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What to do when you get the same CV from different recruiters

It’s inevitable that at some point during a recruitment process you will receive details about the same candidate from two or more different agencies. While this situation can be a little awkward, there’s no obligation to choose the first one that lands in your inbox.

If anything, the whole exercise can serve as an opportune reminder about the benefits of engaging reputable recruiters who strive to meet your individual needs while kicking the cowboys to the curb, writes Daniel Clifton, CEO at Paramount Recruitment and REC Life Sciences board member.

Competition between recruiters operating in the life sciences sector is intense, as rising demand from a growing industry and a shortage of skilled candidates fuels professional rivalry. For clients, this means that for every vacancy they advertise, they could have interest from several recruitment agencies, which can be problematic if these different recruiters claim to represent the same candidate.

If you find yourself in the unenviable situation of receiving someone’s details from multiple sources, follow these five golden rules to ensure you get the talent you want, from an agency you want to work with:

1. Don’t judge a recruiter on the speed in which they send you a CV
A good recruitment agency will take time to research the market, speak to candidates about their career aspirations and check what their views are about your business and your vacancy before submitting any details to you.  So if the CV of a candidate arrives in your inbox a little too quickly, it may be too good to be true – i.e. that recruiter hasn’t spoken to the candidate about your job opening or even got their consent to send their details over.

2. Find out whether the candidate has been pre-screened.
The idea behind getting external support with your recruitment process is to help filter out the noise and ensure you only see the crème de la crème of the talent pool. A good recruitment agency will pre-screen candidates to ensure they are a good match for your organisation in terms of their skills, career goals, personality etc so don’t be afraid to challenge a recruiter and find out what work they’ve done on your behalf prior to pinging over that CV.

3. Has the recruiter been briefed on your company/the vacancy or is this CV being sent speculatively?
If it’s the latter, it’s difficult to see how the recruiter will have properly represented you, your company and the job role to the potential candidate. Prioritise CVs from your preferred recruitment agencies as you know they understand you and your company and will be better placed to shortlist people that will fit into your team. After all, if you hire candidates who aren’t a good fit, they won’t stay.
4. Check the recruiter’s credentials.

If you receive a CV from a recruiter you haven’t worked with before and you are tempted to go with them, it pays to do a little due diligence to ensure they are a reputable company before you respond. Are they members of a professional recruitment organisation such as the REC? If they are, they will be bound to a professional code of conduct and you can be assured that your dealings with them will be transparent and there will be no hidden surprises.

5. If a recruiter demands a fee for being first past the post, walk away!
Making a proper introduction to a candidate takes more than just sending a CV and legally speaking, you are not obliged to pay the first agency that sends you a person’s details should you want to hire them. In order to claim an ‘introduction fee’ an agency must demonstrate the active role they have played in facilitating that candidate’s engagement by the company – for example, arranging interviews, briefing the candidate, getting feedback, liaising between the client and candidate to agree terms etc

Essentially, a good recruiter does more than simply send out CVs. They are a partner to your organisation with a good understanding of your business, your objectives and the talent that will help you achieve those goals. There are unfortunately agencies out there who cut the corners to get ahead, placing sales targets ahead of the needs of a client or candidate. So invest your time in a select number of specialist recruiters that will act in your best interests and banish the cowboys to the wild west.

To speak to a recruiter who will put you and your business first, contact Daniel on 0121 616 3406 or email

Daniel Clifton
Paramount Recruitment Ltd
+44 (0)121 616 3406

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26th June

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