I applied for a job that I really like via a company's website. Two days later, a recruiter whom I've previously been in contact with offered me the same position. But by now, another three days later, I still haven't heard from that company where I applied.

Meanwhile, the company says on their website they do not work with recruiters; however, this recruiter is from an agency that specialises in recruiting front end developers only (dunno, maybe it makes a difference).

Here is what the recruiter said:

I hope everything is going well for you. Are you still open for a permanent position? Sorry for having no hear for a long time, but I am back with an awesome offer. I thought of you, because this company offers a great platform for junior developers to start their career. Please get back to me with an updated resume (please as a word doc). I have been out of the office the entire day and will give you a call on Monday to catch up with you.

Would it increase my chances of getting hired if I followed both routes? Maybe because it's keeping the recruiter from contacting more candidates?

I really like this job position so I can't wait for the company to reply because maybe the recruiter will offer it to somebody else.

  • Did a recruiter phone you up and offer you a job, that up until that moment you had never spoken with them about? Without any kind of interview with the hiring company? That's really, really unusual. Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 14:49
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    Hi Lenka, welcome to The Workplace. As you may have noticed I re-phrased your question a bit. 'What do I do' questions are generally a bad fit for this type of site, so I worded it in a way that will provide you with more information to decide on your own. I hope this still largely reflects what you want to know. Feel free to edit back in what you think is missing.
    – CMW
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 14:54
  • @DJClayworth I had an 'intake' with the recruiter in November, 4 months ago. She didn't have anything for me at that moment and contacted me by email three days ago offering this job.
    – Lenka
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 15:05
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    Hi Lenka, welcome to The Workplace SE. I edited the title to make it more clear what the goal is, and I removed meta commentary from the post body. On our site, to reduce noise, we thank users by upvoting helpful answers. Also, you can choose to "accept" the best answer that helped you by clicking the green checkmark. See What is reputation for more details.
    – jmort253
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 1:50
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    As an aside, if the company says on their website they do not work with recruiters, that's more likely to mean "we don't want to hear from any new recruiters, so don't bother contacting us." It doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have a working relationship with a small number of recruiters. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 4:26

6 Answers 6


Complete rewrite due to change in the question.

It's clear from your comments that this not a job offer, but your recruiter is offering to send you for interview. You will be interviewed along with other candidates, and may or may not get the job.

You should reply to the interviewer and say you are interested, but you should point out that you have already applied for the job online. The recruiter will probably not send you for interview, because the fact you have applied without him means he won't get paid if you get the job (unless rules in the Netherlands are very different from here). Don't be tempted not to tell him, because he will find out eventually and then be really annoyed with you. If you fit the job, you will most likely get invited to interview by the company. That may not be for a while, and you shouldn't worry about that.

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    I would however use this as an opportunity to follow-up with the company: just a quick note saying "I applied on date X, coincidentally a recruiter contacted me for the same position on day Y; I assume my application was received in good order and that I have do not have to follow that second option. Is that correct?"
    – user8036
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 15:24
  • Ok, so to sum up: tell the recruiter I already applied but am indeed interested AND tell the company I've been contacted by a recruiter for a job position I applied online a few days prior to that. Right? Sorry for the confusion, I've never been recruited ;)
    – Lenka
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 15:32
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    @Lenka - I would contact the company first but not mention the recuiter. I would turn the offer from the recuiter down. If pressed let them know you had applied with the company prior to their contact, but do not say it is ok for the recruiter to present you. If they do it will pretty much ruin your chances with the company from any angle. Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 16:11
  • @JanDoggen In this modern age companies pretty much never respond to communication from job applicants until they invite them for interview. They just have too many applications to deal with. Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 14:22

Once you go through a recruiter you usually aren't allowed to contact the respective company directly. Conversely, recruiters won't follow through once they realize you're already in contact with the company, because it's costing the company extra money to pay the recruiter, which they won't pay because they already have a relationship with you.

Also, taking up the offer of a recruiter is hardly keeping them from introducing more potential candidates, because it increases/activates they pool of candidates and because the more people they introduce the more likely it is that someone will fit the profile and they will get paid.

Telling the company that you've also been contacted about this job by a recruiter may be helpful if you wrap it in a hint towards their stated policy of not working with recruiters. It shows that you pay attention to them and that others deem you a fit for the position, too.

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    +1 for mentioning that it costs the hiring company money to use recruiters. They'll always prefer the cheaper (e.g. non-recruiter) option, so working with the recruiter is a waste of time for everyone involved. Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 18:13
  • @yochannah "They'll always prefer the cheaper (e.g. non-recruiter) option" - not true, many companies are just a mess. If you apply online, you will have to cross dumb HR girls who have no idea what development experience is. For example, if the JD mentions Scala and CSS experience, and you only have a lot of experience with Scala but none with CSS, they would pass on you since in their mind you only have "50%" of the requirements, although learning Scala can take two years and CSS about 30 minutes.
    – rapt
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 22:51
  • @yochannah However if you go through a third-party recruiter, as dumb as he probably is as well, his application may go quite directly to the team lead/technical interviewer, and that dude may understand you know your stuff regardless of being far from matching the formal JD. Many companies are just made up of idiots who are reluctant to think. But it works so they become managers at some point.
    – rapt
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 22:55

There are two kinds of recruiting agencies. One kind works on commission. That is, they get paid some percentage of your salary if they present your resume and you get hired. The other kind works on retainer: That is, they're paid to help the company fill positions, but not based on a percentage of salary.

Find out which kind you're dealing with, by asking the recruiter.

In both cases you should tell them you've already applied directly to the company, on such-and-such a date. If the recruiter is commissioned, they should say "ok, good luck with that company" and be done with it. They may also say, "I know about an opening at some other company." You might choose to follow up.

If the recruiter's already on retainer with the company you hope to work at, it probably makes sense to continue working with them.

If you're the hiring manager or the hiring HR person, it's a good idea to be clear with agencies by saying "we never (never!) accept resumes from commissioned recruiting agencies unless we first agree on the terms of doing business." "No, we can't imagine any circumstances where we would make an exception to that policy."

  • IME if you ask a recruiter about their incentives, they will be extremely cagey.
    – jwg
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 13:06
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    Yes, trying to get a recruiter to disclose incentives is a good way of opening a conversation out how plain-spoken and honest they are in their business dealings. If they play games with you in conversation, they may also play games with your candidacy.
    – O. Jones
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 13:14

I have to disagree with everyone else who has answered so far. Personally, I would work through both points of contact. My reason for this is that you are not in a position to know which of these points of contact is actually useful, or what deals (if any) the company and the recruiter have.

I've tried to contact companies through their websites only to discover later that applications through their websites were being ignored by HR, or routed to an email nobody was reading, or otherwise lost.

But there are also recruiters who will try to place you for jobs at companies they don't have a relationship with. ie, they'll try to get you on the hook and then start calling the company to attempt to place you. I've had recruiters calling me to do this for the last two weeks, despite the fact that my company uses only internal recruiters (and also I have nothing to do with hiring). I would not worry about the recruiter sending only you to the company - they just don't work that way.

If and when I ended up in an interview, I would definitely tell the company exactly what happened. Maybe they'll decide that since you came in through their website they don't owe the recruiter anything. Maybe the recruiter got you through the process faster, so they pay him. Maybe they don't even work with that recruiter at all! You just don't have enough information to make the call, and you shouldn't hamper your chances by trying to do so.

  • The danger is that if you end up in someone's inbox via two routes, they may just drop both applications, especially if there's any chance of a dispute over any commission being paid.
    – Gwyn Evans
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 22:49
  • I guess it's possible, but I can't picture that conversation. "Hey, this guy looks good, let's get him in for an interview! ...oh wait, we got his resume twice, clearly not who we're looking for." Maybe if there's a ton of candidates, but in that case why would they bother with a recruiter in the first place? Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 13:44

Recruiters don't offer jobs, companies do. They will evaluate your application the same way whether your application came directly or through a recruiter. Additionally, don't think the recruiter is only sending one name at a time. He is sending everyone he thinks he can present as qualified.

You have applied to the company. Therefore the recruiter won't get paid if he presents you as well. Do not let the recruiter send in your name, tell him you had already applied for the position before he contacted you.

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    In many cases this is absolutely not true. A lot of the time hiring managers have relationships with recruiters and trust that they are vetting candidates to some extent. A resume placed with a "trusted" recruiter has more visibility.
    – MrFox
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 15:07
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    Regardless, the company wuill not pay the recruiter if the person already applied. By going through the recuiter too, he is making both the company and the recuriiter annoyed with him.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 15:17
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    Further "the company says on their website they do not work with recruiters" I don't think the truster recuiter thing applies.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 15:17
  • Is it possible this shifted from a position with the actual company to a position with a consultancy firm who is now filling a contract position with one of their employees?
    – user8365
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 15:45
  • @HLGEM the company saying on their website they do not work with recruiters could just be to discourage unsolicited approaches from recruiters they don't already work with.
    – jwg
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 14:08

I would definitely not go through the recruiter. Imagine the HR person (or sometimes the manager for the position) sifting through applications, creating a shortlist, and you get placed on the shortlist. Now the HR person sifts through the recruiter applications and discovers you in that pile as well.

I don't know about other people but that would immediately annoy me and even if I decide to leave you on the shortlist you already scored some negative points.

The reverse may be even worse. If the employer decides to process the recruiter applications first and lets them know they are interested in an interview with you only to discover you sent in another application privately it would definitely not leave a good impression with me.

You do not want to annoy your prospective employer even before you have made it into an interview. There should be no complications with your application unless you are highly sought after and in a position to negotiate terms (and this seems to be for a junior position that will probably see lots of applications).

My suggestion would be to contact the company directly and speak with their HR. Explain what happened with the recruiter, explain your passion for the position and ask whether your application will receive due consideration or whether you should apply through the recruiter instead.

If you start the conversation with "I wonder if you can help me..." and you are polite and confident then you will be surprised at how helpful people will be. You will get the grumpy ones now and then or the ones that don't have time to deal with you but maybe not getting into a company with those people will be a blessing.

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