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Recently I had a 3rd party recruiter call me unsolicited about a junior developer role at FooCorp. At the time I wasn't interested so I said no; however, I went to FooCorp's website and they have a much more senior role which fits me well. I mentioned this to the recruiter who made some rather half-hearted noises about talking to FooCorp's HR. That was a week ago and I haven't had a clear confirmation they will put me forward at all; the recruiter isn't replying to emails and the telephone number he called me on returns unavailable.

As the closing date for applications is the end of this week, and I dearly want to get the post (and believe I would be a very good fit), would it be inappropriate to contact FooCorp HR direct - even if I made clear that initial contact was via the recruiter?

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FooCorp may not be open to accepting your application just to avoid any conflict with the agreement they have with the recruiter. My guess is, since the job was posted on FooCorp's website, they may not be interested in working with a third party recruiter for the higher position. It may be that foocorp posted the position publicly to appease equal-opportunity hiring practices, but they already have someone in mind.

Give it a shot. They may ask if you've ever been contacted by a recruiter, so you should be honest about the other position. If the recruiter isn't going to help you, they shouldn't make any claims to your getting a position they never brought to your attention, but that doesn't mean the agreement with Foocorp doesn't have legal implication or blurred the line between right and wrong.

Contact the recruiter and let them know if you don't hear from them by a certain date/time, you're going to apply on your own.

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    If they ask about whether the OP has been contacted, be sure to mention that the recruiter stopped responding to emails and phone calls. – NotMe Sep 15 '14 at 20:47
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I have done exactly what you plan to do and it worked out with no problem.

A recruiter described a position to me and said he was going to submit my application materials. Weeks went by and I heard no feedback of any kind from the recruiter. After pinging him with many emails, his colleague finally replied and said, "Mr. X is away on vacation and cannot reply to your emails, but he's asked me to let you know that FooCorp has decided to pass on your application."

About 3 days later I saw a job posting on LinkedIn for the exact position that the recruiter had connected me to. I believed something fishy was going on with the recruiter, so I decided to apply via LinkedIn.

I applied and within two days the company responded to me and said they were very excited about my resume and wanted me to speak with their Chief Science Officer as soon as possible.

At that point, I mentioned to them that they may have already received a resume via the recruiter Mr. X.

The company thanked me a lot for telling them about this -- they said they would look into it and if they indeed had to honor any agreement with the recruiter then they would go ahead and do so. They seemed glad that I alerted them to this possibility.

I got no feedback about why the process went this way. That is, the recruiter (still, even after I began interviewing with the company) never got back in touch with me at all. And the company never confirmed nor denied whether they had received my resume at all from the recruiter.

In summary, it seems that if you have reason to feel you were not legitimately considered as an applicant when the recruiter was assisting you then you should definitely re-apply but try to communicate clearly that a recruiter may have submitted your information before.

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    Stories like this are why I avoid third-party recruiters in general – David K Sep 15 '14 at 15:07
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    Indeed. In some industries (like quant finance) it can be unavoidable as some of even the best companies will outsource their process to a third-party recruiting firm. Very often, third-party recruiters are purely value destructive; they hurt both the company and the candidate. Some things I won't do: (1) never allow recruiters to modify my resume and never consent to let them add a logo, hide my contact info, etc. (2) Always communicate by email so there is a record. Recruiters hate this because it forces them to behave decently and to actually think about what they want to say to you. – ely Sep 15 '14 at 18:02

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