So 2.5 years ago while I was still attending university I was once contacted by a recruiter, who later introduced me to a firm (firm A) where I had a interview but I didn't take the job at the time (I wanted to get another degree first).

Now 2,5 years later I would like to apply for a job at the same firm, which is put on their website. Before, I had no idea (naive) how recruiters work, now I know the firm has to pay those recruiters whenever they hire someone they introduced (and pretty large sums in the financial sector). So when two people apply for the same job, ceteris paribus the one that doesn't require an extra recruitment fee will have an advantage, and probably get the job.

So does this mean that those two meetings I had imply that for the rest of my life firm A will have to pay some extra bucks if they want to hire me? Seems ridiculous to me, to be honest. How can I bypass this legally?

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    Very related question - potentially a duplicate?
    – enderland
    Mar 13, 2014 at 18:25
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    Worst thing that could happen? They hire you and Recruiter will demand from Firm A to pay the fee they were willing to pay for you anyway.
    – Philipp
    Mar 13, 2014 at 18:54
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    What country? In the USA, 6 months is the norm, 12 months max. After that the recruiter loses any stake in you. Mar 13, 2014 at 20:17
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    So does this mean that those two meetings I had imply that for the rest of my life firm A will have to pay some extra bucks if they want to hire me? ... No it doesn't meant that, not anywhere close to that. Mar 14, 2014 at 2:42

4 Answers 4


Maybe it depends on the country you're in, but where I'm from, a recruitment agent wouldn't have any expectation of receiving a fee in the situation you describe.

I think you're putting the cart before the horse in any case. This is unlikely to be an issue for you even if you get an interview, and are eventually offered the job, and accept it, and the recruiter finds out, and has an extant contractual relationship with the employer, and decides s/he wants to pursue it.

In short, I would cross that bridge when I came to it and not worry myself about an imaginary problem that is contingent on a chain of events that you have little control over.


There really isn't anything you need to do here, unless you signed a contract with the recruiter promising that you would never apply for a job at Firm A without consulting them (the recruiter).

You need not (and should not) be worried about how Firm A and the recruiter deal with the situation, if you get a job. It is their problem and they have people adept at dealing with such issues, so let them figure it out.

PS: 2.5 years is a long time in almost any industry, so unless you are someone as famous as Mark Zuckerberg, it is unlikely that the recruiter would even remember those 2 meetings with you. Life is too short to worry about someone else's problem, especially if it is one that they themselves would likely never find out about.


Within the United States, I'm pretty sure that there's no legal aspect to it. I have gotten bitten a few times by applying to a job which a recruiter had submitted me for (in one case, it was two different recruiters and in another, I knew the name of the company because I had the website up, but had no record of the recruiter contacting me, although I found an oblique email indicating that he had, alluding to a phone conversation). Most of the time, it's a mild embarrassment, like claiming to be pivotal on a project when talking to the guy who really headed it, but in one case, I missed out on a job because the owner of the company felt that my actions were unethical.

Ultimately, it's largely a courtesy thing. The companies don't want to turn off recruiters from recruiting for them, but it's pretty much a matter of a job-by-job thing. Your safest route is to mention that Recruiter A from Company X had submitted you over two years ago for a different job, but that you found this one on your own. That way, if the company wants to avoid trouble, they can contact that recruiter. But honestly, over two years ago, and for a different job, especially if it's different divisions, there's really no conflict at all. I actually received my latest job that way. The former recruiter was bummed that they hadn't found the opportunity on their own, but accepted that it happened because they hadn't properly been on the ball.

  • The recruiter thing is IMHO secondary to what @Sean wrote: you need to make sure that early on in the process you make them know that you already applied in the same company in the past. Some companies have odd policies about that, some do not care, but you probably do not want to leave it to chance. Either way, if you had an offer in the past, that can only speed up the whole interviewing process.
    – joelhoro
    Mar 14, 2014 at 9:15

The same situation, and probably more common, would apply if there are multiple recruiters. At some point, six agencies had my CV, and three of them sent me to the same company (where I eventually had a job interview and got a job). The company asked me which agency had told me first about the job, I told them (actually I had received three letters and I told them which letter I opened and read first), and that's the agency they paid.

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    this doesn't even attempt to answer the question asked: "Is it possible to bypass a recruiter that once introduced you to a firm?"
    – gnat
    Mar 14, 2014 at 16:16
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    Hey gnasher, sharing experiences is part of what our site is about, but we're also looking for definitive answers to questions. I encourage you to edit your answers based on our site's back it up rule. This bumps them back to the top where folks can see them and vote on them or change previous negative votes to positive votes. Hope this helps.
    – jmort253
    Mar 18, 2014 at 4:13

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