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Can you fire a recruiter that is working with you?

Posted on 22 December 2021

Can you fire a recruiter that is working with you?

​5-minute read


If you discuss the topic of working with a recruiter or with a group of people, the chances are you will hear mixed responses with some firmly against the idea and others firmly for. There are arguments both for and against, but it really does depend on your own personal situation and if you feel that a recruiter can truly bring value to your search.


Judging by the header of this article, we are not interested in the benefits today, instead, we want to answer a question that was posed to us recently: Can you fire a recruiter that is working with you?


Throughout this article, we will address this question from the perspective of an applicant/job seeker. It might be your first-time exploring working with a recruiter, or you might have had a bad experience in the past and want to have an insurance policy so to speak, whatever the situation, the intention is that you come away from this article fully aware of the answer to this question.


Engaging with the right partner

It is important to note from the off that an external recruiting partner (not an in-house talent team) represent you. In the exact same way, you represent your company, you would want to ensure that you give off the best possible impression, a recruitment partner should be doing the same on your behalf.

Therefore, they need to be on your side, consulting and educating about the market, opportunity and process. To ensure you have a positive recruiting experience with a recruiter, this first interaction is one of the most important judgement calls you can make.

It isn’t good enough for a recruiter to give a half-arsed pitch with little information and expect you to make a big career decision from that. You need to come away from the first call/meeting with a strong feeling that this individual has your best interests at heart, and if they do not, then you simply do not engage and allow them to represent (work) with you.

It should feel like a true partnership built on mutual trust and not a ‘take scenario’.


Reviewing if things are going astray

Let’s assume you opted to work with a particular recruiter as from the first interaction you had a positive impression. However, as the process progresses their communication or support appears to slow or stop altogether.

This is where you must start the process of review. Remember, you believed in the first instance that this recruiter was right for you, or that they could bring you value, so before making any rash decision about exploring other options, the review stage will help peel back the layers to understand why something has changed regarding your support.

We would advise that you arrange a meeting with your recruiter in which you can get a status update on live processes and to have a platform in which you can voice your opinions about recent changes in communication/support.

Head into this conversation from a standpoint of understanding what is happening. It might be that the recruiter is personally busy and has ‘dropped the ball’ so to speak, it could be that traction for your profile was not as expected or the process has unexpectedly stalled. These are all valid reasons which give you grounds to action the next step in the process.


Acting with information

Having discussed with your recruiter why things have changed since your first interaction, you can make an informed decision as to which course of action to take.

If you come away from the conversation with a clear roadmap from the recruiter and are aware of what they are doing for you by way of value-added, then we would suggest sticking with them for a little longer and to see how the searches conclude.

If on the other hand, you have a change in perception and no longer believe they are looking out for you, then to answer the original question rather bluntly, yes, yes you can 'fire' your recruiter.

We appreciate you never truly ‘employed’ them with a contract, so the statement might seem a little dramatic but you can relieve them of their services towards you. To do this, you have a few options to consider:


1)     Complete stoppage

2)     Exploration of other partners


A complete stoppage is the stricter approach. You simply inform your recruiting partner that you are no longer interested in working with them and that you kindly request they remove your information from their system (should you wish to not be contacted in the future). This will help you not receive unsolicited communication but might mean in the future you miss out on other opportunities they might have.

Exploring other partners simply means that you inform them you will speak with other recruiters and explore options outside of their client universe.


Things to consider

Whatever option you decide to go down, we highly recommend limiting your recruiting partners from the off, that way you spend less time covering the same information and you can get to know one or two agents in detail.

On top of this, remember this is your career and work with the agent who you feel is better suited to add value to you, ask them questions about their working style and don’t settle for crap overviews of companies.

Lastly, if you do ‘fire’ a recruiter, stay professional and explain your reasoning. Feedback is key, and yours can help the next person have a better experience with that recruiter.


We respect this is a question not usually answered but one we felt needed to. The fact that one person has asked us, means others are likely thinking about it. Therefore as always, if you believe this article could help someone in your network, we would be grateful if you could share it with them.

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