Why candidates should always know who sees their details

For some people, this will be a very obvious blog post. For a lot more people, this will be an eye opener.

In recruitment services, there are quite a lot – I would even go so far as to say The Majority – of not-so-morally driven people. There are big bucks to be made in recruitment on commission structures that reward those who place the most candidates in roles (as opposed to the best), and sadly this means a certain type of person ends up being in recruitment agent roles. I use the word agent, as most recruiters are agents, not consultants – even if their job title says otherwise.

So, bearing this in mind, why should you be absolutely 100% in the driving seat when it comes to your details? Specifically, your name, your career history – or even your full CV?

When a recruiter approaches you and asks to send your details on to their client, one of a few things can happen.

  1. They’re sending it on to their client. This is the best case scenario, and even still, you need to know as that client might be: someone you know, that you don’t want knowing you’re looking, somewhere you’d never want to work in a month of Sundays, somewhere you’ve already been, somewhere someone else has already sent your details (and you’d look pretty stupid if they went there again, scuppering your chances of that role).
  2. They’re sending it onto a potential client. This is fine if you know the score, and are happy with the agent using you as a fishing line. If your relationship with the agent is such that you’re happy to help build their business, all cool. But you need to know that’s what’s happening, plus all the reasons in point 1.
  3. They’re sending it out “on spec” (rec speak for speculatively) to anyone and everyone they see hiring someone with your skill set, in the hope someone will want to hire you. If anyone bites, they will make out that was the role they had all along, and unbeknownst to you, a large portion of your industry now thinks you couldn’t give a monkey’s where you end up, knows all your details, and knows you’re job hunting. Not good for loads of reasons I’m sure by now, you’re starting to see.

A good recruitment person will ALWAYS tell you where they’re considering you for at the start of the conversation. If they don’t, ask (but already have some warning bells). If they refuse to tell you, make sure you put in writing on an email to them that you do not want them representing you, anywhere, ever. This may come in handy later on when you’re applying for a role somewhere and if you’re lucky enough to get feedback, and the HR lets you know Unscrupulous Agency ABC already sent your details and you can point at your date stamped email showing you have never been officially represented by them. Not only will you be able to then show you’re savvy enough to not be represented by a crap agency, but it will also mean the company is free to see you without being potentially tied to Unscrupulous Agency ABC fees. Yep, that’s right – if they take you within (usually) 6 months of an agency supplying your details – even if you go direct – they are liable for fees, if they have ever been previously negotiated and not terminated.

Bottom line? Always care about where you’re being sent – you need: name of the company & their website, and where possible the direct job specification – though sometimes a recruiter won’t have one of these, and in which case they will tell you.

Happy huntin’!