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I'm scheduled to go in for an interview at Company X (a software development startup). I found out about the position through a third-party recruiting agency, specifically from a recruiter who I'll call Bob.

Bob mentioned to me in passing that this is their first time working with Company X. I don't know if Company X has worked with other recruiting agencies in the past.

The HR rep from the company has been emailing me directly, but Bob clearly thinks that he's meant to be the go-between for all communications.

When we were scheduling the interview, Bob texted me asking if a specific time would work. I had already told him (and the HR rep, during my phone interview) that I could do the morning on that specific day, but I hadn't been explicit about what time I'd need to leave.

Right after seeing Bob's text, I saw an email from the HR rep confirming that I was scheduled for X time (the time that Bob had said), and giving me the interview schedule.

I contacted Bob telling him that the time was fine, but I'd need to leave by noon, and I mentioned that the HR fellow had already sent me the schedule. Bob seemed a bit surprised by that, so I forwarded him the schedule so he could see it. The problem was, the schedule showed that the interviews would end at 1pm instead of noon... and I really couldn't rearrange my meetings that specific afternoon.

I wasn't sure what to do, so I let Bob call up the company to reschedule. I didn't reply to the HR's email. Bob managed to move the interview up by an hour so it works with my schedule now.

Thankfully that worked out fine, but I haven't gotten an updated schedule from the HR rep yet. If I don't get that within a few more days, I plan to follow up - but I don't know if I should follow up with the recruiter or directly with the HR rep.

It's worth noting that this duplication/misalignment on the communication has happened a few other times too (in more minor ways, ie. when scheduling the phone screen and when receiving a pre-screen assessment, the HR and recruiter didn't seem to be totally aligned on who should be communicating with me.) Likewise, after the phone interview, Bob asked me to send my thank you note directly to him, and he'd forward it along to the HR interviewer. (I followed those instructions).

I've talked with recruiters before, but this is my first time progressing to the interview stage with a job that came through a recruiter... And this all seems a bit weird to me; however, I'm still fairly new to the marketplace (I'm junior developer going through the job-switching process for the first time).

Is it normal that companies and recruiting agencies might not be totally synced on who does the communication?

Do I need to be concerned that this will reflect badly on me? (ie. that the HR rep will wonder why I'm not responding directly to her emails)?

When I receive messages directly from the HR rep, who should I reply to? Keep Bob in the loop and ask him to forward my reply, or just reply directly to the HR rep?

If this job goes through, Bob will obviously get a commission (and judging by his behavior and help, he's expecting a large one :) ). However, is there a point in the process when he should fade out of the picture until the company makes their final hiring decision?

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I got my current job over a year ago through a recruiter. He was very helpful, professional and he didn't act like a middle man between my and the company at all. As soon as I told him that I'm interested and company confirmed they want to interview me, he send them my phone number and he only contacted me only after I signed my contract.

I have no idea why he acts like a middle man, it's extra work for him so maybe he wants to show his effort to the company (as they're Bob's customer). But I do think it's definitely strange.

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