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I connected with a guy on LinkedIn in an industry I'd like to work for. His LI profile shows that he has two "current jobs": one as a self-employed consultant and another at a firm in the industry. The firm's website shows him as a member of its "Senior Team".

I assumed he was reaching out on behalf of the firm, so I started writing an e-mail to their "Careers@...." address. Literally that's when he messaged me on LI.

He said "I'm not hiring for the firm but rather another similar firm. I'm basically hiring for my team, and we work for the firm."

It sounds like his "team" is a subcontractor of the firm. (And yet his presence on their website makes him sound like an employee. That may or may not affect the answer to my actual question.)

I'm glad he reached out to me, but I'm eager to send my resume to the firm directly as well. Would it be a conflict of interest if I sent my resume to the firm too? Should I wait until after I've had my initial conversation with him?

EDIT: As it happens, the fellow said he was no longer in a position to hire for his team, so I contacted the main company directly. Didn't get the job, but that's life.

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    Yes, just wait for the initial convo!
    – Fattie
    Apr 18 at 13:05
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There is no harm in sending your resume to both people/places. You don't have to tell either side that you're sending your resume to the "other side". When you receive the replies (job offers, declined offers, follow-ups, etc) then you can make your decision on which one you want to go for and why. This can include the salary offers, the benefits each offers, etc.

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This is actually a quite strange situation.

Ordinarily, the advice would be, "Apply wherever you want - until you have a signed offer, there's no reason to stop applying places."

But, this gets really weird in your situation. First up, the two potential positions aren't really different - they're ultimately doing work for the same main company. So one analogy would be "It's like a company had two different departments hiring for 'Senior Developer' - you'd be working for the company either way, it's just a question of who your boss is." Except, in your case, it might literally be the same job/position (just whether you'd be working through a 3rd party consultancy.)

... but then it gets thrown into even crazier waters. Because Tim (you didn't give them a name, so I'll make one up) has a really terrible conflict of interest here. From what you've indicated, Tim is:

  • Hired by MegaCorp as an individual employee. Which means Tim has an obligation to not act against the interests of his employer.
  • Runs TimCo as a 3rd party consultant firm, which may or may not have MegaCorp as a client. Which means Tim has an interest in hiring employees for his firm.

I'd say Tim is being at least a little bit shady right now. Chances are, they've just tried to dissuade you from applying to Megacorp in order to try to poach you into their individual firm.

But... it's not as simple as saying, "Apply to both! Don't let Tim funnel you."

... because it's also possible that Megacorp doesn't have individual employees that do what you do - that they subcontract it out. In which case, applying to Megacorp might result in Megacorp forwarding on your application on to the subcontractor - which means Tim will get an email informing him that you didn't listen to them and also applied to Megacorp.

My advice?

Send an email to Megacorp, asking if they do in-house work on whatever your field is, or if they subcontract it out of house.

If they indicate they do some stuff in-house, go ahead and turn around and apply to megacorp, and possibly skip out on applying to TimCo, depending on how big of a red flag you think Tim's behavior was on the poaching.

If they indicate that they don't do stuff in-house and go exclusively through sub-contractors, go ahead and only apply to TimCo. Tim didn't do anything wrong, though he probably should've simply said, "Megacorp doesn't hire people directly for this sort of position - they subcontract it out."

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