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I got an interview through a recruiter for a very good job. The interview went really well, but the client wanted to engage me directly without the recruiter. The recruiter somewhat disagreed and wanted that I work as a consultant with them for 6 months as "pre-employment" before going to work for the client. This is a somewhat not unheard of practice in this country (France).

I will get a definitive answer in a few days. In case something goes awry I was thinking on alternatives, since the primary motivation for refusal would be financial (that is what I understood in the interview).

I was wondering when (if ever) would be okay for me to apply independently from the recruiter (this would be vastly more attractive for the client financially), and how could I approach the client if I could?

To clarify: The client called the recruiter and asked if it was possible to simply pay a fee so I can get the job instead of being a consultant for some time. Me hearing this conversation was by accident since I was in the car with the recruiter. I doubt there is an agreement between the client and the recruiter but who knows...

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    This would very much depend on your agreement with the recruiter, are you tied in to working for them? At the end of the day, they're the ones who got you in a position to get the job, they did not do this for fun. So normally a recruiter has you tied in in some way. If not you can do whatever you want I would think. – Kilisi Mar 22 '16 at 15:16
  • Well there is nothing in writing, and not even verbally. It is just something that is implicit (at least in my opinion). That I wouldn't apply independently if they went through the effort of pitching for me. @Chad Not really a duplicate since in that instance he didn't meet the client with the recruiter. – Joze Mar 22 '16 at 15:28
  • You could tell the recruiter that you are not willing to work as a consultant. This could back fire but often times a recruiter will cave and place the candidate anyway since a small payday is better than no payday – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 22 '16 at 15:29
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    @Kilisi - No the company wants to have the candidate (the op) directly placed rather than doing a consultant first. They are not trying to go around the recruiter just want to pay a placement fee rather than a consultant arrangement. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 22 '16 at 15:32
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    @Chad Yes it's as Chad says... – Joze Mar 22 '16 at 15:33
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This will all come down to contract law.

The important contract is between the employer and the recruiter. It's normal for that contract to have a clause that there is a payment due to the recruiter if the employer employs any person that was introduced by the recruiter - regardless if the employee later contacted the employer direct.

The employer is talking to the recruiter about changing their terms of engagement, so that they can employ you immediately. That discussion does not include you, and nothing you can do will affect that discussion (unless you decide to work somewhere else). Contacting the employer directly will only cause issues between the employer and the recruiter.

My advice is to sit tight and see what happens. In either case, you'll have a good job.

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