How do I navigate recruiter situation?
May 15, 2019 6:56 AM   Subscribe

A recruiter recruited me, but now tells me there's a hiccup where the hiring company won't engage with the recruiter on my candidacy because I'm in their system already, from a position I applied for some years back. What's my next step?

On our initial call, the recruiter did ask if I might be in the company's system from this position or a previous position I may have applied for. I said I might be, but it was a long time ago, maybe 5-10 years. Turned out to be four.

Recruiter texts me and describes the snag, says to sit tight while they work it out. It's only been a couple days, so of course I'm sitting tight, but how long should I wait before applying to the company directly? Seems like they must have an interest (true?) if they're pushing back on the recruiter. I don't want to burn the recruiter, but I also don't want the company to go with another candidate who doesn't have this kind of entanglement.

Next steps?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Work & Money (13 answers total)
 
If I were your position, I'd do as the recruiter asked and just sit tight.

I might also offer (to the recruiter) to reach out to someone at the company and tell them that you only considered applying for this job due to $RECRUITER's intervention, but I wouldn't do that unless the recruiter okayed it.
posted by suetanvil at 7:16 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't read too much into the fact that the recruiter can't move forward; that neither explicitly means that "they're pushing back on the recruiter" other than an automated system, and it doesn't indicate a specific interest in your resume.

At absolute most, you can issue an ultimatum to the recruiter, how much you appreciate their work on your behalf, but if the recruiter is not able to work it out with the company in the next N days then you believe it would make sense for you to move forward with the company independently. N should not be 3, should be at least a week, and you shouldn’t contact the company (zeroing out your 4-year resume lag) without telling the recruiter what’s going on.
posted by aimedwander at 7:27 AM on May 15


I would recommend against contacting the hiring company directly if you are going through a recruiter for this position. IIRC, the company cannot legally hire you directly if you've been introduced to them via a recruiter per the legal agreement between the recruiting company and the hiring company.

This sucks for you, especially if the recruiter isn't advocating for you very hard.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by bryanzera at 8:33 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


It's one thing if you have contacted the company directly within the last 1-2 years - entirely another when it's more than that. Was the position you are now a candidate for, the same one you applied to previously? Doubtful.

So - your skills and experience have changed and grown - yet, that is not reflected in their internal candidate database, but they obviously are incompetent on ever purging that database. And, I bet no one ever contacted you, talked to you or interviewed you - so, how is that a "viable candidate"? To the hiring company you are just one more searchable name that they never did anything with.

It's bunk - but unfortunately, this is the way the parasitic recruitment/client industry has worked for a long time.

The problem is - if the company didn't consider you first, even though you were in their database, no ultimatum to a recruiter is going to make that company start considering you seriously now.

I don't have any answers - the only one in my experience that works, is if the recruiter actually has a close working relationship with the company - then, stick with the recruiter. OTOH - If they are just filling positions at random, they are not going to be able to assist.
posted by jkaczor at 8:34 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I agree that I would give the recruiter a few more days. At this point you aren’t really even a candidate ( the company did not select you from their internal db nor are they accepting your candidacy via the recruiter), and this pushback is unfortunately pretty common in some industries where there is regular engagement with a recruiting agency. The company needs to assess whether they will owe a fee for you if hired, whether it is worth it to them. The likelihood that anyone has actually looked at your credentials at this point is not high —unless you are senior or specialized or something like — that but my experience has been that if the company is interested you will find out one way or the other (either directly from them or the recruiter) and applying directly may just muddy the waters further.

(Caveat: I don’t know your industry or level, and I haven’t worked in recruiting in several years. This is just a scenario I’ve seen many times.)

Good luck!
posted by sm1tten at 8:56 AM on May 15


I would recommend against contacting the hiring company directly if you are going through a recruiter for this position. IIRC, the company cannot legally hire you directly if you've been introduced to them via a recruiter per the legal agreement between the recruiting company and the hiring company.

Because you have already been introduced the company, I would let the recruiter know "Hey I'm going to contact the company directly" and do so.

Fine to give them a few days first, but I wouldn't let this recruiter issue hold you up more than a week.
posted by so fucking future at 9:15 AM on May 15


How much do you want this job? If the recruiter can't work out how to get paid (and it sounds like the company is refusing to pay) they will lose you this job.
posted by w0mbat at 9:34 AM on May 15


IIRC, the company cannot legally hire you directly if you've been introduced to them via a recruiter per the legal agreement between the recruiting company and the hiring company.

...

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.


That has been my experience with the recruiters I've worked with (I'm on the hiring manager side).
posted by Pax at 9:43 AM on May 15


Although I wouldn't have said "cannot legally hire," because it would be breaching a contract, not breaking a law.
posted by Pax at 9:45 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


IIRC, the company cannot legally hire you directly if you've been introduced to them via a recruiter per the legal agreement between the recruiting company and the hiring company.

This is likely only the case if it's a retained search - the recruiter has a contract with the company. Most recruiters are not retained - they are simply middlemen pitching you for a job you could be pitching yourself for.
posted by COD at 2:28 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


This sounds fishy to me. I worked in recruitment for years and yes, there are rules about who introduces who but the off limits period is more like3-6months, never years.

There are several different things that might be going on here but maybe you’ll never know which. For instance, recruiters often contact possible candidates after seeing that Company X has an opening without any agreement with company X or even their knowledge. Once they have you and your cv, they approach company with what they hope is an alluring hook - you.

Maybe your recruiter did that but company x is not that interested in you.
Maybe the recruiter is telling the truth but someone at company x has the wrong end of the stick about the time period? Or the big boss doesn’t want to pay the recruitment fee? Who knows.

I also shy away from the word legal; much of recruitment “rules” are just negotiated agreements and what individual companies decide are their rules.

So if I were you, I would sit tight for a few more days. I would not be worried about burning the recruiter - this kind of thing is a normal hazard of their work and part of what they deal with for the $ they ask for. After a week I’d let them know I’ll be contacting the company directly. If they’re hiring, there is no reason why you can’t apply for that job like anyone else. You don’t owe the recruiter anything. Their job is to get in the way between a hiring manager and a suitable candidate and only get out of the way when there’s money.

Caveat: Australian and British experience.
posted by stellathon at 2:32 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Recruiter with 20+ yrs experience here. A useful answer to 'Next Steps?' requires information you don't - may never - have.

* What is the length/strength of the recruiter's relationship with the client? Is the recruiter operating with a bona fide Job Order, or merely making calls in hopes of luring someone who might fit an online posting and who can be pitched to the employer? (Yeah, they exist. Watch out!)
* What leverage does the recruiter have? (I would be pointing out that, "Sure you have stupidsexyFlanders in your database. So, why didn't you make the call that got this ball rolling?)
* Will the recruiter discount a standard placement fee on the 'half-a-loaf' theory?

As others have suggested, you should sit tight. At the same time, though, let the recruiter know I really appreciate your letting me know about this job. It sounds like something I'd be very interested in. I know you're working out this snag. What is the time frame you expect for getting it handled?

At least you'll have more information than you have now.

A different question to ask yourself, though: How do you feel about going to work for an employer who is so cheap as to dig back four years in search of an excuse not to pay this recruiter?
posted by John Borrowman at 10:44 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


A different question to ask yourself, though: How do you feel about going to work for an employer who is so cheap as to dig back four years in search of an excuse not to pay this recruiter?

Unfortunately, some of the very best places to work are cheap in this regard, so that is not a useful filter.
posted by w0mbat at 9:34 AM on May 17


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