I recently ran into an interesting situation and would like some ethical feedback. Here's the situation:

  1. I was contacted by a recruiter about a position after submitting my resume to their site

  2. Recruiting firm introduced me to company X

  3. Position was an awesome fit and company X setup an in person interview

  4. Recruiting firm and company X had a falling out

  5. Recruiting firm disengages and tells me the in person interview is canceled

I would like to re-engage with company X directly. Am I legally bound not to pursue the position? Is company X legally bound not to pursue me if I found a job posting online and submit directly?

Seems wrong to me that issues between company X and recruiting firm would block my ability to get a job and provide for my family.

  • 2
    What country are you in? Do you have a contract with the recruiting firm? If there's no contracts by all means contact then yourself. Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 21:21
  • 1
    United states. No I didn't sign any contracts with recruiting firm (dunno about companyX). I did submit my resume to recruiters site, but don't remember any EULA click throughs. Also created a new account on recruiters site and didn't see any EULA...
    – JobSeekerX
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 21:26
  • Only the company would be able to tell you what they're legally bound by (but the most likely consequence of hiring you soon would be being required to pay the recruiting firm). Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 21:33
  • Looks to be part of the issue now. CompanyX seems skittish to even talk to me. Without being able to see the agreement between companyX and recruiting firm... any suggestions on how I can overcome this obstacle?
    – JobSeekerX
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 21:39

3 Answers 3


Am I legally bound not to pursue the position?

Most likely no, given that you have no contract, non-compete or similar document with the recruiting company.

I suggest you double check the things, if any, you signed, and the terms of service and similar resources the recruiting company had, to be completely sure you are not restricted by some means.

Is companyX legally bound not to pursue me if I found a job posting online and submit directly?

This is a bit more unsure, as it would depend if they had some contract or non-compete with the recruiting agency.

However, given that you were in fact not restricted, nothing is blocking you from pursuing them yourself. In case they did had some agreement , it could be the case that they have to reject you, but one can only know this by applying personally.

  • 5
    You could also argue that by canceling the interview the recruiting company had breached any contract they had with you Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 22:23
  • And given the fallout, there is no compete situation anymore - the recruiter blew themselves out of being a competiton.
    – TomTom
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 15:03

I can't speak to the legal issues, but if you didn't sign anything with the recruiter, you are likely free to pursue the job yourself. Quite honestly, how will they ever know you did this, sounds like the recruiter dumped you the first chance they could get now that they can't sell you off.

The reason you are getting resistance from the company is the recruiter was representing you as "their guy" for time time you were interacting. Now that the relationship is sour, so is their relationship with you.

If you'd really like to pursue this opportunity, you should re-apply for the position as yourself. You should also make it clear that you had no prior relationship with this recruiter before they presented you for this job. If you can get this sob story in front of the right individual, they will likely be happy to reopen the process with you, and avoid the recruiter fees in the process!

  • In general, you don't need to have signed a contract with a recruiter for them to count as your exclusive representative. Rather, they'll have a contract with the hiring company Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 0:38

I would look for a direct apply link on the company's website and fill out a job application. Worst they can say is there's a no compete clause and they can't hire you. Unless you signed something, knowing about the clause isn't really your concern, you can always call the employer directly and ask, just be enthusiastic about the job as you'll probably be creating them a bit of a headache on your behalf.

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