I was contacted by a recruiter for a role in a company. Everything went well, they offered me X and I told the recruiter that my minimal requirement would be X + 20%. His suggestion was to counteroffer with X + 50%, I agreed - this is very high for the position and I wasn't expecting a positive outcome, more like they meet in the middle. Also the recruiter sounded pretty confident that he'll get me that.

Now as it stands, the company's last stretch was X + 10% and they directly contacted me via email and offered that. As me being inexperienced with recruiters, I accepted, but then I realised that I may have screwed him up. So I followed up with them and called to make sure it is still going through him - the company told me that they'll sort this out.

The company is this recruiter's client, I have not signed a written agreement with the recruiter to represent me. I'm pretty sure he has contract with them as they are on his site. I realise my act of accepting was unethical, but this was due to my inexperience. I honestly thought that they've discussed it with him to propose me directly. What should I've done instead - if I've contacted the recruited, then I screw up the company, or the other way around?

What should I do now? I don't want to screw up the recruiter. I haven't heard from him today when this happened. What should I tell the recruiter when he calls?

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    I flagged your other question/user for a moderator to look at. You should have been able to delete the question. You should not have had to create a new user and a new question.
    – Neo
    Mar 17, 2017 at 18:21
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    I don't see how it was unethical on your part. You were made an offer by the company and accepted. It may have been unethical for the company to do an end-around on the recruiter to avoid paying recruiter fees, but unless you signed a contract with the recruiter to only accept offers through him, I don't see the problem here (unless you just wanted to stick with him to try and get the higher rate)
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 17, 2017 at 21:43

4 Answers 4


Take the job and be happy with your new opportunity, its up to the recruiter to get paid by the company not you.

Maybe the recruiter doesn't have a contract with the company, in which case the company is not required to pay the recruiter. Either way, that falls squarely into the "not your problem" bucket.

Tell the recruiter that they need to contact the company and leave it at that, its not your problem to solve. The recruiter should have the appropriate contracts in place to protect themselves.


Exactly, It is none of your business.

My colleague had been through the same situation before. He was shortlisted by the recruiter. The recruiter did send us his portfolio and a short summary on his "technical test". There was issue with the recruiter and my HR had to directly contacted him and placed an offer. So this might also be an issue.

Or As @Mister suggested, it could be that. Or it could be that the company is in rush of getting the job position filled.

FYI: Going through a recruiter company is a pain, a lot of pain. But indeed they have good company contacts.

FYI: the recruiter gets some percentage of the successful hire. So if you get X + 50% then there are high chances that he/she will get around 20% of the total salary. And believe me, X + 50% is nearly impossible.

Hope this helps.

  • I prefer recruiters just for the contacts aspects, to be honest. And my last X was far over what I was getting paid previously (about...um...20K more, which was around 50%, plus or minus) and I thought they'd never bite. But they did. And I was happy. ^_^ Mar 17, 2017 at 18:36
  • @SliderBlackrose Thanks for the share. Interesting! I did not know about that. I believe it would that the recruiter knew the budget, so he/she could help you get higher. Lucky to have such honest recruiter.
    – Smit
    Mar 17, 2017 at 19:03

If you have no agreement directly with the recruiter then you are allowed to directly negotiate with the company.

This is between the recruiter and the company. They may or may not have a contract in place. The company may plan on paying the recruiter but did not want to deal with them.

If the recruiter calls you then I think you should fess up and tell him you accepted an offer directly from the company. You don't need to tell him the amount.


You should never speak to the company except through the recruiter. So you did wrong there. And so did the company; "contract" or not if you came to them individually they can deal with you individually, if you come to them through an agent they deal with the agent. Any company/HR knows that doing this is wrong and it's a bit of a strike against them that they would do it - it is very uncustomary. Your recruiter will most likely drop you and not do business with you again and certainly won't with that company.

Now that the deed is done, however, you need to contact the recruiter immediately and be honest. "They called me with an offer, I was taken aback and didn't know if they had talked to you or what. I said yes in the heat of the moment but then immediately realized I should have had them talk to you. What should we do?" By finding out from you and understanding you made a mistake and didn't deliberately torpedo them, you are much more likely to maintain good relationships out of this.

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