I am currently looking for a new job. My boss is ok with this, he has written a nice letter of recommendation and no dates are set for anything. This is Denmark, so he currently has 4 months of notice if he wanted to let me go, and I have 1 month.

There's this company (500-1000 employees) which I have been interested in joining for a long time, and last month they finally posted a job opening which fit me. I applied immediately ... and didn't hear back.

Then last week a recruiter contacted me saying they had an exciting opportunity for me with the same company. I didn't mention that I had already applied a month earlier. We talked on the phone, but after 30 seconds of describing what I do, they cut me off and said that they didn't think I would fit that particular position, but maybe somewhere else and they would contact the company and talk it over with them. I send them my CV and recommendation as per their request. That same afternoon I got a mail from the company saying they had read my application with interest and would like to have me come in for an interview next week.

I assumed the recruiter had contacted them after reading my documents, so I didn't expect to hear back from them, but yesterday the recruiter called me again. They told me that they had talked with the company and the company didn't have a position available at this time since they had filled a lot of positions recently but the recruiter had another exciting opportunity for me at a start-up doing sort of the same thing - they had already passed my CV on, and the startup was very interested in my profile. I didn't mention the invitation for an interview, since I wanted to see where this was going.

Did this recruiter actually talk with the company or did they have the start-up in mind all along? Is it just a coincidence that I received an invitation for an interview the same day I talked with the recruiter and a month after my application was sent?

I should mention that in the invitation for an interview, there was no mention of the recruiter or specifics about the job application, so I assumed it was a standard-format mail send to everyone invited for interviews.

  • 28
    too short for an answer, but: recruiters have their own objectives, which are not the same as yours.
    – njzk2
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 16:36
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    Unless you paid this recruiter, they are not your recruiter. In this transaction, they are in the service of the start-up.
    – Theodore
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 19:52
  • 16
    People mistaken recruiters as allies. Sorry, their clients are the business. Their products are you. YOU don't pay the recruiter, the business does, that's why you're not their clients. And if you need to ask about needing to pay a recruiter, then it's a scam.
    – Nelson
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 1:41
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    How is this "your recruiter"? Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 6:54
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    Could you clarify in what sense do you need to decide whether to trust or mistrust them? As far as I can tell, you applied for Company X and they contacted you for an interview. So do the interview! If the recruiter and the company want to argue later about whether the recruiter recruited you or your application was direct, that's between them! So why do you need to choose whether to trust the recruiter?
    – komodosp
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 12:05

7 Answers 7


Is it just a coincidence that I received an invitation for an interview the same day I talked with the recruiter and a month after my application was sent?

Yes, that is very likely to be just a coincidence.

Based on what you told us, the recruiter almost immediately told you that, in their eyes, you are not a good fit for that position. Assuming they did talk to the company, it is unlikely they would have mentioned your name and they would specifically not have done so in a positive manner in relation to the open position (because they think you wouldn't fit there).

What is more likely to explain the delay between you submitting your application and the company sending you an interview invitation is that the company was collecting all applications till date X without responding to them. After date X, they look at all received applications and they send interview invitations to the N applicants are the most likely to land the job..

The best thing you can do is to go to the interview and don't mention the recruiter there. At the same time, if you are interested in the job at the start-up, work with the recruiter to get an interview lined up at the start-up as well.

If the interviews are close enough together and both go well, you have the luxury position that you can weigh the two offers against each other. Otherwise, if the first interview is successful you may have to choose with less information. But anyway you have multiple horses in the race.


If the recruiter said that they did not have an open opportunity for you from company Y, and you got the communication from the company Y for interview, then it is clear that Y is responding to your direct application which you submitted earlier.

Prepare for the interview, attend it. There is no need to bring in the recruiter in between for this interview / offer.

  • 37
    And it is possible that the business doesn't like the recruiter and don't want his services due to whatever it is that they have beef with, but that's between the recruiter and the business, and doesn't affect you. Just don't let the recruiter know about your interview because he'll raise a stink about it and may even torpedo your interview if he feels you "went behind his back".
    – Nelson
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 1:43
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    I agree - if the recruiter is not involved in arranging this specific interview, the Company Y might even frown upon having the recruiter dragged into the situation, since that might cost the company a fee. Recruiters aren't cheap.
    – Gertsen
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 6:20
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    It's tough to get out of the habit of saying/ writing "Company X" and not mean any specific company/ organization ! :) Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 10:34
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    You could just refer to them as "The company formerly known as Prince". Everyone will know what you mean. ;) (Dumbest name ever for a company or service, IMHO.)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 14:17
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    It's possible that the recruiter was aware of a role (that you are not a fit for), but not the one the company contacted you about. The company may not share all its roles with all recruiters. Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 15:39

recruiter had another exciting opportunity for me at a start-up doing sort of the same thing - they had already passed my CV on

Based on this alone, you should not trust this recruiter - a recruiter should never pass your CV to a prospective employer without your permission.

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    I'm not going to downvote this - but I entirely disagree with this answer - If I've given my CV to a recruiter and they get a call from a company where I tick the boxes, then I expect them to pass my CV onto that company. Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 22:07
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    @TheDemonLord You leave standing orders / blanket permission to the recruiters you talk to to send your CV on, then, I presume?
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 22:16
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    @DemonLord I disagree. I've worked in NZ for about 20 years and I wouldn't be OK with a recruiter passing my CV on without talking to me first. Among other reasons, I may be represented for the job by a different recruiter already. Recruiters I've used have always phoned/met with me before putting forward my CV.
    – Player One
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 1:04
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    Generally in Europe (where data protection legislation is strong), a recruiter could get in trouble for passing a CV to an employer without the permission of the candidate. Especially so if the CV has contact information in it.
    – JDL
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 10:23
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    @komodosp yes. You may have already applies for any new position that appears, either directly or through another recruiter. You may don't want your CV to be sent to some specific companies (for any reasons). Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 14:17

Should I trust my recruiter?



In this situation, I would guess that:

  1. The recruiter sent your CV along to that company that you want to work for;
  2. They were interested, and noticed that you had already applied to them directly. Thinking to save the recruiter's substantial finder's fee, they responded to you directly and told the recruiter "no".
  3. The recruiter faithfully passed that "no" along to you.

There are other possibilities, of course, but this scenario fits the incentives and explains the timing.

  • 2
    One possibility in mind is that the recruiter was recruiting for a different role - if they are able to give you a job description of the role they're applying for on your behalf, that might help identify if it's that or the above possibility. Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 0:36
  • The company doesn't need to say no - they will tend to say "we have already had an application from this candidate". It's quite common to receive the same CV from multiple sources, and nobody expects you to pay all the referral fees.
    – thelem
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 20:42

As with the others, I advise some degree of caution with this recruiter, who may or may not have actually sent in your resume.

Outside of that, I recommend disclosing to the company that you had previously sent in the application, and that the other recruiter may have also submitted you (assuming they did). Optimally, you would have disclosed as much to your recruiter, of course. The reason is that there exist contracts between companies and recruiters, and both parties want to avoid any appearance of irregularities and improprieties. The company will not want the recruiter claiming that they went behind his back to avoid having to pay him his commission. In this case, because you had already applied before, I don't think there is an actual issue there, but they'll want to be ahead of it. The recruiter probably won't be happy about it either, since that's a commission they're missing out on, but this was an application that you had filed prior to them contacting you.

I learned this lesson the hard way a few years back, where a recruiter mentioned a particular company they wanted to submit me to, and I then accidentally applied to the company a few weeks later, having run into the open tab on my computer, and mistaking it for an opportunity I'd found on my own. A few months into the process, I got an angry call from the company accusing me of duplicity and claiming that I was exposing the company to legal action by bypassing the recruiter. Needless to say, I didn't get that job.


It is perfectly possible that the company is processing their received applications first, before giving work to the recruiter. The recruiter doesn't work for free, so that might also make sense money-wise. Their call might even have triggered the company to "remember"/re-prioritize the processing of your application (although that's only speculation), and they don't have to tell the recruiter anything.

Or, the recruiter is lying, for whatever reasons. In that case, what could you do? Accusing them of lying and/or telling them to send your application to the company would seem futile. Also, you already have your interview lined up.

Your recruiter may or may not deserve your trust, but in my opinion, this changes nothing for your situation: They could or would not get you your desired interview, but you got it anyway.

I am not sure though if I would like it that a recruiter just forwards my CV to a different company without asking me first.

Good luck!

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