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I work as a contractor with one full-time client, and I also have an S-Corp that I funnel my freelance work through via subcontracting and delegation.

I get a lot of phone calls and LinkedIn messages from recruiters and managers, and I'm realizing that the opportunity cost of turning these people down is turning out to be greater than the wage my current gig pays.

Now: I realize that this is not exactly in external recruiter's best interest, so I want to be clear that I'm not asking how to get a lead from a recuiter and then "ditch the middle man." I just feel like this is a great opportunity to at least ask the question:

"I don't have the capacity to come work for you, but would you consider hiring my firm as a vendor?"

Does anybody have experience navigating these tricky waters? I've asked around and one of the better suggestions I received was to respond to a soliciation with an email like this:

"Thanks for reaching out! I'm currently accepting work through my company, [name]. Let's schedule a call to see if its a good fit."

To me, that seems good - it's succint, positive, and has an action item built into it. But of course, I'm asking, so I'm open to any and all suggestions and wisdom.

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You answered yourself, that second response has everything. It is short, clear, friendly. If they are interested, they can come back to you. If the offer seems interesting, I might go little further myself - I would call them first. The email from headhunter will most likely contain phone number, so why not to proceed proactively. Only if I couldnt reach that person by phone, I would drop that email as a followup (kind of).

"Thanks for reaching out! I'm currently accepting work through my company, [name]. I wasn't able to reach you via phone, so let's schedule a call at a date and time that suits us both to see if its a good fit."

  • Thanks for responding. I spent some time on the phone with a recruiter yesterday asking about the "corp-to-corp" arrangement and what that looks like. It sounds interesting, especially if I have developers working under me that I can staff up and provide to the recruiting agency, with me as the "one wringable neck." That seems like it might be the way to go with recruiters. When you say that the email from the headhunter will most likely contain a phone number, do you mean the headhunter's phone number or their clients? – user10 Jun 13 '13 at 14:14
  • I definitely meant theirs (headhunters). I dont believe someone would give you the opportunity to cut out the middleman on a silver plate (not mentioning it is not ethical)... – Erchi Jun 13 '13 at 14:45
  • Right, right. Just making sure. – user10 Jun 13 '13 at 16:31

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