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I just started a short-term contract freelance development position at a startup, and I got the position through a recruiter. There was a verbal agreement where the position would last about 2-3 weeks, but five days in, the startup wants to hire me. I am interested in taking an offer. They emailed me asking for my salary requirements etc, and I wonder if it would be to my advantage to include the recruiter in this conversation. This recruiter sets up contract-based work, and I am skeptical that he may have an incentive to have me continue other jobs for him, but he may also provide useful info.

This position with the startup is my first job with this recruiter, and I am trying to do my best. It apparently worked, and I am interested in taking the job. I am early in my SDE career, and I do not have any job offers. I want to get the most out of this position, and I have been working ~10-12 hours a day, but I do not yet know much about this startup that is about to hire me.

At the start of the job (5 days ago), the recruiter told me he doesn't have much information about the startup or the position, but would it help me to include the recruiter in the job negotiation process? Could it hurt me?

If I contact the recruiter, in what ways can he help me?

Also, I am getting paid through the recruiter.

  • There's only been one time that I've involved a recruiter that found a job for me after being hired, and that didn't turn out well. I'm not sure why you'd want to include them in the salary negotiation process all they are going to do is complicate matters. – NotMe Oct 31 '14 at 21:57
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I think you definitely should contact your recruiter because a lot of recruiters have agreements with their clients that they don't hire the people who they contract without paying a fee. By so doing, you could be putting your new employer in the position of choosing to pay a fee, face a lawsuit or just let you go.

At the minimum, I would ask your prospective employer if they have any such agreement. At least that way you'll have more information with which to act.

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    I agree, but start with the employer, unless you are getting paid via the recruiter. If the recruiter just found you the job, they have already been compensated. – Bill Leeper Oct 31 '14 at 16:05
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You got the job with the startup on your own. You should see from reading your own post that adding the recruiter into the mix is a complicating factor to your life.

After rereading your post for the third time - why the hell can't you all write clearly? - it is not clear anymore to me from the language of your post whether the startup is the outfit where you are doing the short-term work.If it is, then you need to talk to the startup about whether you have to talk to the recruiter. I understand that the recruiter got you a one to two week short gig, and it is quite possible that the relationship between the startup and the recruiter, assuming that they have one, does not go beyond that short-term gig. Only way to know for sure is to talk to the startup if you got thegig with the startup through the recruiter.

If the short-term gig is not with the startup - and this is what I am basing the rest of my answer on, then you don't need to talk to the recruiter.

You use a recruiter for three reasons:

  • access: some recruiters are genuinely trusted by their clients and their clients expect you to go through thee preferred or exclusive recruiters.

  • confidentiality: there are time when you want to do your job search without putting on the neon signs that you are looking.

  • salary/benefit negotiations: I suck at negotiating these, and I usually leave this detail to my recruiters. I never negotiate money matters - I just get myself another job if I am not happy with the compensation. Some of my employers may not be happy with my style but my style is my style, I am happy with it and all care about is that I am happy.

Recruiters don't work for free but charge their clients a commission. It's unlikely that your recruiter is going to be interested in the startup as a client since the recruiter is unlikely to get rich from one-off commissions from the startup. I'd say that recruiters prefer a continuing relationship with regular clients for the same reason that we all like a regular source of income.

An unscrupulous recruiter can hurt hurt you if he claims from your prospective employer a commission that he is not entitled to. In fact, his doing so may cost you your job offer as your prospective employer does not want to deal either with the controversy or spending more cash than they anticipated.

  • Yes, the gig is at the startup. I just fixed my question to clarify that fact. Sorry for the confusion. – niceEarthling Oct 31 '14 at 15:50
  • @Christopher Estep is correct. Recruiters usually have some kind of contractual relationship or other agreement with employers. At a minimum, the startup should be encouraged to follow up with the recruiter. – Eric Oct 31 '14 at 19:55

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