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. 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. 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 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, is 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. Those recruiters do all they can to chase a fee, toying with CVs and treating candidates like commodities. They don’t seek permission to send your CV. They don’t let you know you’re being considered for a job you might not want. They don’t care whether you like a role or not, provided you stay in it for three months, they still get their commission. Avoid these consultants; they’re easy to spot, the won’t be too interested in you.

Good recruitment practice is ethical, professional, and based solely on matching the right role with the right candidate. It’s not about chasing a fee, it’s about achieving a placement that will help a company deliver its goals and an individual achieve theirs. 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 and the company? Do you know why you would be a good match? Have you been given insight into the organisation?

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 big role, do you want to 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 I can trust to do the best for me? And then ask the agency, what are they going to do with your CV?

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