Recently, a recruiter approached me for a role which turned out to not be the right fit for me. They said they had a few more roles coming up that they would "keep me on the cards for". One of these roles is for Company A, which I am very interested in. I said as much, and they said "I can represent you to Company A but I'm waiting for them to come back to me with feedback and will let you know when they do". This was about two weeks ago.

Yesterday, a different recruiter from a different firm approached me about Company A, I'm assuming for the same position.

My question is, what do I do in this situation? Is it in my best interest to go with whichever recruiter approaches me first, or should I maintain my relationship with the first recruiter and wait for them to get back to me?

Edit with a little more context:

  • I have not interviewed with company A.
  • I am assuming it's the same position as both recruiters used the same job title and seniority.
  • I have not signed a formal contract with either recruiter. The only "formal" communication I have in writing is the first recruiter saying "I can represent you to Company A but I'm waiting for them to come back to me with feedback and will let you know when they do".

Note that my question is different than the one that has been linked, as I am not asking how to tell the first recruiter that another recruiter has contacted me. I am asking how to maintain my best interest in this particular situation. I.e. go with the first recruiter that knows me well and has worked with me in the past or go with the second recruiter who seems to be moving faster.

  • @JoeStrazzere I told the first recruiter that I was interested in Company A, and that's when they said "I can represent you to Company A but I'm waiting for them to come back to me with feedback and will let you know when they do" Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 23:21
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    I think we need a little more context here. Is there any formal agreement or contract in place between you and either recruiter? Do you know the relationship either has with Company A? You said you're assuming the second recruiter is approaching you about the same position, what do you have to back that up?
    – dwizum
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 14:16
  • Did you interview with company A?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 15:13
  • @dwizum I have added a little more context. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 22:06
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings I have edited my post to explain how my question is different from the one you've linked. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 22:06

2 Answers 2


Even if it was a different position, if you gave Recruiter A the okay to present you to that company, then they basically have "dibs." If you get hired for ANY position by that company, usually within the next year, they are owed a contingency fee because the company first became aware of you through their efforts. It's not about whether you interviewed or not, it's about who presented you as a candidate.

(Recruiter) - I can represent you to Company A but I'm waiting for them to come back to me with feedback and will let you know when they do

Call that person to find out exactly what that means and ask them if you have been already been presented yet. If the answer is "I'm going to....." then tell them they no longer have permission to present you, and give Recruiter B the green light.

If the answer is "yes, I did right away and we're waiting on their feedback," then you are pretty much set as Recruiter A's candidate. It would not be below some recruiters to sense you might want to go a different direction and lie about this. If it's important enough to you, you could tell them you are keeping track of your different situations, and ask them to forward the email message to you so you can record the company and when you were presented to them. If it turns out the recruiter was lying to you or doctored the forwarded email to lie to you, you might want to consult an attorney about your options.

It does not matter if Recruiter B can fast track you better, and it does not matter if Recruiter B's connection leads to you getting hired, which will be highly unlikely.

This company will not be interested in paying both Company A and Company B a recruiting fee (which is the option if they settle before any litigation kicks in), nor will they be interested in losing in court for violating their recruiting agreement with company "A".

Once you said that recruiter could present you, and they put your name in the hopper with that company, regardless of your satisfaction with how things are moving, they are the recruiter of record for you as a client, as far as that company is concerned.

Anyone telling you that you can blow this off and go with a second recruiter without consequence does not know what they are talking about.

If you go with "B" and don't tell them that you knew you were already being presented, then when they get either screwed out of their fee because it's owed to Company "A", or get dragged into litigation, you will be considered to be a toxic candidate by everyone who has touched this situation, and everyone either recruiter and both of their companies network with. So this job better be one that will have you set up and happy for a long, long time, assuming that an offer doesn't get pulled when the company sees the mess coming their way that is entirely because of your actions.

I have both worked as a recruiter for a local franchise of a large national firm, and then as a one-horse recruiting agency on my own, in my past employment life, FYI.


You haven't signed anything, go with Recruiter B


The first guy was too slow, you've got someone talking to you right now about a position you're interested in, tell them yes. You aren't under any obligation to the first recruiter and they (recruiters) understand that.

I've been contacted for some jobs by up to twenty different recruiters (the first time it was more than two I started keeping track of how many it had been, and when another called I would answer calls with "congratulations, you're #X"; I also didn't want the job). All you have to say is "I'm sorry, I've already been submitted."

If you wanted to, you could also call the first guy back and say, "Hey I heard from another recruiter about that role we talked about and wanted to give you a chance to represent me before I went with someone else," if you liked that recruiter or their company. If you've got no particular attachment, don't worry about it.

What you have to worry about is doing the little "I agree to let represent me for " only once for any given opening (not company, opening: different job ID, new ball game). And of course, not submit your resume directly either. If you get double-submitted you'll be automatically disqualified for the position.

  • 1
    "If you get double-submitted you'll be automatically disqualified for the position." I'm not sure that's always true. Recruiting is like the wild west, there are no hard and fast rules. I've certainly had candidates submitted for positions on my team more than once, and I still hired them.
    – dwizum
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 14:15
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    "If you get double-submitted you'll be automatically disqualified for the position." I disagree, too. The company looking for a candidate probably knows how recruiters work and won't hold it against the candidate.
    – Jemox
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 14:41
  • Its what I've always been told. I don't actually know how true it is, but I've always erred on the side of caution there. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 15:25

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