Miserable Commuter Is Stuck Between a Recruiter and a Hard Place

It's Monday and I've spent half the day on the phone with a Board of Accountancy robot so you don't get anything creative here today, sorry. Just the usual spiel about blah blah career problems blah blah your sucky life blah blah email us for advice.

Hi Adrienne!

As a faithful reader of GC, I have a question on the recruiting process that I hope you and the readers can assist with or at least use for mocking purposes.  Recently I was approached by a recruiter for what looks like a great position. It pays a good 10k more base pay and would be 30 minutes away versus the 2 hours I currently spend trekking to work.  I'm pretty desperate to put an end to this commuting hell so this could be a god send.  The thing is the HR manager at that firm already approached me about this role 2 weeks ago on LinkedIn.  I haven't given either party an answer yet and I'm wondering how to proceed.

Should I keep going through the recruiter and put in an application or email the HR manager back directly?  My thoughts are maybe I could get a better deal negotiating with the company directly but I really have no idea.  Since jobs like this don't usually open up in my area that often, I'm a little freaked about blowing it and could really use some advice.

Thanks,

Desperate Commuter

I really don't even have to write much here and thankfully don't get paid by the word anyway so let's keep this short and sweet: do not use the recruiter. I REPEAT: DO NOT USE THE RECRUITER.

Now, let's slap some more words on this thing. Without knowing exactly what the HR manager said to you and why, you should play that angle first before you even consider entertaining the recruiter, which you save for desperate times. Don't explicitly tell the recruiter to go to hell or anything, a polite response will do (which, for the record, you should have given the HR manager by now as well). Be warned, however, that responding to a recruiter in any shape or form is usually the same as unsubscribing to spam emails, it only confirms you exist and brings on more spam.

As you probably already know, the recruiter gets a cut from the firm if you're hired so it is in their best interest to get you the job. But if the HR manager is already interested in you, why would you bother letting someone else get a cut?

Recruiters are really useful when you have no leads and need someone to do the work for you. You already seem to have an in at the firm so it would not make any sense to use the recruiter. None. As long as you're halfway smart and have a decent résumé, you can do this on your own and not blow it, the recruiter probably doesn't have any secret magic weapon in this case except the one tool all recruiters have in their toolbag: persistence.

That said, speak to the HR manager first. It could be they are obnoxious too and just spamming a wide range of potentials on LinkedIn to appear busy. The concerning part here is that two weeks have gone by since they reached out and if you let them sit all this time without even a courtesy response, they may have already found their applicant. But it's worth a shot. If they write back to say you're too late and suck, you can always go crawling back to the recruiter.

And if you've already blown it, hopefully this inspires you to start looking for other opportunities a bit closer to home or, at a minimum, a new place closer to work. Good luck!

p.s. the job probably sucks. If it were that great, the firm wouldn't need BOTH a recruiter and HR on it pestering people, it would be filled. Just food for thought.

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