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I have been approached by two recruiters (A and B) for a position the same role at the same company.

I was asked by Recruiter A first, and told them that I would allow them to represent me for the position at the company, and told Recruiter B that I was already being represented by Recruiter A.

I have since found out that each recruiter is only allowed to submit three candidates for that position to prevent the company from being flooded by resumes. Since Recruiter A approached more than three candidates, it is possible that despite me giving them permission to represent me, they have not submitted my resume to the company.

I contacted Recruiter A asking for verification that they had submitted my resume for consideration to the company, but they are telling me they will not provide that information. They have an incentive to prevent me from applying for the role through another recruiter as it reduces the candidate pool and makes it more likely one of their candidates will be selected.

How can I apply for this role given the situation with Recruiter A?

  • Have you asked Recruiter A directly whether your CV was submitted to the company? Have they categorically said yes? – DJClayworth Apr 29 '14 at 14:48
  • @djayworth yes and yes. But how can you trust them? If a liar tells you he is telling the truth it doesn't really help matters. Without proof you just have to take what they are saying at face value even though it's hurting your chances of being submitted for the role (ie when you say no to recruiter B) – Paul Hollingsworth May 1 '14 at 11:58
  • It makes a difference to the approach if they have told you they have submitted it. – DJClayworth May 1 '14 at 12:49
  • Hey Paul, this question was getting votes saying it was unclear, so I made an edit to try to make it more understandable. If I screwed something up, please feel free to edit to make it clearer. Thanks in advance! – jmac May 7 '14 at 2:27
  • To be clear, in this sentence: "..., they are telling me they will not provide that information." in the last paragraph, the phrase "this information" refers to verification that they had submitted the resume, not to submitting the resume. I initially misread that myself. – Keith Thompson Apr 7 '15 at 17:09
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Recruiters make money when you are placed, not when your resume is submitted. Instead of trying to get this proof you're looking for, be open and honest. Tell the recruiter your assumption, and ask for assurances that you have been submitted to the position and when you can expect a response.

This isn't a game, it's business, and both of you benefit when there is open communication of expectations.

Things you don't want to do in this situation:

  • Attempt to be submitted via multiple recruiters by lying and saying that you haven't already been submitted. Being dishonest is always bad. As a hiring manager, if I saw your resume twice from two agencies, yes, it would reflect poorly on them, but it would reflect worse on you because I know most agencies won't submit unless they have sole submit right--and that you lied to both of them.

  • Submit yourself via online application, and attempt to be submitted via recruiter. Again, it will look like you're lying: either you didn't tell your recruiter you were already submitted, or you are trying to weasel the recruiter out of commission by submitting yourself after you were told where the opening is. In either case, I will not consider you for hire.

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    from my personal experience in the uk, both while job hunting and recruiting, it's not uncommon for recruiters to submit your cv without explicit permission, or sometimes even knowingly when the candidate may already be involved with the same vacancy via another recruiter, attempting to snipe the candidate. Unless I had good reason to think it was the candidate's fault, I don't think it's fair to assume they were the ones in the wrong. – Reinstate Monica Apr 29 '14 at 21:14
  • @yochannah ouch, that's rough. I've thankfully never worked with a recruiter that does that. I'd imagine s/he wouldn't be recruiting for long. – Garrison Neely Apr 29 '14 at 21:24
  • You may be right; I refused to do business with the sniping company after I was burned. – Reinstate Monica Apr 29 '14 at 21:52
  • Everything you say is true - but you haven't addressed the core problem which is that it is in the recruiter's interest to lead you to believe that you have been submitted for the role when in fact he has silently "held back" your CV in favour of another. Note this behaviour is not in the client's interest either - as recruiters who do this "soak up" the good candidates that might otherwise be represented by another agency. – Paul Hollingsworth May 1 '14 at 12:04
  • I've talked with a lot of recruiters, and maybe I've just been lucky, but I've never had an instance where the recruiter and I haven't been totally honest. I've never felt that I was secretly held back, even though I was told that I was submitted. And I've worked with multiple recruiters at the same time looking at different prospects. I just keep each of them up to date on the process of the other's work. Seems to have worked great so far. – Garrison Neely May 1 '14 at 14:49
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Personally, I think you are being too nice to the agencies and I would not consider it my problem to maintain. I would even say if asked to represent me, I would say "I will say yes to other agencies too because I understand there are quotas on the number of CVs you can submit". I appreciate this does not directly address your question of proof which I think you will struggle to get an answer from ANY agency about.

If the company/hiring manager is using multiple agencies, then it is up to him to decide which agency first sent them the CV if they receive several copies of your CV and subsequently hire you.

If one of the agencies is just trolling, then they know that if they send your CV in, they will probably only get their cut if they were the only agency to send in your CV.

I had a situation where an agency contacted me about a role and I sent my CV to them. My wife (unknown to them) worked with the hiring manager and after a week or so asked if my CV was on his desk. It turned out they had 5 CVs but could only submit 3 and literally threw them up in the air to see which 3 came down first. My wife described me to the hiring manager and he asked me to come in for an interview on top of the 3 he had been sent. I got the job and the agency phoned me up to congratulate me and subsequently badgered the company for their commission!!! Needless to say, they did not get paid!

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    Being submitted by two agencies (or by an agency and submitting yourself) reflects poorly on you. Recruiters ask for exclusive submit rights for a certain position to avoid this. – Garrison Neely Apr 29 '14 at 14:48
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    @GarrisonNeely - I would disagree. It reflects poorly on the agency. The end goal to the candidate is to get in front of the employer, not to make the agencies life easier. If the recruiter asks for exclusive submit rights, then I would question why the employer is using multiple agencies in the first place – Mike Apr 29 '14 at 14:51
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    duly noted, but in many cases a large company will have an open position that it fields to a group of trusted recruitment agencies. I even did that when I was hiring manager for a small bank. If I see the same resume twice, I figure that the recruiters don't have their crap in line, and I probably toss the resumes, because the potential hire is being untruthful (since I know both of the agencies will ask for sole submit rights). – Garrison Neely Apr 29 '14 at 14:54
  • I see what you mean. Not sure why it makes the potential hire untruthful though. They may have said no but the agency might still think they are the best odds to be hired by you? – Mike Apr 29 '14 at 15:32
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    @Mike any agency with a sole submit policy has a policy to reject anyone who doesn't agree. Entirely because if two agencies send in the same resume it looks terrible, it's better to wind up losing a sale to another agency than a customer. Think about it like this. Odds are if you make one recruiters short list you'll make both, otherwise you're more likely to make neither than just one. You gain the chance of the second recruiter selecting you when the first didn't (which means you're up against tough competition) at the loss of your best chance of getting hired. – RualStorge Apr 29 '14 at 21:09
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There are a few things to keep in mind here.

Most companies will not want to get into a fight over the finders fee. So if you were submitted first by an agency/head hunter, do not apply to a company directly. Also, do not apply via another agency or head hunter.

Secondly, sometimes you can figure out who is hiring by the job title, description, etc. You may be able to leverage your network to get into the position or apply directly. The issue many times is that the agency/recruiter does not have exclusive rights on the job listing. In other words, the employer may be using several agencies as well as listing it on their own job boards, web site, etc. Unless you're so good/exactly want the company is looking for, they may be hesitant to pay the finders fee. Recently, I had 1 agency contact me about a position where I think I know where it is and the VP over the position I know quite well. So, why would he want to pay the finders fee to hire someone he presumably knows?

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