This is a curious case for me as it seems to be split into two camps. There are recruiters who will work with me on opportunities, even go so far as to setup a preliminary screening with a potential position before discussing a RTR contract which seems like a more natural way to go about things. Gives us both a chance to understand each other, and see if we can work together and find a good fit.

Then there are others who want to have the RTR signed as soon as possible. Even in some cases before discussing any details about the position. In every case this has occurred it has made me feel uncomfortable about the relationship and the potential job. I want to know someone before I consider signing anything with them, but that seems to not be at the forefront of the conversations.

As some background, I'm at a senior level in my career and am currently employed. Is it that difficult to ascertain I may want some details before wasting my time on an opportunity I may not be interested in?

Anyway, as the title states, why does the latter camp exist? What benefits does a recruiter experience from this approach? I'm having difficulty seeing any benefit of this from my perspective as it seems to be lacking in the relationship building side of things.

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    I've never been handed an RTR contract until there was an offer from the end-customer. Usually I just am asked for explicit permission to present me to a prospect via email, but that's about it. Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 21:50
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    @WesleyLong Even though it's not a hard copy, it's still a RTR contract. Some are as simple as you say, others are more exhaustive, and still others require a printed, signed copy. In the end, all serve the same purpose.
    – Foosh
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 14:59

5 Answers 5


Because a lot of recruiters serve no real purpose other than to hand your resume to a hiring manager somewhere. Their middle-man position is precarious and the only chance they have at some stability is to convince their prospects that they should sign contracts like this so they are guaranteed their cut if and when they hook you up with a gig.

Sans the contract, there's not a whole lot stopping you from getting the job yourself and just circumventing the recruiter.

Not all recruiters are like this, of course, but the ones that are, I'd avoid for the reasons that you point out--they're not really into 'building a relation' as much as they are into 'making a quick buck'.

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    I think making a quick buck is rather harsh. Sure it's something rushed, but there's no scam going on; only the feeling of self-preservation on the recruiter's part.
    – rath
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 0:39
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    @rath didn't mean to imply there's any scam. But I can say that 'making a quick buck' is a type of recruiter I encounter quite often. I agree that it's very much a feeling of self-preservation.
    – DA.
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 0:53
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    I think it's amusing that in some cases there seems to be this assumption that I'm out to circumvent the recruiter. I've never had a reputation for doing that so regardless of what may have happened in their past I would hope a recruiter wouldn't automatically distrust me. Makes it hard to build a relationship without trust (true with personal relationships as well as professional)
    – Foosh
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 14:54
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    @Foosh in that a good chunk of tech recruiters go out of their way to obfuscate the hiring company from you, I'd say they are paranoid to begin with.
    – DA.
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 16:24
  • @DA If the recruiter is working for the potential hire to find them work. (IE they aren't hired by the hiring company to fill a spot) RTRs seem like a necessary way to ensure you get paid, on the other hand most recruiters I've worked with are hired by companies to fill jobs and pull from their databases of potential candidates. In this case the contract is usually already in place with the employer that basically states if the recruiter presents you first, it doesn't matter how you get hired they get their cut. Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 18:28

I own a recruiting firm and have been in the business for years.

Simple answer to this:

The recruiting firm needs protection.


Unfortunately a few bad apples spoil the process for everyone. When you place a candidate making $100k on a 20% fee you're looking at a $20k check.

After spending a week scouring job/career boards, leveraging personal referrals and relationships, another week interviewing, and yet another week droning through the background checks/drug screens/reference checks/paperwork/etc. you've spent quite a bit of time/resources to come up with a good candidate.

When you're paying a recruiter, sales people, admin staff, and overhead, that $20k goes quick.

You can't risk calling a candidate and discussing the client only to have them hang up and contact that company directly (or another recruiting firm they've worked with in the past). Most people wouldn't do this however all it takes is one person to take advantage before you require the agreement on the front end from everyone.

I speak from direct personal experience when I say that it can be devastating to spend almost a month on a job, only to find out the client hired a candidate that YOU INTERVIEWED but didn't present because the candidate stopped returning calls and went after the job on their own (or through another agency).

Also - most RTR agreements are client specific. So if we send you to company X, you can only be hired there through our firm. Normally there is a time frame of 3-6 months to prevent the client from trying to bypass the recruiter after being presented with the resume.

Unfortunately, the agreements are necessary to prevent the small number of bad apples out there from hurting your business.


There are recruiters out there who will submit resumes without even telling the candidate they are submitting them. They are simply sending out as many resumes as they can to try to be the first at getting a candidate in the hands of hiring managers.

This presents a problem I've run into more and more recently. I take time (not just a 5 min phone call) with candidates to go over in detail their history and what types of roles will make them happy and actually look forward to going to work each day. Then I ask them if they would like to be presented and if they have already been presented (in which case I will not double submit them). Once they have confirmed they would like to explore the opportunity we submit their information. Only to have the company say another recruiter has submitted them and they are in their database, we have had very upset candidates say they were never told they were being submitted and definitely did not want that recruiter to "get credit" because of the way they went about it.

At that point, there is nothing we can do, a right to represent is the only way to help in these situations. I've never been forced to use one, but the way things are going I may start. At least when I'm dealing with companies who are engaging in business with particular recruiting firms who are well known for this practice.

  • +1 for mentioning unscrupulous recruiters submitting candidates without clearing it with the candidate first. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 20:09

Recruiters can have you sign an RTR and then have your resume on hold as they submit a candate who is willing to take less pay. YOu would now be legally stuck because you cannot go to another agency that will pay you higher. In this case the RTR is not fair and should never be signed.

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    That's a tough situation for the hired, but explains nothing about why a recruiter would want to do it, assuming that's why they arrange an RTR agreement. -1 NAA.
    – user53718
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 8:41
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    @Nij I disagree. The recruiter may do it because let's say he detected 10 good candidates, that agreed to be represented by him. He would get them all sign an RTR. Let's say the end client allows only a quota of 5 candidates. The recruiter will submit the 5 cheapest ones. The other 5 are now out of the game. They will not compete against the cheapest 5 by applying independently or thru other recruiter. Actually, it did happen to me quite a bit.
    – rapt
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 23:59

What worries me about the RTR is, it may be possible that the recruiter wants to hold your resume to nominate someone else for the position. In many occasions I received phone calls from recruiters offering me positions with organizations I already applied for employment with them through the internet. It seems they have their eyes inside the employer organization and whenever they see a resume that can be a good candidate for a position they will inform the recruiter who will call the candidate and ask him for RTR to hold his resume and nominate someone else. Nearly in all the cases after I gave the RTR I never heard from such recruiter they did not bother to respond to my email. My advice before you give the RTR check on the recruiter, if its not a well known name do not give the RTR. Actually reputable recruiters will not ask you for RTR at the very beginning

  • In this particular scenario, where you have already applied to the client company, you tell the recruiter who sent you the RTR request for that firm "Sorry, I've already applied directly to them." Then SHUT UP and see what he/she says. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 20:07

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