My question is. Should I disengage with a recruiter, which I gave permission to present me to a hiring company, and go directly to the hiring company?

Thirty four days ago, I was approached by a recruiter, who I had previous communications with (but had never placed me), about a position which they felt I was suited to. The recruiter advised me of the salary range which I was happy with so I sent the recruiter my CV and they agreed that I would be a very suitable candidate for the role. A couple of days later, the recruiter informed me that there were now issues within HR of the hiring company and to wait out.

I received another call a couple of days after the previous call stating that the salary that the hiring company is offering had dropped by 25% to just below what I am currently being paid! I explained my position and stated that I am willing to negotiate salary but that was too big a drop. I was told that they would get back to me shortly.

Over the next couple of weeks I received another call from the same recruiter, stating that the problem with the position lies in the fact that they are not the contracted recruiter to the hiring company but were approached directly by the hiring manager as he/she had not found a suitable candidate yet. I've not been given a completely straight answer as to what is happening in the background so I'm concerned that the job opporunity may pass-by and I will lose out.

To summarise. Company A normally deals with Recruiter A for their positions in this city but I was contacted by Recruiter B offering me a position with Company A. Recruiter B appears to be attempting to setup some sort of contract with Company A and in the mean time, I hang in the lurch. All of this started over a month ago!

  • 1
    I'd say yes but if and only if Company A has the job opening listed on some public space (their site, a specialized job offer site or something similar). Dec 10, 2018 at 8:41
  • Has anything happened with this company yet, e.g. have you had an interview? Or is everything that's happened already covered by your post?
    – AndyT
    Dec 10, 2018 at 16:43
  • I think there are two parts to your question: (1) Is it legal to do what you want to do? (2) Will it give you a harmfully bad reputation in your domain if you do what you want to do (which might go so far as to put you on a recruiter blacklist)?
    – Stef
    Dec 14, 2023 at 19:18

3 Answers 3


Should I disengage with a recruiter, which I gave permission to present me to a hiring company, and go directly to the hiring company?

(IANAL) No unless you can prove some kind fraud or misrepresentation has occurred. Since you agreed to representation if the company were to hire you directly then the recruiter has the ability to take the company to court for a referral fee.

Most companies do not want to get involved in a potential court battle over an agency/representation challenge, and avoid that by simply not hiring you.

You may have a case that your agreement of representation was contingent on the offer range, and can break it if the offer comes in lower, but again IANAL.

Couple of wild guesses on the 25% business...

  1. Your Recruiter B is trying to charge a referral fee 25% more than their current Recruiter A, and the company is trying to make up for it by dropping your offer by 25%.
  2. Someone in the company's HR negotiated a deal with Recruiter A where they charge a lower then industry rates, and the company's hiring manager perceive this agreement as not working and are trying to find their own talent, but their HR is not allowing that talent to come in if represented by another recruiter wanting a referral fee.
  3. It's probably worth a good snark to your recruiter to ask them how much of a referral fee they are trying to get out of you, which they will likely not say, and then you can reply with something along the lines of 'Your rate is getting in the way of this offer, maybe it's time to lower it if you want this to happen'. Not a way to win friends, but hey this is a business negotiation.

This is based on my US-Midwest perspective and years of experience as a freelancer dealing with recruiters. Obviously your location would make a difference.

Good luck, although I'm guessing you are already hosed. Sorry.

IANAL = I am not a lawyer, but..

[edit] A couple of other possibilities..

  1. The recruiter and/or the company are playing the game of 'Let's get three qualified candidates where I'd be happy with any of them, and then see who will work for the lowest $$$ by lowering the rate. Unethical I know but it happens.
  2. The recruiter is trying to make the deal look better by upping his referral fee by lowering your rate. Also unethical but it also happens. Since you haven't had any previous experience with this recruiter then you wouldn't know if he/she is a straight shooter vs. a ethically-challenged slimeball.
  3. The company thinks your skillsets are 25% less then what they feel the position should be paid, and the offer reflects that.
  4. I have an article called Contracting: How to go out on your own that doesn't directly address your question but in your situation should be highly entertaining.

Again, good luck.

  • Thank you kindly for taking the time to reply and offer your advice in relation to this particular situation. Dec 10, 2018 at 4:58
  • Excellent answer Sir. Dec 11, 2018 at 1:06

This is the danger of allowing recruiters to be your representative.

Once that happens, you are stuck with them. IANAL, but I've been working in the business world for over 30 years now, so I do have some perspective.

From the hiring manager's point of view, anyone trying to circumvent their recruiter is viewed with suspicion.

I would see it that EITHER:

  1. You're dealing with an incompetent/corrupt recruiter
  2. You're dealing in bad faith with the recruiter.

Neither inspires any confidence.

IF it's case 1, then they're also likely the type to make trouble for the company.

If it's case 2, then you're not the type I'd want to deal with.

In either case, I'm not going to consider you because there are other candidates who are less trouble

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but the corporate world is a rough sandbox to play in.

Your best course of action is to move on and consider this job dead. They might surprise you, but don't count on it.


You can't circumvent (i.e. sign an employment contracts) the recruiter if you or the hiring company have a legal contract with them.

However, it is absolutely within your right to make wage negotiations with the hiring company directly.

...unless it is prohibited in said contract or the hiring company prefers not to negotiate with you personally.

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