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Don't Let Cowboys Control Your Future: Recruiters & Your Privacy

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by Lisa Johnson

over 3 years ago

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Express permission. I want you to look at that statement and burn it into your brain.  Under privacy laws, recruitment consultants are required to obtain your express permission to send your details to a third party.

What is it?

Express permission is where you have been given ALL the relevant details, which ensures that you understand WHO is going to be seeing your details, WHY they are seeing them and, most importantly, WHAT FOR.  This means you need to know:

  • The name of the organisation and the name of the person who will be receiving your resume
  • Why they are entitled to see that information; and
  • For what specific reason/job you are being represented

Some recruiters are notorious for holding back information, being vague, or, worse yet, trying to get your 'blanket' approval to send your resume to every Tom, Dick and Harry on planet Earth.  It doesn’t work that way.  They NEED to give you the information and if they won’t, they need to tell you why.

Example of a good ‘permission’ call:

Permission calls recruiter'Hello James. This is Lisa from people2people. A new opportunity has just opened up with Google, based in North Ryde. This is a permanent role for a senior assistant accountant reporting to Jane Smith, the Financial Accountant.  It's a bit of a challenge really, because things are in a bit of a mess and the initial focus will be on reconciliations using SAP.  I know you have used SAP extensively in the past, and I wondered if you would be interested in seeing the job description.  If you are interested, I would be very keen to represent your  resume to Jane this afternoon.  What are your thoughts?'

As a jobseeker, you now have the opportunity to ask more questions, to obtain the job spec, and to really have an understanding of the job on offer before you agree to your resume being forwarded on your behalf.  When you have asked all the questions you need and feel comfortable that this is an appropriate opportunity, then – and only then –should you give your permission for the agency to represent you.

Example of a poor ‘permission’ call:

 'Hello James.  A new role has come in for a senior assistant accountant with one of my clients, and I just wanted to let you know that I am sending your resume across for it.  I will give you a call when I get some feedback, yeah?'

Recruiters and privacy

You can see in this example that, although you know that there is a senior assistant accountant vacancy somewhere and that the consultant has already flicked your resume across to the client, you really have NO idea where the role is, who it is with or anything at all about the job.  You have no idea if it's a job you want to do or if it's a company you want to work for, and you know nothing about the line manager (you may even know them personally; it can be a very small market place).  This is NOT getting your express permission.

The reality is that the 'cowboy' recruiters (as I like to call them) work very hard to NOT tell you everything that you need to know.  They think that by withholding information they are protecting the hiring company, that there is less risk that you will tell another recruiter there is a job available with this hiring company client, and that it also gives them the right to send your resume to whomever they want and whenever they want.

What is the problem?

Let me ask you this: have you ever worked for someone, and you would rather stab out your own eyes than work for that person again?  Or do you know someone that you simply would not like to work with, for whatever reason?  What about a company or industry that is on your 'not in a million years' list?  Well, how embarrassed would you be if some lazy recruiter sent your personal details to that company or person? From my perspective, beyond your lack of control when the cowboys don’t share everything they need to with you, the most frustrating side to this is the hiring manager's reaction.  I have seen hiring managers reject an applicant altogether because two agencies represented them to the same role; I have seen relationships damaged and our industry shamed when fights ensue between recruiters and hiring companies over who said what and when and where.  It's horribly unprofessional.  And it just wouldn't happen if the recruiters were doing their job properly in the first place! In the end, I say this to you: YOU need to be confident in controlling your relationship with recruiters.  If someone calls you and doesn't tell you the name of the company, who specifically will be seeing your resume and detailed information about the job vacancy, then you should demand that information.  If they still won't give it, tell them no.  I can guarantee you that if you are good at what you do and it is clear that you are a good candidate for the role, they are either going to call you back and give you that information OR another recruiter will call you and they will get your permission. Don’t let the cowboys control your future.

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