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So yesterday I had a great 2nd interview with a company. My first interview was with my recruiter at the company, this second interview was with a software engineer. It seemed to go very well and I already sent a thank you email to the engineer who interviewed me. My question is, is it proper etiquette to also send a follow up email to my recruiter?

I realize now that just saying 'recruiter' is not entirely clear. The recruiter works for the company which I am interviewing at, and is not from a separate recruiting agency.

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TLDR: Keep dealing directly with your recruiter whether it's a recruitment firm or a representative of the company you're interviewing with.

Proper protocol dictates that all further communication be routed through the recruiter. While additional questions/answers may take a more "direct" route, the recruiter should always be cc'd on anything until an offer is made and accepted. There are a few reasons this is the case.

Recruiters get paid by placing you, and communication "around" them may make it look like a company is attempting to recruit you directly without the recruiters knowledge. Suppose they decline you with the recruiter, then 2 weeks from now submit an offer directly to you without the recruiter's knowledge. This would be a breach of contract, but because you've dealt directly with the company the recruiter would not be directly privy to it.

Recruiting companies are generally rigid with brand management. They'll want any communication between the client and a potential to be done through the recruiting company's email system so that the recruiter's contact info and signature are present. Communicating around the recruiter prevents them from enforcing this brand control and may cause them not to want to deal with you in the future.

Lastly, a recruiter for you is like an agent for a sports figure. They get paid a percentage based on the offer you accept. Thus, it's in their best interest to negotiate the best possible salary they can for you. Unless you deal with sales, acquisitions or something similar it's unlikely that negotiation of this sort is a primary skill for you. I freely admit that I'm probably my own worst representative (I'm getting better). By engaging the recruiter for all contact, you're forcing the company to deal with your representative. This prevents you from being suckered into a deal that is not ideal by getting perks or similar whizbangs.

I make it a general rule and inform companies I'm dealing with that I operate this way. I give them my information and let them know that they can contact me for any other details or questions, but I also let them know that I'll be routing all communication through my representative to keep everything "transparent" and "tracked" properly. None of the companies I've ever dealt with have had a problem with it. Most prefer it.

Edit in response to question edit: An HR recruiter that is an actual part of the company you're applying to is still set to be a point of contact. The people who did the interview are essentially busy people. The interviews typically take away from their regular work and are a complete distraction. Add on to that the fact that they've probably interviewed 20 people in the last month, the onslaught of email, contact and questions is not conducive to maintaining their work day.

The HR recruiter, however, is paid to do just that. They're your point of contact for the company, and they represent the company to you. It is entirely appropriate to continue dealing directly with this recruiter to prevent interrupting the other people in the company you met. The recruiter will also want to be part of any communications because they help indicate your level of interest, and HR will be the ones actually extending you an offer of employment. The other people are simply there to gauge your skills and expertise. HR is who is actually recruiting you.

  • Thank you for your very thorough answer. It gave me a lot of insight. My post was not clear, so I made a edit. The recruiter is not from a recruiting agency, but works for the company I am interviewing at. The recruiter is essentially just part of their HR staff. – jready Mar 3 '15 at 16:21
  • Once again, thank you for the answer. It really helped a lot to clear up any confusion I had. – jready Mar 3 '15 at 16:54
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Even though it may have fallen by the wayside with the prolific use of email, you will never go wrong by keeping a stack of simple, business-like 'Thank you' notes & stamped envelopes handy. Send the notes to thank both the recruiter and the interviewer for their time and attention. People in these positions are often über busy and their time is stretched thin--this is a major reason why candidates never hear from them again. For interviewers and/or recruiters to receive a (very) brief but PERSONALIZED and SINCERE ("I enjoyed meeting you ... I appreciated your information about ... our conversation about ...") handwritten note thanking them is something that is rarely, if ever, done--so you will stand out. (Even if an individual is paid to do what they do, having someone acknowledge them for it and also take the time to thank them in a brief note is a bonus.) Note: You will be better off not sending a thank-you note if it is not 100% sincere.

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You will most likely be in continuing contact with the recruiter, so I would thank them after the relationship is concluded (that is, after you got the job or you didn't). They get tons of emails every day and the email would most likely be lost in spam anyway.

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