place call center representatives and other customer service positions, but I occasionally come across positions in other fields.

In the past 3 months, both my boss and I have come under fire for under-performance as a team. When push comes to shove, it is the decision of my boss who will get let go. Logically, my boss will stay and I will be fired soon in lieu of some minor miracle.

I am in a similar situation as noted in: How do I leave my job when I work for a recruiter?, basically stuck between a rock and a hard place as I am starting my career with few professional connections to leverage in a job search.

Now here's the real pickle! I recently began working on placing a position in a non-customer service related field. The hiring manager for this position has struggled to find the two under-qualified candidates currently on his desk, and I happen to be strongly qualified myself.

1. Is it ethical to speak directly with this hiring manager about myself being the best candidate for the position?

2. Is it professional to speak with this hiring manager about submitting myself for this position?

I truly would not be considering this if I didn't believe I was the best candidate for the job. When I add my credentials to the pool of potential candidates, I would objectively choose myself over everyone else. I have a friend who works at the hiring manager's company who agrees that I would fit well into the company and perform well in the role.

On the one hand, I see this as a great opportunity to work around the recruiter-applying-for-a-new-position-without-getting-fired wall. On the other, I see how this could potentially damage both my current company's relationship with this hiring manager and, worst case scenario, end in myself getting fired for acting unprofessionally. I am simply unsure of how professional/ethical others view this move as being.

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    If you know you'll be fired soon, then go ahead and apply directly to the hiring manager. I don't think it's unethical since your position will be dissolved soon. Good luck.
    – Isaiah3015
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 16:34
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    Have you checked your contract and any other relevant documentation? I'd be somewhat surprised if there isn't some term covering this situation, either directly or indirectly. If they find out, that's obviously going to put your job (more) at risk. Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 16:44
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    "When I add my credentials to the pool of potential candidates, I would objectively choose myself over everyone else." You really can't be objective when you're talking about yourself. It's impossible to separate yourself from your emotions enough to pull this off. There's a reason we don't allow people to nominate themselves for a promotion or serve as jurors in their own trial. Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 16:56
  • Can't you just submit yourself and charge the standard fee? You wouldn't be cheating the client because you're a good fit for the job. You wouldn't be cheating your employer because they'd get their share of the placement fee. You wouldn't be cheating the other applicants because (1) you're the best qualified and (2) it's your decision whom to submit anyway. Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 5:18

3 Answers 3


Absolutely not. That is a classic conflict of interest. You may not be the best candidate for the job and it's in your own interest to not send them anyone better than you. I'm not saying you will, but that is most definitely how it will appear.

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    He can if he (and his firm) turns down the recruiting job, that removes the conflict. (And will get him fired on the spot)
    – Morons
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 17:02
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    @Morons that is true, but he's asking "is it okay". Depending on how that is meant, getting fired probably means that it's not okay.
    – Chris E
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 17:55

It's fine.

You think your job is under pressure, so it's not like you're damaging a good thing.

Don't let the hiring manager know that, of course. Reach out to him, ask him about it on the phone. You will need to check your contract, to see if you can apply. He will also need to check if he can hire you too. This might prove a blocker, of course, but there is no harm in asking.


Is it ethical?

You already know the answer to that question, or you would not have bothered asking it here. You came across this listing and the information because of the professional relationship you have with this client. That relationship is on that is the property of your employer. The only relationship you currently have is as an agent of your employer. So no it is not ethical to go behind your employers back to try to get hired with them.

Is it professional?

This completely depends on how you go about submitting yourself for it. If you do so as an agent of your company presenting a candidate that has not been approved then it is very unprofessional.

However, if your assessment of the situation is correct, then your employer may be best served by submitting you to the employer as a candidate. In this way the company fills the need of their client, and themselves as it is costly and wasteful to terminate an employee. Sometimes its less wasteful than keeping them on is all. If you can provide a situation where your employer benefits then they may be willing to submit you professionally and ethically.

If you try to do this in a manner that your employer would not approve, then even if the client really wants to hire you, there is a good chance that the will be contractually unable to do so. And your attempt will likely result in your being terminated from your position, and in the prospective company withdrawing any offer, and you being ineligible for hire with them in the future.

Should you some how manage to slip through the hiring process anyway, there is a very good chance that you will be putting that company at great risk, most contracts for this type of work prohibit employee poaching with a stiff financial penalty. Your actions could put both them and you at risk for breech of that contract and potentially fraud. This is my opinion based on my personal experiences not asserting any facts that can be cited. And not attempting to provide legal advice.

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