I was wondering if it is legal for a recruiter to send my CV to a company without first letting me know. I am worried because if I apply directly for a job and the recruiter decides to apply on my behalf as well, this could lead to some problems.

I contacted recently two recruiters. One of them specifically told me I will be consulted before they send any application on my behalf. The other recruiter said nothing in that regard. So I am worried, in case a recruiter should send my CV to a company where I already applied, how do I prove to the company that the recruiter application on my behalf is illegal and should be discarded?

  • 1
    (1) why do you think it could lead to problems? Which problems? (2) If you are already working with a recruiter, and you gave them your CV, then don't you expect them to send your cv to potential companies? The whole point of recruiters is that they can match you with potential companies or jobs, why this (sharing your CV) is something that you don't want?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 21:34
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    @DarkCygnus a double submit goes in the trash. Recruiters get fees, so if the OP applies to a company and the recruiter submits him to the same company, they could demand a fee, so the hiring company won't bother Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 21:39
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    @solarflare completely, unless the recruitment agency already has a bad reputation and a particular company disregards them. This was one of the first things I was warned about, and why resume blasters went the way of the dinosaur, and why recruiting agencies will ask you if you've submitted to a company before. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 22:05
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    @solarflare that has been my experience with this kind of thing. No person that is doing the hiring wants to decide between "Do I pay the recruiter their deserved fee for finding this person?" or "This person found us so I dont owe the recruiter anything even though they feel like I do.." its much easier to dismiss the candidate by rule than play games with professional relationships
    – Smitty
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 22:06
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    @solarflare You donk know about it because they died over a decade ago. You submitted your resume to a service, and they essentially spammed known employers by blasting your resume out to every employer in their database. Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 1:19

4 Answers 4


Not sure where you are in the world but, in the US:

Legal: Generally Yes, this is not Illegal (unless you have a special contract that states otherwise which I have never seen)

Professional: This is somewhat unprofessional on the recruiter's part for the reasons your OP states. My experience with these firms is to expect a quick call "we want to submit you to X, is that OK?".. Double submissions are trouble for hiring companies. I have had a firm do this to me once and I caught them... (clarifying edit: I specifically told them "dont submit me" and they did anyways) I told them to never contact me again and then reached out the the hiring company explaining the situation. That said, If I were the recruiter and I learned that you were submitting yourself to my client list after you agreed to work with me, I would probably drop you

  • I recently applied to a job on LinkedIn and my application was sent to a recruiter. My understanding is that we agreed that he represents me for this job only. Or am I wrong? If he should send my CV to another company where I applied as well, how will the company know that they sent it without my permission?
    – Iskander
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 21:51
  • @Iskander Generally speaking, your understanding of the situation is correct. A vast majority of my experiences with recruiting firms is that they want to make sure they dont do any funny business with their clients. While a double submission might get you bounced out of the process, it looks bad on the recruiters so they try their best to avoid it (like asking for permission / verifying single submission for every job)... Most recruiter firms will strip off the contact info from your CV and replace it with theirs so if I had two CV copies in my inbox, I would be able to see who sent first
    – Smitty
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 22:48
  • More concisely: unless you have a representation contract with a recruiting firm (I doubt it) you have no obligation to run additional job opportunities through them.. While there is no law against it, a firm would be foolish to assume they can just start submitting you anywhere without checking your status... Thats just bad business that I rarely see
    – Smitty
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 22:53

Not sure where you are located. For most of the world this is both legal and common practice among bad recruiters. As has been said, a good recruiter will keep you informed of where you are in the process and keep you posted as you advance. A good recruiter will only send your resume / cv to the company they say they are presenting you to, nobody else, without informing you first.

Bad ones do it all the time, presumably it works on some level as they continue to do it. If a recruiter asks you to go to interview for another company that they haven't mentioned to you, you CAN say no. Your in charge, this is YOUR career after all.

That being said, this sort of thing is usually covered in detail within the recruiter's agreement with the client. It's most commonly called; A Waiver of Fee Where Candidate Is Already Under Active Client Consideration. It's purpose is to deal with client assertions that no fee is owed because the client has “discovered,” after the fact, that the candidate was already in its files or that it saw the candidate’s résumé on an Internet job board or was contacted by the candidate directly, as in your case.

Such a provision looks like this:

If RECRUITING FIRM refers a candidate to CLIENT with whom CLIENT has already interviewed or scheduled an interview, and CLIENT so advises RECRUITING FIRM within 7 business days following the referral, CLIENT will not owe RECRUITING FIRM a fee in the event CLIENT hires the candidate. CLIENT shall provide RECRUITING FIRM with documentation at RECRUITING FIRM’S request sufficient to establish that the interview has been held or scheduled.

So in conclusion, only bad recruiters will fire a volley of resumes / cv's off into the void hoping that one will stick. Good ones will keep you informed as to their plans and presentations. Don't forget though, that you are the ultimate decider of the choices that they offer you. I wish you well on your path. T


There's no problem specifically tell recruiter to not apply for any position without your compliance. If you feel troubled by this, email your recruiter right now. If they continuing the practice that you don't like, cut tie with them, they won't continue work for no return.

if I apply directly for a job and the recruiter decides to apply on my behalf as well, this could lead to some problems

Case by case, sometimes recruiter apply for you, and you can solve that by a single email as I mentioned above.

Another case is, say recruiter is already holding a contract/request from certain company for certain position already, thus they will present you the position and ask for your opinion. And if you really had applied for the position already, no panic, there's no problem at all. You just tell your recruiter that you happened to have applied for this already, and he/she will take care the rest.

how do I prove to the company that the recruiter application on my behalf is illegal and should be discarded?

Let's say you really fell into the weird spot that:

  • You get a bad recruiter spreading applications for you all around without your concent
  • One of the place he/she spammed happens to be a place you like and applied individually

Chances are:

  • Larger organization do have more complete HR department that handles recruiters and individual applicants separately, they probably see the problem twice a day and just shrug it off.
  • If, let's say a company is annoyed by your double application, too bad, but unfortunately there's no much you can do. They probably won't even contact you, and of course won't provide you any reason for it, thus you don't really get that much chance to explain. These are done damage, only thing you can do is to cut tie with such recruiter ASAP.
  • Let's say, there's really a company you are interested in really asked you the reason of your double application. First of all, congratulations, they are interested in you, and probably don't care that much about the applications, only thing they might be worried about is your personality (whether you are sloppy or impatient). And since they are still talking with you, you can easily get over it by saying.

Oh I have a recruiter happened to apply for me for second time without my consent, I am sorry for the inconvenience it may caused.


This is very unprofessional on the 2nd recruiters part. Word of this type of stuff gets around and will affect the recruiters reputation.

It can cost you as a candidate if there are two (or more) applications for the same job.

I was laid off last November. A recruiter that I had worked with in the past, submitted my resume with my permission. A 2nd recruiter submitted me for the same position without asking. The 2nd (sleazy) recruiter was banned from working with the company. Normally with this employer, both submissions to be tossed but the 1st recruiter has an excellent reputation.

I was offered the job. Turned it down as I had a better offer.

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