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Why Does the Recruitment Agency Take my Photo?

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by Mark Smith

6 months ago

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Yesterday, I took a call from a disgruntled candidate who had been interviewed by one our experienced consultants in the people2people Sydney office. This is not common and I was surprised to get the call but also very keen to hear the feedback.As it happens, the candidate, an experienced legal secretary and executive assistant was troubled by the fact that when she came to our office we used a webcam to take her picture when she arrived. Normally the consultant would forewarn the candidate beforehand but in this instance, this was unfortunately overlooked. 

The question as to why a recruitment agency needs to take a photo and obtain some ID from a candidate is often asked. So I thought I would take some time to write a few words about it. There are a couple of reasons why this is now a regular practice. Firstly, and this would come as no surprise, that a photo is used to assist us to remember you. At people2people, we interview nearly 1,000 candidates each week and on average, a recruitment consultant will interview between 5 and 10 job seekers each week. 

That’s a lot of people. So as we are only human, any assistance to help us jog our memory, really helps. Secondly, the photo is also part of our quality assurance process. As recruiters, we are tasked with finding the best available talent in the marketplace, quickly. We are also required with vetting talent, to ensure that they are, who they say they are and most importantly, have the relevant working rights. It seems unlikely, I know, but there have been instances where the person who attends a recruitment consultant’s interview, is actually not the person who attends the interview with the hiring manager. 

To ensure we meet our high quality service standards, we take a picture, in the unlikely event of a dispute. Similarly, recruitment agencies should also secure some form of ID from the job seeker. Once again, we use this to identify the candidate and keep this on file, in case there is an issue. 

For those who are in Australia on a working visa, we check their working rights with the federal government’s visa checking service and secure a scanned copy of their passport and working visa. So, when you do attend an interview and the recruiter takes a webcam picture and scans your ID, be assured that this is not an attempt to in some way intrude on your privacy. Instead, it should give you comfort that you are dealing with a company which ensures that they are representing the best people available. Of course, all organisations are required to have a privacy policy and people2people, certainly takes this seriously. Here is a link to our publicly available policy, so if you are concerned, make sure you access the privacy policy of your recruitment agency. 

Finally, I would like to make a quick observation on webcam photos. When p2p first started this practice in 2005, the reaction from people was very different to that in 2017. It seems that with the onset of social media and the ubiquitous ‘selfie’, having a quick snap at reception is now almost expected, rather than considered out of the ordinary. 

Regardless, I hope now you have a greater understanding of why you may have your ID and photo taken, when you attend your recruitment agency interview.

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