Bit of an odd situation here.

I had a chat with a recruiter who told me of opening. Liked the role he was describing etc. Got the company name, and realised it was a role that I've already applied to. Recruiter still wants to represent me, and tells it would give a better chance for hire if the same application came through the agency.

I always thought it would look unprofessional to the employers for the candidate to submit multiple applications for the same role.

Is this true?

  • What do you mean by "represent"? Is the recruiter looking for you to hire him/her or just to include your profile in the other profiles he/she will present to the company?
    – Jay
    Jul 23, 2019 at 12:23
  • @Jay, 'represent' as in 'solely representing' the candidate (me) for the roles at a particular organisation. Jul 23, 2019 at 13:29
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    Never allow an individual recruiter to be your single choice of representation. Many companies only use specific recruiters (thus narrowing down your options), and some don't use them at all. --- FWIW
    – Neo
    Jul 23, 2019 at 13:43
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    How far in the interview process are you? Have you heard anything from the company yet after applying? How long ago did you apply? Jul 23, 2019 at 18:16
  • I applied few days ago, so it hadn't been long. Didn't hear back from the company yet - sans acknowledgement. Jul 24, 2019 at 19:14

5 Answers 5


Is this true?

Based on my experience as a hiring manager - yes it's unprofessional.

I would definitely not allow a recruiter to present my credentials to a company I am already working with. In the past, it was annoying to have a candidate presented by a recruiter and then already be in our system via their own efforts. It came across as desperate.

Another point to consider is if the company has to pay a recruiter, that is potentially less salary to pay you.

The only exception I would make to this is if you discovered that you knew someone who worked for the company already, then perhaps they could present you to the hiring manager, and up your chances at getting your foot in the door. And even in this case, it isn't a recruiter.

  • My comment is "came across as desperate"... I've never had a need to use a recruiter, thank God. However, if I were to be unemployed past a couple months, I'd rather be viewed "as desperate" than "as homeless."
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 24, 2019 at 12:33
  • @CGCampbell Agreed. When your looking for work, and aren't having much luck, you should alter your plan. Not sure having a recruiter re submit your credentials to the same company multiple times will help, but definitely do something different.
    – Neo
    Jul 24, 2019 at 12:35
  • I'm actually thinking about starting a new question, or at least confirming if it has already been asked.... how do I know, as a submitter of my own cv/resume to company X, if company X uses (or just as importantly doesn't) recruiters? If I submit my resume and it's not looked at because they use recruiters first (and only?) then I've screwed myself by NOT using them...
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 24, 2019 at 12:39
  • @CGCampbell Good point, its tough to know for sure. Some companies do and others don't and I don't believe size of the company matters. For instance, I worked for a large lottery company here in the US and they did not use outside recruiters while I was employed there. I also worked for a large data processing shop and the did.
    – Neo
    Jul 24, 2019 at 12:48
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    I've been told by multiple recruiters and companies that "double submission" will get you disqualified. The reverse (that double-submission is ok) has only been mentioned maybe two or three times. Jul 24, 2019 at 17:39

Your instincts served you well here - there's no real benefit to you allowing the recruiter to "represent" you in this one. Quite the reverse in fact - and the same goes for the company as well.

Many recruiters operate on a commission-like model where they get paid either a fixed amount or percentage of a new hire's wage once the hiring goes through.

In this scenario such a model would mean the recruiter would be able to claim that the company owed them this despite the fact that you were already in contact with the company. Sure the fact that they can prove the initial application was before the recruiter brought you to their attention negates this somewhat but the more the recruiter "does" in this the more argument they have for some remuneration from the company.

Recruitment fees are a fact of life when you're hiring in many cases, but if you asked 10 employers whether they would prefer a candidate application that didn't have these fees associated vs the exact same candidate with the recruiter fees attached I don't think you'd get many votes for the latter.

So the question you need to ask yourself is whether you have reason to believe that the employer won't be seeing your existing application - which isn't quite as a crazy as it sounds. Some companies will only fall back on the general applications if recruiter-suggested candidates don't pan out. Because if they do see your application and the recruiter one all you've done is make yourself a more expensive (or at least slightly more complicated) candidate then you were before.

  • 2
    Exactly. There's no benefit to you, but the recruiter wants their 25% placement fee. Say no.
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 23, 2019 at 23:54

The answer is "it depends". Usually this isn't a great idea. On the other hand, if the company has passed on you or has been slow to respond, it couldn't hurt.

I once applied for a job and received no response. A recruiter contacted me about the job several weeks later, and I explained that I had already applied. He called the company and found that they had decided not to interview me. He convinced them to schedule an interview, and eventually I received an offer which I accepted. It worked out well for both the recruiter and myself.

Again, not the norm, but something to consider if your initial efforts fail.


it was a role that I've already applied to.

Unless you have a prior communication with the recruiter, and the recruiter with the company, before you applied to this position, I don't see a way of the recruiter benefitting from your candidature. This is because a recruiter gets paid once you are selected, and even if you get through, the company can always reject the recruiter's claim since you had applied with them directly.

Recruiter still wants to represent me, and tells it would give a better chance for hire

The recruiter is right about this aspect. If a company has a direct relation with a recruiter, there are more odds of him being able to work the system for your interview than you relying on the cogs to turn on their own. However this is correct only if you haven't heard back from the company, there is no point in opening 2 channels of communication with the same company.

So, in essence, you should look after your own interests and let the recruiter judge their own. As long as you land the offer and all goes well, don't think too much about it.

Source: Real life. This once happened to a novice recruiter who helped one of my coworkers land a job, and the company denied the recruiter's claims because they had an email where the coworker had sent their resume directly to the company's email id before they received it from the recruiter.

PS: As suggested in comments and other answers, there can be negative effects as well, so take a call considering all aspect.

  • 2
    @MisterPositive Most companies now have some sort of HR system where multiple applications will more likely hurt versus help. Would you have a source for that? In my (limited) experience, I've found that companies prefer merging parallel applications/rejecting all if one is rejected, but do not penalize the candidate as they do not want to loose out on talent. Jul 23, 2019 at 12:29
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    In my experience the talented do not need to apply more than once FWIW.
    – Neo
    Jul 23, 2019 at 13:05
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    It can also hurt. If I have a desk full of applicants, and some of which are not brought to be by a recruiter -- why would I not try my hand at the candidates that don't cost me a bunch of extra money first?
    – Neo
    Jul 23, 2019 at 13:56
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    @MisterPositive Even the talented might use a combined strategy to apply to some positions directly and have a recruiter bring some jobs along as well. As recruiters might only reveal the actual company when the talented person decided to apply there through them, it can easily happen that it's one the talented person already applied to separately. Jul 24, 2019 at 10:55
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    In some organisations recruitment companies are able to bypass some of the red tape involved in recruiting, e.g. by having terms and conditions already agreed, purchase order in place etc. Worth asking for details of exactly how the recruiter will be able to help you.
    – deep64blue
    Jul 24, 2019 at 14:28

You already did the right thing by informing your recruiter about the application you submitted on your own. Let them judge that's best and act accordingly: if they think they should tell the company about you, so be it.

Having your application backed up by the recruiter can only improve your chances of getting hired. It shouldn't reduce the offered salary, and if it does, you can always negotiate by pointing to the original offer.

What may be unprofessional is for your recruiter to get a commission for a candidate the company already knows about. That's hardly of your concern though, since you acted in good faith and didn't hide the original application from the recruiter.

  • 3
    I don't know how it works for Direct employment, or overseas. In contract engineering in the United States, it is routinely the case that, if a candidate is submitted more than once, ALL of the duplicate submissions are discarded, including the original. The theory is that a candidate who can't remember if he's already been submitted on a job probably can't remember anything else, either. Jul 23, 2019 at 22:40
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    "Having your application backed up by the recruiter can only improve your chances of getting hired." [citation needed]
    – RJFalconer
    Jul 24, 2019 at 11:26

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