This is a recent conversation I had in an interview & like many I’ve had before…

Big Umbrella:  Your experience sounds great, so which organisations have you applied to (or been put forward to by an agency)?

Candidate:  Well, I spoke with Recruiter Y a while ago & they were going to put me forward to a few companies but wouldn’t tell me which ones

Big Umbrella:  Ok no problem – do you know which locations?  Any information about the roles?

Candidate:  I’m sorry, no

Imagine this…

  • Company A is a client of Big Umbrella’s & we have been engaged to recruit one of their roles
  • We source a strong candidate, run through an interview, the role, organisation, put together a candidate profile & refer the candidate to Company A
  • As luck would have it, Company A received this candidate’s CV six months ago from Recruiter Y, without the candidate’s knowledge
  • Additionally, while Company A has agreed terms with Recruiter Y from some time ago, they had not been engaged to recruit for a specific role & had “floated” the candidate CV to their internal recruitment team

Without getting into the nitty-gritty of TOBs, these situations do arise on occasion.  And for the most part, our great relationships with our clients facilitate a swift & amicable solution.

Working in a close-knit industry, we are aware of many of our competitor’s clients & no doubt, vice versa.  And inevitably, on occasion we have mutual clients, so how can we navigate this?


  • Focus your job search on a select number of roles that you are you truly interested in
  • Keep a record of the organisations you apply to
  • Feel free to ask an agency for your approval to send your CV to their clients. If they refuse to tell you where they’re sending your CV, I would recommend entrusting your job search & personal information with another agent


  • We have a responsibility to our candidates & clients to effectively manage stakeholders in the recruitment process
  • I appreciate you would prefer not to divulge the organisations you are working with (or floating candidates to)
  • However, for the benefit of all involved, please let candidates know which organisations you’re sending their CVs to & ask for confidentiality. If you engage the candidate (or client) in the process well enough, they may just work with you exclusively


  • Please keep a record of candidate applications you receive directly or via an agency
  • In the event of a double-up, nip it in the bud & advise the agencies as soon as possible (having clear terms & good relationships with your suppliers will be especially valuable in this instance)
  • Endeavour to ensure that the candidate is treated well by both agencies & the situation doesn’t reflect poorly on your organisation, ultimately allowing you to consider the candidate for a role with your team.
  • Bonus points for building a trusted & exclusive relationship with one agency 😉

Sally West

Principal Consultant