In 2020, I started a job on a "Contract to Hire" basis, and I really enjoyed working there. Unfortunately, due to Covid, they paused hiring just as my 3-month contract was ending, so I couldn't become a permanent employee.

This week, a recruiter called, and it turns out they're hiring again. I have my former manager's contact. Is it okay to reach out to him directly? I'd love to return, but I'm unsure if reaching out this way is appropriate.

  • Is it a recruiter from a third party agency ? If yes, have you agreed that he/she can represent you in apply for the job ? Nov 12, 2023 at 14:46
  • It is a recruiter from a third party agency, actually, it’s the same recruiting company that got me this job back in 2020. I hadn’t talked with this specific recruiter before and nothing has been agreed in terms of representation.
    – Cuco
    Nov 12, 2023 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


Yes, of course. If for some reason he’s not the right person to talk to he’ll redirect you, or if he doesn’t answer (left the job, on leave) you can follow up with the recruiter. But it’s always ok to, and prudent to, leverage preexisting relationships.

  • 3
    THIS is what "networking" should mean. Not the speed-dating shallow thing that is being marketed under that name. Establish real relationships, then use them to ask what opportunities exist or can be made based on their understanding of you as individual and professional. Real life friends are tremendously more useful than Facebook "friends", as well as simply bringing more joy to your life.
    – keshlam
    Nov 12, 2023 at 16:17
  • 1
    In some cases the manager might tell you that you need to apply through the recruiter anyway (e.g. an exclusivity clause on filling the role), but now the manager knows to expect your cv and can make sure it gets forwarded by the recruiter and might even fast-track an interview or give a recommendation / personal reference to the interview panel - in any case contacting the manager can do no harm, and might give you a procedural advantage over other candidates…
    – mclayton
    Nov 13, 2023 at 8:34

You're much better off dealing with the manager directly at this point. If you started in 2020 and worked for three months, the latest you could have ended would have been in March 2021. That means that as of now (November 2023) it's been over two years since the recruiting firm has been involved at all.

It's pretty standard for the contracts between recruiting firms and their clients to have a non-poaching clause for the duration of one year. You're way past that. Call the manager or HR. You have an established relationship, and the recruiter might only be dead weight in the conversation at this point. Do NOT share your intentions with the recruiter.

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