I met a very helpful recruiter today who gave some valuable insight into my target industry, having been in it herself for over a decade. She gave me a specific role to apply for, and I agreed that that role would be a nice fit for me.

However, in addition to the mentoring for the role that she was trying to fill, she also advised me - insisted, actually - that I reach out to a former manager of mine. This former manager is pretty high up in the corporate hierarchy of the company that he works for, and she insisted that I meet him, in person, and ask about the state of the industry, where I would best fit now (after graduate school), and where are currently some good spots to land. All very good advice ... but ... isn't this recruiter risking losing me to my former manager's contacts hiring me directly and thus losing her opportunity to earn a commission? Why might she insist on my having this meeting to reconnect with my old boss to ask for industry updates and job openings? Is this, in some ways, advantageous to a recruiter?

  • What reason did she give you for doing so?
    – Masked Man
    Apr 28, 2018 at 7:32
  • 1
    @MaskedMan she didn't give a reason at all. And, I was tempted to ask but didn't want to be rude by asking something like, "interesting, but what would you get out of it, if I found a job without your help?" Apr 28, 2018 at 7:37

4 Answers 4


The question why? in some form is always appropriate and worth asking, especially when somebody asks you to use your social capital in a surprising way.

You should ask politely. Maybe you could say something like, "I hadn't considered doing that. I wonder what you think would happen if I did do it? Why do you suggest it?"

Surprising suggestions often have interesting reasons behind them. It's always good to ask. If the recruiter reacts negatively to your request for a conversation about the suggestion, that's a bit of a red flag about the recruiter.

It's possible the recruiter just wants you to get her some good info on what's going on in your former company. You have a duty of confidentiality to your former company: politely avoid breaching it.

The best recruiters build honest long-term relationships with people like you. If she doesn't place you at your next job, she may place you at the one after that if you are still in touch with her. Or, when you become a hiring manager you may choose to work with her to find good people because you trust her.


It doesn't matter why, it sounds like you're being given a one-time opportunity, don't pass it up. It costs you nothing to meet this guy and drop her name. He could decide on the spot to hook you up with a sweet gig, or farm you out. don't miss it.

Maybe your recruiter knows him well and is impressed by you and wants to do him a favor. Or maybe she thinks your cute and doesn't care about commission. Or maybe she's completely delusional and thinks your someone else. Point is, it doesn't matter why, and nobody but her can say, so just answer the knock of opportunity and see what's behind the door.

  • Or maybe she just wants to get herself promoted in the eyes of his former boss. Without asking the OP will never know. Apr 28, 2018 at 13:21

Recruiters don't get paid by the people they place, they get paid by the company that takes on the new hire.

Recruiters don't typically have to look too hard to find someone who wants a job - everyone wants money - but they do have to find people who want a role filled - nobody likes spending money.

Your recruiter is being really helpful to you, and if you get a good role, you will probably want to use this recruiter. They've already proven to you that they care about placing people and doing a good job!


Total speculation, of course:

The recruiter must know your old boss somehow. It's likely that they mentioned, in passing, that they were working with someone that old boss knows. Old boss; knowing that you're looking for work, possibly showed an interest in talking to you again, before you are placed somewhere else.

If the recruiter is working with your old boss, then their relationship with their customer is worth a lot more than potentially missing one placement.

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