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Here is my situation (and from what I gather this is a common worry, at least with this recruitment company): I went on a recruitment company's website and applied to a couple of their positions. I got a call from the recruiters for the positions and they sent me information on the companies and said they sent my profile to the companies. This was last week. Since then I have not heard from anyone at either of the companies, nor have I heard anything from the recruiters.

Now after having applied through this recruiting company, I have read some rather unsavory rumors about this recruitment company, most of them having to deal with them scraping online job postings and sending resumes unsolicited. So now I am a bit worried that my resume may have been sent to the companies unsolicited and that my reputation may be tarnished with them, but I am also worried that they may have sent my resume solicited and if I apply directly with the company it will portray me poorly or "look bad" in some other way (recruiters often warn me of this).

My question: how do I approach a company to see if they are contracted with a recruiting company? And if they are not, would it be possible to explain the situation in such a way as to not tarnish my chances at an interview when I apply directly with the company?

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    In my opinion, the best chance you have is to contact (or try to) the HR and ask for a recruitment specialist and explain your situation and ask for their advice. – MelBurslan Aug 1 '16 at 16:54
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You didn't tarnish your reputation by using this recruiter. You tarnished your chances. A third party recruiter will add a 30% markup (if not more) to any resume he sends in.

And it doesn't matter if you apply in person now, or if you even explain your situation, having received the resume from that recruiter, the company will still be legally obligated to pay that commission to him/her.

In the future, do not go through third party recruiters unless they have a solid reputation to begin with, or unless they're using an email address from the company they're recruiting for (which implies they have an exclusive relationship with that company).

This is not to blame all third party recruiters. Some are absolutely excellent. It's just that the barrier to entry to be a recruiter is so low. All it takes is a telephone line and access to a computer, which means anyone can become a recruiter at the drop of a hat, which also means, the job market is constantly flooded with tens of thousands of bad recruiters (that have no business being recruiters in the first place).

In the future, do not first go through HR either, find an employee/manager to direct your resume to (preferably in the department you want to work in), address it to him/her, and he will forward it to his HR department. I used to work in HR as a student intern, and believe me, those resumes forwarded from an internal employee got special attention, if only for the fact that HR didn't want to be blamed for having lost them, so we had a special checkbox for employee-forwarded resumes when we scanned them into the database, and we also placed them on top of the pile of paper resumes when we forwarded those paper resumes (or their photocopies) to the relevant hiring manager(s).

  • This is a good answer, but it doesn't seem to address the "What if the recruiter never submitted my resume at all?" scenario. – Bobson Aug 2 '16 at 15:52
  • Send your resume in directly. It won't make you look bad at all. It won't even muck anything up (except may be upset the recruiter, because it will make him look bad, but not you). In any company of reasonable size, all the resumes are tracked properly. It will be obvious if this is the second resume they got about you. Why should you be the one to look bad anyway? They're the ones who didn't even send you a confirmation that they received your resume in the first place. Just send your resume and say nothing about it. But if they ask you which resume was first, do tell the truth. – Stephan Branczyk Aug 2 '16 at 17:54
  • But I just want to clarify, my answer is tailored to his question, where the third party recruiter is known to be "unsavory" and has a bad reputation. If the recruiter is a good one, do not make him look bad. Do not burn good recruiters, otherwise they'll never want to work with you again, and good third party recruiters can be extremely hard to find among the sea of bad ones, so do not upset them. – Stephan Branczyk Aug 2 '16 at 18:07
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Just send your CV directly to the company you want to apply to - if they do have a contract with a given recruitment company then they will either accept you anyway (and pay a fee or avoid the fee - either way, its their issue), or direct you to the recruitment company that they use.

Here in the UK, it is unusual for a company to have an exclusive arrangement with a recruitment company (they are generally considered a pest here, a lot of companies will only do direct hire) - what usually ends up happening is that if a recruitment company presents a candidate (even if the presentation is via a cold call method, eg there is no agreement between the company and recruiter) that the company ends up hiring, the recruiter gets the fee regardless. If the company ends up hiring someone the recruiter did not present, the recruiter gets nothing.

There is no need to pussy foot around here - if the company thinks you are tarnished, then you are tarnished regardless of what you do. If you send your CV direct, with a polite covering letter about the position you want to apply for, then the company will either accept it or they won't - if the recruiter needs to get involved, the company will get them involved.

  • Bad advice. Double submissions typically get thrown out. – Xavier J Aug 1 '16 at 21:29
  • @codenoir as someone who has been on the company side of the hiring process, with both direct and recruiter based submissions, can I inquire as to why my experience at multiple companies seems to be "bad advice" and worthy of a downvote? Not once have I seen a submission be thrown out because we have had it multiple times. Do you somehow know something with which can back up your blanket statement covering millions of companies, all of which have their own hiring practices and no industry standard...? – Moo Aug 1 '16 at 21:59
  • Because if there's been time invested with telling one's "story" to a recruiter in order for the recruiter to relay it - and the resume - to a potential employer, it'd be really stupid to turn around and send in a resume with a HIGH risk that both submissions get thrown out. If anything, I'd verify with the recruiter to find out if the submission was actually made. I'd never risk completely wrecking a potential opportunity, as you're suggesting, based on impatience. – Xavier J Aug 1 '16 at 22:04
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I think you are stuck on "unsolicited". Some recruiters will have a direct line with a hiring manager, and said manager may have been waiting on external factors (budget, office space, etc) for quite some time to green-light the act of finding contract OR permanent employees. As this time approaches, the recruiters will start sending resumes. Are they "unsolicited"? No. They're the result of a protracted exchange between recruiter and hiring manager.

If you apply directly AFTER having given the recruiter permission to submit your resume, you're probably going to have both resumes go right into the trash because no company wants to deal with the trouble a double-submission can cause.

It's only been a week. "Stuff" (smile) happens. Managers (and people they need to perform interviews) go on vacation, emergencies happen, and priorities change in no time at all. Rather than focusing on ONLY these opportunities and stressing yourself out, just keep looking! It's always better to have more irons in the fire. You've done as much as you can right now. TRUST, I know the waiting game sucks but I guarantee you that as soon as the smell of real money is in the air, the recruiter will call you back.

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