I recently got a job through a recruiter. Everything has been going well and I've been completing my tasks on time or before.

The recruiter who got me the role is working with my employer on a part time basis. He's responsible for hiring over half of the team, and occasionally pops in to the office.

Yesterday he sent me over a contract which has some weird clauses. For example, it states I have to keep him informed of any technical solutions I make during my time at the company, technical details and such. Also, that he partially owns the product or software that I will make for the company. I find this absolutely absurd and in my employers contract it has the typical terms such as "any software you make during your time here is company property, etc".

Since I do not want to sign it, I'm thinking of approaching my line manager about this additional contract and discuss what next steps should be taken.

What would be the best approach in this situation?


I told my Line Manager of the situation and he said not to sign anything as this behaviour was very unusual. Since then the matter has been escalated, my company will be severing ties with this particular recruiter. Thank you everyone who responded.

  • 91
    Don't sign it and wait and see what random threats he makes.
    – user42272
    Mar 23, 2017 at 16:18
  • 197
    Pass it to your manager. Let them sort this out. Sign nothing.
    – Snowlockk
    Mar 23, 2017 at 16:20
  • 120
    You should inform your manager immediately. The recruiter might try the same trick on your colleagues.
    – rath
    Mar 23, 2017 at 16:32
  • 76
    Are you absolutely sure you know who your employer is? Is it possible that you actually do work for the recruiter's company and are farmed out as a staff augmentee? In any case, yes, ask your line manager.
    – brian_o
    Mar 23, 2017 at 18:55
  • 29
    Best approach is to sign over your intellectual property rights to me instead that way you can turn him down because you don't have what he is requesting. Problem solved?
    – Myles
    Mar 23, 2017 at 20:44

8 Answers 8


First, do not sign anything. You should have signed any relevant paperwork before the recruiter got you the job...why would they have more for you now that the job is secured?

Second, do not sign anything. Yes, two points to very much reinforce the point. At this point you have signed paperwork with the company in question and the recruiter is out of the picture. As an analogy, you've bought the house and closed, the realtor has nothing else to do with the purchase, it's between you and the bank.

As @Snowlockk stated, give this to your manager or (more ideally, as it is their business) the HR personnel or hiring coordinator at the office and let them deal with the recruiter's demands, as the recruiter demand of being informed of technical solutions made may very well be in direct conflict of any possible non-disclosure you signed with the company. The company needs to know that this person is trying to secure proprietary information from the people he's placing in their company.

  • 27
    As was mentioned elsewhere, keep a copy for your personal records before taking this to your manager. CYA in case the papers disappear somewhere up the chain and the situation comes back to haunt you.
    – Rozwel
    Mar 24, 2017 at 21:34
  • 31
    Third, do not sign anything.
    – crthompson
    Mar 25, 2017 at 4:04

What would be the best approach in this situation?

Approach your line manager about this additional contract since you do not want to sign it and discuss what next steps should be taken.

You have been hired. You don't need to sign anything for the recruiter if you don't want to do so.

it states I have to keep him informed of any technical solutions I make during my time at the company, technical details and all. Also that he partially owns the product or software that I will make for the company

That is all nonsense.

Either just toss it in the trash and tell the recruiter to go away, or pass it by your boss and ask what is up with that.

  • 56
    I'll be fascinated to see what your company thinks about this - I bet they think THEY own the stuff they are paying you to create. In which case this recruiter is trying to STEAL from them. Mar 23, 2017 at 16:35
  • 40
    Never toss it in the trash if there is the slight chance, and there is, that you might have to discuss this with anyone, like your new manager. If somehow the recruiter were to deny this you would need having those documents. And do not pass it to your boss without making a copy. -1, very bad advice. Mar 23, 2017 at 18:37
  • 5
    One of my favorite tricks is to find a lawyer and have him file the demand. Often, When something suspect like this is happening, the attorney will gladly file it for you. No cost. Why do I say this? Because filing a document with an attorney is an important step and informs the recruiter that the attorney not only has a copy of the demand, he has filed it for future reference. Copy any correspondence with the recruiter to the attorney for file including e-mails and make sure the recruiter is aware of this. This usually scares the boogy-snots out of anyone who is trying to scam you.
    – closetnoc
    Mar 23, 2017 at 23:44
  • 2
    @Brandin I feel like it wouldn't be binding, but IANAL. I don't see how that contract would have consideration though, OP gets nothing in return from the recruiter as far as I can tell. It also steps into some weird area since I don't see how they could say the recruiter has a portion of what is produced, while the company should own it all anyways. This is assuming OP wasn't actually hired by the recruiter and located with that other company.
    – JMac
    Mar 24, 2017 at 12:53
  • 1
    @JMac You can't sign over something you don't own: the OP has already signed over the rights to any work; and the company secrets never belonged to the OP it the first place.
    – employee-X
    Mar 24, 2017 at 18:31

First, make a copy for your records.

Discussing behavior like this without a backup copy of your evidence that it happened is unnecessarily dangerous. Then I would take it up with the appropriate person at the company I was working for (either my team lead or my manager or The Boss or HR, probably).


The answer is no. You do not work for the recruiter.

  • 6
    This right here is the most important thing to remember. The recruiter works for the company just like you do. Any agreement between the recruiter and the company is their business and has nothing to do with you. The recruiter cannot force you to sign anything. I would bring the paperwork by the company's legal department, your manager, or your company's HR department. This sounds shady as hell though and everyone here is unanimous in that statement.
    – Pork Pants
    Mar 23, 2017 at 17:52

Definitely do not sign anything and liaise with your manager and the HR about this ASAP. This is basically industrial espionage and a very serious security incident that will probably trigger large investigation.

HOWEVER! It may be just my perverted mind but I can even imagine this to be some kind of a sick test on the part of the company to see whether you are upholding their contract and whether you are able to keep their trade secrets - i.e. if you sign, the recruiter will pass the document to your manager/HR and they will terminate you on the basis of contract breach. Also if this were the case, you might be frowned upon even if you do not sign anything but tell no one about the incident (you know somebody actively trying to steal company intellectual property and do nothing? WTH! terminate immediately!).

  • That did cross my mind too.
    – catfood
    Mar 24, 2017 at 16:40
  • 3
    I'd leave the company that does those kinds of tests.
    – svavil
    Mar 24, 2017 at 23:07
  • 1
    @svavil - understandable, but I can imagine this to be a completely ok small company that just has one sick person in its small HR. In any case, for the described situation there is only one way to proceed regardless of whether this is a test or real situation.
    – Eleshar
    Mar 26, 2017 at 11:25
  1. Don't sign without consulting your manager. (As others has already mentioned, so I won't motivate any more why)
  2. In addition. What do you get out of it? If someone hands you a contract to sign there should be something for you in the other end as well.
  • Yes. A contract isn't valid unless there is a "consideration" in both directions. "I won't send Uncle Vinnie with his baseball bat" doesn't really cut it, in legal terms.
    – Floris
    Mar 26, 2017 at 23:29

Simply tell him that you cannot sign the contract as it asks you to give him something that is not yours to give. You already signed a contract giving all your work product to your employer, so you cannot agree to him having any ownership. It simply is not yours to give.

If he still thinks you need to assign it, give him three conditions:

  1. He gets you written approval from your current employer.
  2. He compensates you in some way for what he's asking you to give him.
  3. He covers your legal expenses in having the contract reviewed.

Remind him that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever that you want from him, so absolutely no reason for you to give him something that he wants from you. You're already employed and you've already signed a contract with your employer. If he was going to ask for this all along, he has no excuse for not telling you beforehand. If this is something new that he's asking from you that he wasn't going to ask from you before, he should come up with something new that he's offering you that he wasn't going to offer you before. Presumably, you both felt the deal was fair before, so how can it still be fair if he's asking for something else from you?

  • 11
    Going along with it (or even pretending to) is dangerous. If the recruiter IS up to something shady, he's probably not above lying about having the company's permission. He MAY even be prepared to forge documentation to support such lies. Better to give the recruiter a flat NO, as others have suggested, and let the company figure out what's going on. If nothing else, they need to know he's doing this, because he may also be doing it to others he recruited.
    – Steve-O
    Mar 23, 2017 at 20:44
  • @Steve-O If he's lying and prepared to forge documents to support those lies, best to let him do it, IMO. Mar 23, 2017 at 20:56
  • 3
    There is no reason for OP to get involved in legally questionable nonsense just so he can watch the recruiter shoot himself in the foot. If he wants to forge documents he can do it on his own time without OP's involvement or encouragement. Mar 24, 2017 at 3:25
  • 15
    Do not negotiate with the recruiter. Period. Bad advice here. As all the other answers state, take this to your manager.
    – user45590
    Mar 24, 2017 at 10:00
  • 3
    @DavidSchwartz No! If he's lying and prepared to forge documents to support those lies, best to keep well out of the way. If the recruiter gets you to sign a contract based on lies and forgeries, the contract is invalid but you have to convince people that it's invalid. That means you have to convince people that the lies were lies and the forgeries were forgeries. That's a heck of a lot of work for no gain, which could be avoided simply by refusing to sign the contract in the first place. Mar 25, 2017 at 11:49

If this is a recruiter - then once you are hired on they are out of the picture. The recruiter works for the company to place people . Anything beyond that is between him and the company. Once you're hired, stuff with you and the company is just that, between you two. If any paperwork is needed (which should have already been done...but sometimes thing lag), it typically comes from your manager and/or HR. This sounds highly suspect. If he's not signing your paycheck...I would tell him to forget it.

  • 2
    The recruiter is working part-time, and could conceivably have a valid reason to continue interacting with people they were responsible for getting onboard. Saying they should ignore the recruiter doesn't solve the problem, which is that original asker has no clue whether this is legitimate, and actively prevents them from finding out.
    – user53718
    Mar 25, 2017 at 6:36

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