Recruiter A contacted me about a job on LinkedIn. I said I was interested, and we set up a day for Recruiter A to call me to talk about the job. Recruiter A never called, never replied to LinkedIn messages, nor a voicemail. I assumed the position was probably not available anymore and moved on.
One month later, Recruiter B from the same recruiting company contacted me on LinkedIn about the same job. I replied, summarizing the interaction I already had with Recruiter A, and said I was still interested if the job was still available.
Recruiter B called me immediately, then set up a video call the following day, a Teams meeting entitled "MyName and Recruiter B - Connect". I was under the impression it was a call to further discuss the role. During the call, I was asked some general technical questions. I was caught off guard, not realizing it was a technical screen. I gave true answers, but not particularly good ones, and I stumbled a lot.
The following day, I got a rejection email from Recruiter B.
I’m reaching out to let you know that we are not going to be moving forward to the next step in the interview process at this time for the position. While I was hoping we would be able to get final steps scheduled, there was a very competitive pool of candidates in the mix and our team decided to move in a different direction.
I am pretty sure they did not get feedback from the client that fast, and that they declined to submit me, based on the poor technical screen. I still think the job is a reasonably good fit (as did two different recruiters), and it has clearly been open for at least a month. Is it ethical to apply directly at this point, since the recruiting company has declined to submit me?
Update: Just to finish the story, I did apply directly and the outcome was... nothing. Never heard back from the company. Even though two more recruiters from different recruiting companies contacted me about it afterwards, the company itself was clearly not interested. But nothing bad happened, either.