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I was recently contacted by a recruiter who asked for a phone conversation to see if I'm interested in working for a company as a xyz.

Afterward, I looked at the company's website and found a relevant position being advertised there. I already scheduled a phone conversation with the recruiter, but I was wondering if it's a better idea to apply for the position through the company's website?

Or is there any general benefit in proceeding with a recruiter?

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There are pros and cons to going direct.

While you can cut out the middle man and can negotiate for yourself, the company might not know you; you're another random person asking for a job

The company might have a professional relationship with the recruiter, who is actively seeking people who are suitable for the role - essentially the company is using the recruiter to pre-select a candidate list.

If you bypass the recruiter, you might not get to the interview stage. If you go through the recruiter, then you don't lose anything except the ability to represent yourself. You won't have to pay the guy's commission should you get hired.

  • Yeah, the recruiter likely already has a working relationship with someone at the company, and they're probably going to be pretty persistent about getting you the interview (since it's the way they get paid). A lot of companies advertise roles themselves, but the person managing the process is often not as proactive as a recruiter is likely to be, particularly because the recruiter should have done some of the hard work of filtering out the decent candidates. I sometimes feel like many companies only advertise online because they have an internal policy to do so. – delinear Jul 5 at 14:47
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I'm by no means an expert as I've never personally used a recruiter, but based on colleagues and friends experiences they've shared with me about recruiters is summarised perfectly in this answer from this question.

Recruiters often have a good perspective of the industry so they can help fix up your CV, prioritize skills or otherwise make yourself more hire-able. They can also be better salary negotiators that you, since most people do it poorly.

Often they will have good relationships with the company in question and will be able to personally vouch for your skills based on them working with the company hiring managers before and getting feedback.

Additionally if you find this recruiter to be good at their job in respect to getting you a good position, with great negotiation skills and good ties in the market. You'll have someone to talk to when you need any career advice after you decide to move on from your new position with who's hiring they can keep you posted with relevant jobs.

However, remember that you are not the recruiters' customer. You are a product the recruiter is selling to their customer, the hiring organization. Recruiters are often only interested in you for roles they have or to network with other candidates they can place.

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Why not pursue both? So long as you're transparent when talking to recruiters about having multiple applications in the system, there's nothing to lose by submitting an online application and one through the recruiter. A duplicate application can easily be removed later in the process.

A direct application ensures the company sees your profile and it's not filtered out by the recruiter. An application with the recruiter can help you move through the process more quickly. Additionally a recruiter can help you find roles at other companies.

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The company may well have hired the recruiter because they were getting no response. Does the company web page say how long the role has been online?

The opposite might be true. The company may have decided to advertise on its own to either save the recruiter’s finder fee and any ongoing commissions — which are usually quite high — or because they have have been unable to supply the employer with good candidates. I’ve seen this happen at least once.

You might take a look at the recruiters website and see if your field is one of their specialties to help you work it out.

In any case, I’d be calling the hiring company hr unit and ask to speak to the contact person on the ad, and ask them what their preference is. They may have even forgotten the ad is online. I’ve seen that happen too.

Ps I was a self employed contractor for over 15 years and have been the client of probably 15-20 recruitment companies over the years.

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You have two issues to consider.

One: The best way to get an interview.

Ask the recruiter for advice and help. If you make direct contact with a hiring manager, ask that person for help too. "I really want to work here; please help me make that happen" is a good way to pursue it.

Two: Conflicts between recruiter and hiring company

This really isn't your problem, but still be sensitive to it. As a hiring manager I've had a few hassles about whether recruiters should get paid when I got a resume from more than one source.

Here's the thing: Commission recruiters get paid when a candidate they present gets hired. So, if they present your resume first they'll be entitled to get paid even though you sent your own resume later. You can be transparent about this by putting a note on your resume saying "Jack Sprat of the firm Abc told me on (date) he would present me for this job.)

If you have a friend present your resume to get a referral bonus, but a recruiter presents you first, your friend probably will not get the bonus. Let your friend know about this.

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