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I was contacted by recruiter R1, who told me about a position at company C. I had an online interview and while they liked me, they decided I was not fit for the role so we stopped at that. Before the interview I sent the recruiter a declaration of representation, declaring that I had not been told about the role by anyone else, and that I agreed for them to represent me for role with the title X at company C. All true and factual, business as usual.

Literally the next day I was contacted by recruiter R2 (completely different agency), who told me about a very similar role, with title X or a variation of X, at company C. The role and responsibilities are very similar from what I can tell, maybe even identical - let's assume the latter.

I was very clear to R2 that I had already applied to company C days before, but she kept insisting that this role is different from the one before, and the team is different. I do believe her when she says that, because the name of the interviewer for this new role is different, and the team is (or seems to be) indeed different. She also told me explicitly that this role is not for the team I interviewed with last time. On 4 separate calls she insisted that. She also confirmed with my interviewer from the day before that the interview did take place and that the interviewer is happy to recommend me to another team. She told me that company C works with multiple agencies and some roles are represented by some agencies and others by other agencies, and that they have a 2-week exclusive contract for this particular role.

In this second case there was no declaration of representation, but R2 are aware anyway about the situation, so they can't expect me to declare something similar to what I declared with R1.

Honestly I like the company, but I absolutely do not want to get in trouble in any way and I'd rather stay clean and keep looking than damage my reputation. What should I do? I am planning to raise this at the second online interview and see what they say - I'll decide how to phrase my questions so that they give me as much information as possible without disqualifying me as someone unethical.

Update 1: I forgot to mention that I know for a fact that R2 do work with this company and I received emails from them in the past. I even applied to this company months ago, represented by someone from R2, so I do believe they genuinely work together and it's not just an opportunistic and ruthless approach on their behalf (or is it?), but I am still conflicted about the declaration with R1.

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  • Did you ever tell R1 that you had already applied to this company previously through R2? Your declaration of representation for R1 could already be wrong based on prior engagement with R2
    – cdkMoose
    Jan 28 '19 at 17:57
  • I don't remember, I most likely did. But it doesn't make a difference IMO and I don't agree that my declaration is wrong as a result of what I did 4-5 months ago with R2.
    – Rombix
    Jan 29 '19 at 9:14
  • It’s more about R2’s agreement with the employer. It may dictate that they get the fee if company hires you since they brought you in first. You can’t change that by making your own declaration
    – cdkMoose
    Jan 29 '19 at 11:17
  • I see what you're saying, but that has nothing to do with me and the problem is between C and R1 and R2. If they decide to just drop me to avoid complications, it's their call.
    – Rombix
    Jan 29 '19 at 12:01
  • It may become your problem if you didn't tell R1 and they come looking for you to find out why the lost their commission if you get placed at C.
    – cdkMoose
    Jan 29 '19 at 13:05
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You were honest about your situation from the begining with both parties, I would not be concerned if I was your place. You have very mean of defending yourself againt any accusation from the first recruiter. Beside, the declaration of representation is specific for the exact position X, witch is different from the seconf position.

I absolutely do not want to get in trouble in any way and I'd rather stay clean and keep looking than damage my reputation. What should I do?

You should proceed with the second interview; As the second recruiter is aware of your past interview and it details, nothing holding you (legally and ethicaly) from the second position.

To put you mind in peace, ask (or send) the second recruiter (C2) an email listing the timeline of events to acknowledge it.

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  • Thanks for the answer, however I think I have very few means (if any) of defending myself. Maybe in a court of law, yes, but not in practice, because C will absolutely not want any trouble whatsoever and will immediately terminate my contract (if we get that far), ending in myself burning a bridge with them, and R1.
    – Rombix
    Jan 29 '19 at 14:47
  • You can always check with the first recruiter if that's ok to proceed with the second interview. Jan 29 '19 at 14:51
  • I appreciate that, however there is simply no way that R1 would be happy for me to go ahead, even if the agreements between R1 and C did allow such situations (which I can't possibly verify).
    – Rombix
    Jan 29 '19 at 15:18
  • I agree, but remember, the answer is always No if you don't ask. I wish you good luck pal. Jan 29 '19 at 15:26
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I hate to say it, since you came here for help but you need to
talk to a lawyer to be clear about your legal options.

You most likely have a way to apply but how and which recruiter is involved and who gets paid by whom for what is a matter we can't answer, nor should you act on a suggestion after reading it on an internet forum.

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