Go behind recruiter's back?

Hello everyone, I have an ethical question on which your feedback would be very much appreciated. I found a job that was posted by a recruiter that I am very interested in and I believe my background suits very well. I contacted the recruiter (which by chance I dealt with briefly about five years ago) and after disclosing which company the position was for, made me even more interested in the position and he said that he would submit my resume for them to review. Long story short, this was about a week ago and the only feedback was that he has not heard the final word from this employer yet. That being said, I really don’t believe that he is doing a good job of trying to market me for the position and I believe that if I were to contact the hiring manager directly, I would at least be able to get an interview, which brings me to my question: Is it wrong of me to go behind my recruiter’s back and contact an employer to try to get a position that he has submitted my resume for? Again, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Best, TheChad

Not only is it wrong, but the company would still have the legal liability of having to pay the headhunter if you join the firm, so they would face potential litigation for trying to hire you behind their back. I once found an internal contact at a company I applied to through a headhunter; I called the headhunter up and asked how the process was going and she said that they hadn’t responded yet, so I told her I had a contact in the firm and asked if it would be ok for me to contact them directly to help my candidacy and she said yes. Of course my contact was the CEO of the firm; I’m not sure if she would’ve been as excited if I was just contacting, say an intern, unless it was a Fidelity intern.

I went through a similar situation. Usually, once a recruiter sends the company your resume he technically found you. This might not be an issue if the company does not have a contract with the recruiter. I once had two recruiters submit my resume for the same job and the employer accidentally called the second recruiter instead of the first. This caused problems and I think it eventually cost me the job. I think it is best to avoid recruiters in this market, but I am sure there are others out there who would disagree. Remember, the company has to pay a fee if they hire you if you were referred by a recruiter.

I think a better tack initially would be to contact the recruiter again and explain your concerns. Perhaps suggest you meet for lunch if that’s convenient for you. Explain how much you are interested in this job, why you think you are suitable for it and emphasise that if they are not willing to push you as hard as they can for the position, you would like to contact the firm directly.

I like Carson’s approach. The issue is that most recruiters are difficult to get a hold of unless you are paying their bills. So getting them to even agree to lunch is difficult at best. I take that back – unless the recruiters cut is going to be huge (i.e. a difficult to locate employee) they aren’t going to want to talk to you.

I appreciate the advice, I assumed that this was the case but wanted to see if there was anyone else who has had similar experiences. I will give the recruiter a call this week and see if I can get him out to lunch to go over my concerns. Best, TheChad

Dude I hate to tell you this but unless you live in Calgary where headhunters get like one job lead every 7 months he’s not going to waste his time going out to lunch with you. The one and only time I’ve ever gone out with a headhunter is when one took me out for landing a job that he sent me in for.

Also noteworthy is that there’s an expiration to the recruiter’s claim on introducing you.

Not to threadjack, but do headhunters really have a place in the world anymore? I’ve NEVER had any luck despite spending time with a half a dozen recruiters. With sites like Craigslist and Monster, do recruiters even belong? Can we send them to the island of misfits along with the abacus and typewriter?

I think that headhunters are mainly interested in the high compensation positions. At those levels still make a lot of sense because both the candidates and firms tend to be really careful about the confidentiality issue: some companies don’t want to make public its search for their higher positions, and those candidates don’t want to send their resumes like spam through a career website. At high compensation levels, I guess that headhunters really care about their network in the industries they serve, so when a new position is available they can refer a qualified candidate. For instance, I’m an easily replaceable dude, so maybe a headhunter doesn’t have an incentive to be friends with me, lol.

TheChad, I’ve done this before and have absolutely no regrets. Just to share my experience: A recruiter called me up for a short chat about an entry-level position at a boutique PE fund house. Our little chat went very well and based on the situation (qualifications, work experience, market situation, talking with others in the same field) I indicated my interest to be considered for an Associate (not Analyst) position at a pay of $x per month. However she firmly told me that I was only qualified for an Analyst position at $0.7x per month salary. I was pretty surprised by her prelim indication and I felt like she was trying to lower my expectations to secure for herself a “quick win” with the PE fund house. Anyway, towards the end she made a Freudian slip and revealed the name of the company. As luck might have it, a friend worked there and I simple made a call and forwarded my resume. 3 weeks and an interview later, I was offered an Associate position at $1.2x with benefits etc. To end the story, that recruiter did not follow-up after our little chat - I do not think that she had any mandate with that company let alone any idea about their hiring requirements. Afterall recruiters get paid by the hiring company not job seeker… they do not work for YOU. I do not believe that they will appreciate “loyalty” by job seekers. Only out to line their pockets…

^Except if they did have an agreement in place with the company and the company hired you behind the headhunter’s back, and the headhunter found out it was because you sent in a resume behind their back, then both you and the company would be subject to litigation.

Captain: I don’t think such arrangements are common in Asia. I understand that this is more prevalent for American MNCs operating in Asia… local shops don’t practise this - usually it is “guan xi” (who you know) that gets you into the door. Recruiters play a rather secondary role in hiring especially at the entry and mid level.

I cannot imagine the person hired being subject to anything unless there was some sort of contractual agreement with the recruiter. When I worked with mine there was no such agreement- therefor nothing to break. It would be a jerky move so you would be burning bridges with said recruiter (who may have relationships with many a firms)… but I doubt they could pursue any sort of claims against the individual. Other story fro the company. I do know that if a recruiter is contracted by the company they also cannot headhunt out of that company.

You guys are a bunch of corporate d-bags. Do what you want and stop caring what some high school flunkie recruiter thinks who is only blocking the way for the best person for the job.