I'm interested in applying for a job. I found out about this through a recruiter. I told the recruiter not now, but then I talked to a friend who works at the conpany and now I'm reconsidering.

My friend told me there is a bonus for employees who reference others, so obviously he will benefit if I pursue this through him. However, the recruiter did talk to me first; do I owe it to the recruiter to work with him so that he can get his compensation?

A complication: the recruiter said this was a contract-to-hire position. I asked my friend about this, and he suspects that's a way for the recruiter to make more money, because he knows of only one other employee on his team who is not a direct hire. I don't know either way.

In short: Should I work with the recruiter or the friend?

  • I don't know if one way is better than the other based on experience, so I won't leave this as an answer, but which will more actively work towards you getting the job. Will your friend email HR when no one replies after a couple of days (or other tasks that a recruiter is paid to do)? Obviously you want to help your friend, but is he actively going to help or just sit back and receive the benefits. – curt1893 May 19 '17 at 16:59
  • Interesting dilemma. You have other issues to consider on the other side of this as well. What if you do use your friend as the referrer and things don't work out, would it make your friend look bad or maybe ruin your friendship? I personally would use the friend. They are more likely to be helpful to you in the near and not so near future in your personal and professional life. A recruiter is there to "make the sale" and get paid. They have no personal relationship with you and don't give a hoot about anything besides locking in jobs. – Andieisme May 19 '17 at 19:18
  • Are you absolutely sure it's the exact same position? – Xavier J May 20 '17 at 13:55

This is totally up to you. Legally you can go either way just fine. Ethically, you actually turned down the recruiter in good faith and your friend is the one that swayed you to the job...not the recruiter. You should go with your friend on it without feeling bad about not going with the recruiter.

If you had "made a new friend" at the company after the recruiter talked to you, or you were in negotiations already with the recruiter then matters might be different. In this situation though your friend sold you on the job better than the recruiter and deserves the compensation for winning that hire.

  • Great answer. Also, it sounds like going through your friend gets you a direct hire position, whereas the recruiter is doing some shenanigans with contracts first? Definitely go through your friend. – Steve-O May 19 '17 at 21:18
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    @Mutt Beware of giving legal advice... Even if it proves to be legal the recruiter could still make life difficult until the matter is decided. – HorusKol May 19 '17 at 21:18
  • @Horuskol True, I'm not a lawyer, so if there is a legal question talk to a lawyer first, although I have gone around a recruiter before, so long as I wasn't in negotiations with them or their company, there wasn't any issue at all. If you are having them work for you already then it could very likely be an issue, but the persons question didn't seem like that was the case. – mutt May 19 '17 at 22:07
  • @mutt The recruiter can still argue that you did an endrun on them after they "discovered" the position for you. – HorusKol May 20 '17 at 0:49
  • @HorusKol They can claim that, but as it's an existing friend it would be hard to say that. Besides he could have known from the friend first and turned down the recruiter on that specifically because he wasn't going through them. There isn't a leg to stand on unless the company specifically requires the recruitment company to be utilized. Usually they just pay a fee though and then commission if they land one. – mutt May 20 '17 at 2:01

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