A recruiter contacts me about a direct hire in city X. He is eager to move forward, but is difficult to work with.

The next day a different recruiter from a different staffing company contacts me about the same position.

I can now if I really want to work with 3 different entities. My choice of recruiter. Or I think it will not be hard to seek out that company in city X, and work with them directly.

Provided I am looking to get hired, what can be my course of action?

I am seeking an answer that will address both my situation and the general policy, philosophy, and framework, when coming in contact with and working with recruiters.

3 Answers 3


Recruiters are a tool for you to use as you see fit - act accordingly, and use the tools that you want.

Know that some agencies hire exclusively through recruiters, so it may be in your best interest to use one of the two recruiters.

If one has a better reputation with you than the other, it is perfectly advisable to go through that recruiter.

Recruitment groups are aware they are in competition with other groups, so it is not unethical for you to use another group if you feel they will give you a better chance of getting the job.


If you have not yet formally engaged one to represent you at the given opportunity, then you can select your preference.

The key threshold to be aware of is when one has presented you to the prospective employer. If multiple recruiters submit the same person for a job it can at a minimum cause some embarrassment and in the worst case can take you out of the running for the job.

If you've already been submitted by one of the recruiters and you want to make a change, that can be difficult depending on the recruiter. You could request that the recruiter withdraw you and if you are firm in that stance, the recruiter should comply, though it might sour them on working with you in the future (although anytime they have a chance to make money off you, they can indeed have short memories).

You'll also have some explaining to do if the preferred recruiter then submits you and the employer recognizes your name. I would hope that in an interview most employers would understand if you told them you were not comfortable with the first recruiter, but it depends on who you're dealing with.

In summary, if you have not been submitted by any recruiter, you can do what you want. If you have been, it becomes more problematic though technically not impossible to change.


Also be sure to remember that there are some unethical players floating about in this space. I have been contacted by recruiters claiming to "represent a company" when in fact what they are hoping to do is to submit your resume unsolicited to a company and thus introduce themselves as unnecessary middlemen in the transaction. My advice for vetting out the wheat from the chaff comprises of the following steps and indicators:

  • Good recruiters have no problem telling you the company that they are working with
  • I recommend searching for the recruiter and/or their company online to see if they have some notoriety. Walk away from anyone who has a bad reputation

  • Once a recruiter has your contact information, you will most likely be subject to repeat unsolicited interruptions for the next hot opportunity. I once encountered a wonderful human being who attempted to recruit me away from a company while he was searching for candidates for this very same company

I hope this helps you choose the right recruiter for this opportunity.

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