How Confidential is your CV?

A curriculum vitae (latin: course of life) is the intimate documentation of your education and work histories as well as a potted summary of your extra curricular activities, hobbies and interests. Your CV contains not only your work chronology, it also has your personal contact information. This is an extraordinarily private document, but so few people pay any notice to where and how it is shared. So why do people willingly distribute it with little regard to where it might end up?

Firstly, one must have confidence that when one applies for a vacant position, one’s CV will be treated confidentially and forwarded only with express permission. There is an implied trust (backed by legislation (Data Protection Act)) that your personal information will be properly handled at all times but is it?

Your CV is not just a document to entice would-be employers to invite you to interview, your CV is a personal record of your education and employment history, and an intimate look at what you do outside work.

Did you know that it can be common practice for recruitment agencies to send your CV to a client company without your permission? Did you also know that some more unscrupulous agencies do this to secure a commission with little or no regard to your job-seeking intentions? If this isn’t news to you and it isn’t a problem, then you need not concern yourself with the safety of your personal information being distributed far and wide. However, if this does concern you, then you should become familiar with your rights, your statutory protection, and the agencies you work with. The Data Protection Act is for your benefit. It ensures your personal information is stored and handled correctly.

Thankfully, most recruitment consultants are professionals with a strong work ethic, but some aren’t. Some recruiters do all they can to chase a fee, amending CVs without the owner’s permission and treating candidates like commodities. They don’t even seek permission to send a CV and certainly don’t let you know that you’re being considered for a job that might not interest you or worse, a business that you may have an ethical objection to. These operators are mainly interested in you staying in the position for three months so they still get their commission. Please avoid consultancies like this; they’re easy to spot, they are the ones that won’t be too interested in you the person or you the professional.

Good recruitment practice is ethical, professional, and based solely upon providing the right role for the right candidate. Of course, we are a commercial entity and therefore charge a placement fee, but it is not about chasing a fee, it is about achieving a placement that will help a company deliver its goals and an individual achieve theirs – that way everyone is happy. One hopes that both parties will then come back when next in need of assistance – that is the long term aim – not the quick buck approach.

A good recruitment consultant will be integral in the growth of a company and enable people to develop professionally. Do the agencies you use speak to you at length about the role, your future, and the company, it’s culture, it’s history?

Is your CV merely the filling in a recruitment database, or is it working to your best advantage? When you’re looking to secure your next role, ensure you trust your intimate personal details to an agency that will respect your privacy and not merely chase after the money your CV might generate for them? How many agencies has your CV gone to in the last five years? Do they still have your details? What are they doing with them? Is your information secure? 

We live in times when it is all too easy for our information to be misused and misappropriated by unscrupulous people. The next time you start looking for a new job, ask yourself: am I working with an agency that I can trust to do what is best for me? And then ask the agency, what are they going to do with your CV?