Long story short, a recruiter presented me with an opportunity and asked me to take a look. Later on that evening I was out with a couple buddies of mine and one of them works at this firm and knows a manager in that department. He said he'd float my resume and let me know.

The recruiter meanwhile is hounding me for my resume, should I let him know that I've gone through an employee referral instead or keep him in the dark? I'd like to let him know, but I feel my best shot is through an internal referral and don't want him ruining my chances by complaining to the firm.


  • I was thinking along the same thing, they haven't submitted my resume to the firm and it's open on their job board so I doubt they'll be entitled to my post.
    – user66852
    Mar 29, 2017 at 6:14

6 Answers 6


Recruiters get money for getting people hired. The point is your job, not the recruiter's paycheck. Just like a house hunting agent, they get kickbacks, but you don't work for them, they work to get you hired or directly to fill company positions. A polite thing to do would be let them know "you no longer need their help, but thank you for the time." I would avoid mentioning you have an inside track to the company, but instead let them know you found something else, but thank you. If you bring up going another way you might end up hounded alot more (I have been).

The only thing to make sure is that the recruiter agency and the company don't have an agreement that would prevent them hiring someone they are in contact with without going through them for the commission. The only way to find that out is ask...I find asking the company gets a more direct response and asking the recruiter gets a very convoluted uninformative response (I presume cause they still want the commission...)

Maybe other people have some other experiences...I'd like to hear from a recruiter themselves on this one too...if they are on the workplace.


Executive Search Consultant here.

If the recruiter you are dealing with is focused purely on submitting your CV and washing their hands of it, then I would absolutely go with the referral.

However, if they are doing their job properly, they should be able to offer you ongoing support that you will not receive when going directly. This at the very least should include:

  • Extensive knowledge of the interview process and stages.
  • Interview preparation with insights into who you will be meetings and their particular interview style.
  • Support on how you should promote aspects of your profile - they should know the nuances of what the company is looking for - something that is not always clear from recruiting profiles.

Happy to give more insight if needed

EDIT: Also, if they are a good quality recruiter, they should be looking to build a relationship with you. They are holding all the risk here, it is unlikely that they would be able to say much to 'poison the well'. No CV, no deal is the case around here - if you were to submit directly before sharing it with the recruiter then there is no conflict of interest.


The one thing I would suggest you make clear is that the recruiter does not have the right to submit your CV for this role. I would send a direct email to the recruiter saying that you will not be applying for this role through them.

The worst thing that could happen is that your new employer get hassle and potentially legal action because there is dispute over who referred you to the job as your cV is received twice (one from employer referral, one from recruitment company)

Email the recruiter to say "Don't forward my CV for this role as I have already applied for it". This won't affect anything with the company as long as you have clear evidence you have told them not to submit your CV. I have been through this before, it's hassle you don't want.


I would considere it an issue if the intervention of the recruiter had in any way an impact leading you to talk to this friend.


  1. following the contact with the recruiter, you contact a friend you know to meet about the position: you should go with the recruiter.

  2. You were supposed to meet this friend before hand for other reasons. But since you get the information of an opportunity, you bring on the topic to your friend: you should go with the recruiter.

  3. You were suppose to meet this friend before hand for other reasons. Then you received the offer from the recruiter; but you don't mention it to your friend: He brings the topic on: it's a grey aera, could go either way.

I don't think any choice you would make would ruin your chance with this company, but it might impact your relationships with recruiters in the future.

In general it reflects badly on your reputation.


You are under no obligation to the recruiter, unless you specifically agreed to be.

Likewise, the hiring company is under no obligation to the recruiter because the recruiter has never submitted your resume. The fact that you spoke to the recruiter is immaterial, because your conversation cannot be easily quantified or proved. But if you signed an agreement, OR the recruiter delivered your resume by e-mail (a distinctly provable action), then the recruiter would have standing if you and the company decided to squeeze the recruiter out of the deal.

That said, if you have an inside connection, and the recruiter never submitted your resume, you're in the clear. But a flipside to consider is that sometimes recruiters can manuever faster than HR, which is actually a good thing. The inside connection could also be a less direct route. So weigh what you've heard from both parties, and choose the approach with the best advantage. The ball's in your court.


The only bottom line here is which person has the direct line to the manager at your potential employer who is going to actually make the selection.

Recruiters don't bother with candidates unless they have a likely chance of getting that candidate in front of a hiring manager with whom they have a business relationship, usually one of long standing.

A 'buddy' has no responsibility to verify that they know who is doing the hiring before offering to do you a favor in some unrelated social situation.

Your resume has a better chance of 'floating' into the wastebasket than reaching the person your recruiter has already presented you to as a potential candidate.

Don't blow the real opportunity believing there is an inside track... unless of course you find out the hiring manager is you long-lost rich uncle! That you might want to cash in on.

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