I got approached by multiple recruiters/headhunters. I am currently actively looking for a new position so nothing wrong with that. They know that I am working with multiple recruiters. They asked to be confidential about any Corporate Contacts I get with them, which is fine.

How do I respond if 2 or more recommend me the same position? Do I just tell the second person that I am already in contact with them?


Yes, you don't want overlapping applications as it can cause confusion but also look like you're applying for places for the sake of it and not actually knowing what you've previously applied for.

If you do happen to have two applications for the same place it's not the end of the world, you still have a chance to get through but it's just best that you try to avoid this as much as you can.

Simply state that you already have pending application with this company and don't want to be put through the system again.

No need to disclose any more information than that.

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  • Nothing happend so far, but i was interested how i would respond if this came up and they suggested the same position as another recruiter. – joachim Jul 4 '19 at 11:42
  • General advice: Try to get the name of the company you will be applied for asap everytime, at least before the headhunter is taking any further steps towards the company. Apart from avoiding duplicate applications, they may also apply you for a position at your current employer (or their mother company, e.g. if the names bear no similarity). To be honest, this happened to me only once so far, but by a rather large headhunter company, not some one-man-show. Also, if you do not want to join some companies for, let's say, ethical reasons, it saves time. – user2039709 Jul 4 '19 at 12:07
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    "Simple state you already have a pending application with this company and don't want to be put through the system again" - I'd only mention this once I get written confirmation my profile has been submitted to the company. When a recruiter asks me to say something along the lines of "I'm happy to be solely represented by X agency for a position at Y", I say that I'll do that upon getting confirmation my profile has been submitted. It has happened to me that a recruiter told me he was going to send my profile to a company and he didn't, meaning I was never put forward to that company. – Charmander Jul 4 '19 at 12:51
  • @Charmander yep, I've absolutely had the situation where one recruiter claims to have put me forward for a role, weeks have gone by with no response, then another recruiter mentioned the same role and I didn't tell them I already had an application in because I really wanted the role, got an interview within a couple days and offered the position. I think sometimes if a recruiter thinks they've already put a strong candidate forward, they will try to take other candidates off the market for that role in this way to reduce competition for their number one pick. – delinear Jul 4 '19 at 15:20

Recruiters get a fee for introducing candidates to the company. If a company receives an application for the same person from different companies, this means if the job is offered to this person a dispute would arise.

This may not matter to you but reality is that a lot of employers will simple throw away your CV if this happens as they don't want to go through the hassle of going through that dispute, they would rather look at other applicants instead.

I always keep the recruiters I am working with informed of interviews I have with other companies and recruiters respect that, I often do get encouragement messages from recruiters for interviews I am having with someone else as I wait for interviews with them.

Being honest, open and fair on this can certainly help in my opinion.

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  • No company throws away your CV because of that. There may be a dispute, but contracts between companies and recruiters are set up so the company pays exactly one fee if they hire you. Taking companies to court about this would go around so quickly, the recruitment company wouldn’t last. – gnasher729 Jul 5 '19 at 10:06
  • "no company" my manager sits next to me and when he goes through piles of CV's this is common practice. I have also discussed it with recruitment agencies and several have reinforced the idea of this being true – fireshark519 Jul 5 '19 at 10:11

Let them do their job

How do I respond if 2 or more recommend me the same position? Do I just tell the second person that I am already in contact with them?

No need to tell either one of the recruiter anything. The onus isn't on you to inform either one of the recruiters that you are already talking with someone about the same job. You may be having very limited info at hand.

Simply let them do their job. It's not expected of you to take any corrective measures. Nobody is going to call on you for not informing about this upfront. It doesn't reflect wrongly on your part.

Such duplications can be easily handled by the hiring manager and isn't something you need to be concerned about.

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    How would a headhunter know that OP is already in contact with a company the same headhunter is trying to get them into? "Such duplications can be easily handled by the hiring manager" ... sorry to be so blunt, but you clearly overestimate most (internal) hiring managers and imply that none of them could take it badly if someone approached a company twice, even if via proxy/headhunter. – user2039709 Jul 4 '19 at 11:57

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