There is a position in the UK I've seen that I'm interested in, which I set aside to apply to over a weekend. Before the weekend came around, a recruiter got in touch with me, and, after an email exchange, happened to present this same position to me. I made it clear to him that I had every intention of applying for the position anyway, but that I'd be happy to do it through him instead.

He said he wanted to talk to me over the phone, and we arranged to speak last Friday at 4pm. He didn't call. I emailed him, and he got back to me about 30 minutes later, saying he couldn't make it, but could I make 6pm? As I couldn't, I tried to arrange a time with him last Monday, and I've not heard from him since.

My concern here is with the ethics of going ahead and applying for the job directly. I had to chase him after he didn't call me back, and he's not responded since, which makes me feel as though I should just apply for it now, as I've tried to contact him a couple of times and heard nothing, but I've been wondering how other people view it.

Do you think I should apply directly?

  • Did you sign a contract with the recruiter giving them the right to represent you? If not, your OK do do what you want
    – Peter M
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 18:24
  • @PeterM No, I've not signed any contract; it was just an informal email exchange.
    – John H
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 18:24
  • 2
    In that case don't feel any guilt!
    – Peter M
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 18:26
  • If not, your OK do do what you want I suggest the OP should specify locale since local laws may differ. But if you knew about the position before you were approached, I see no ethical issue here.
    – rath
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 18:27
  • 3
    When given a choice, never apply through a third party recruiter (that doesn't have exclusivity), that recruiter will just tack on a commission of 30% or more that the company will have to pay (that is why many companies place resumes sent in from the recruiters at the bottom of the pile). In any case, it's good that he doesn't have your resume, do not give it to him. Apply on your own. Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


recruiter got in touch with me, and, after an email exchange, happened to present this same position to me

It's been a week and despite multiple attempts he is not responding, it's likely he has either decided he has a better client to concentrate on, or that you aren't strong enough for him to present (or the mention of applying directly has put him off). These people will usually keep focused on potential money makers.

The majority of legitimate recruiters in the UK will have asked you for an email response agreeing to them being your representative on this role (or maybe to sign a form and return), if you've had neither they have no claim on you.

If I haven't given the recruiter an exclusive I'd apply directly (you have nothing to lose, likely the client will have never seen your details), and once you do it I'd drop an email to the recruiter explicitly saying thanks for contacting you, but you do not want them to represent you, as you did as discussed previously and applied directly.

If subsequently you get the role and the recruiter has already "introduced" you, they can fight it out with the client over whether they should get a fee (but that's nothing to do with you).

  • Thank you for your answer. My wording was a little off. I actually meant 'presented', not 'offered', and I've edited the question to reflect that. The position is genuine. Sorry for the confusion.
    – John H
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 19:24
  • This is exactly what I needed. Thank you for taking the time to update your answer.
    – John H
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 20:06

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