PRIVACY! Being a recruiter requires acting with the utmost discretion

David-Reitman300

David L. Reitman, Esq.
Phone: 914-693-9165
dlrassociatesrecruiting@gmail.com

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up (still don’t!), so I took the LSATs, went to law school and became an attorney. I quickly realized I would have been a great lawyer if it wasn’t for all that darned fine print!

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Recently there has been a lot of talk in the news about privacy.  Facebook.  Cambridge Analytica. Will “Zukerberg” become a verb (you’ve been Zukerberged!)?    And those robocalls!  We moved from the East to the West coast, and each month I receive an average of 20-30 calls that use my old area code.  The “Do Not Call” register is ineffective.  Cameras everywhere, in all the public and private spaces.  Our own computers have cameras; what exactly is being recorded?  And phones can track our every move.  While it’s true that many citizens voluntarily give up their privacy in several ways, such as by living life online and uploading apps, it seems as if there is no privacy anymore.  Those who still want it are forced to proactively and constantly sign up for it. 

As a legal and compliance recruiter for the financial services industry, I am often asked about how I can reconcile the business of candidate promotion with the privacy issue.  Candidates, especially those in high profile roles, express concern about being “outed” in their job searches.  While recruiters can be found all over the moral and ethical scale, the reality is that privacy violations are bad for business.  The financial services sector is vast, yet on some levels, quite small and intimate.  People know each other, attend conferences and workshops together.  While there are forces and factors beyond my control, the good news is that there are many things I CAN control.  

WHAT I CAN CONTROL:  

I consider it a privilege and an honor when someone I hardly know entrusts me with their resume.  In the working world, a resume is akin to your life story.  To the extent that your life story belongs to you, you have the right to decide how to tell that story.  These days, it would be called “protecting and promoting your brand.”  When I reach out with a possible job, this is one of the first things I discuss.  Whether you are passively surveying the job landscape or actively, even urgently seeking to make a move, I always counsel my candidates to closely monitor where the resume is being shown, and to whom it is being shown to.  Active candidates, especially those who feel the urgent need to start a new job, will tell me to “just send it wherever you think we have a chance of success.”  This is a mistake.  While I understand the thinking behind putting your resume “out there” for all the world to see, the reality is that the more you send it out, the more you dilute your brand.  If hiring managers see your resume all over Monster, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, etc., they may become fatigued.  Indeed, resume fatigue can make a hiring manager reticent (why am I seeing this CV all over the place?).  

Candidates will often use several recruiters at once, setting themselves up for multiple submissions for the same role.  I caution my candidates to make sure that they discuss this with each recruiter.  When told by a candidate to submit freely without permission, I flat out refuse.  Why?  Because if I submit without candidate knowledge, two things may happen: (1) if the resume has already been submitted through another source, the hiring manager will not recognize the subsequent submission, and may very well take a dimmer view of the candidate (brand dilution).  (2)  as a recruiter, I too must control my brand.  By submitting a resume that has already been seen, I look foolish, and my standing with the hiring manager may diminish, making it more difficult for me to effectively represent my candidate.  Finally, (at the risk of stating the obvious), a candidate must NEVER self-submit a resume more than once for any particular role.  Some companies will tell the candidate they have been rejected; others will not.  Weeks can go by with no word, and the candidate will wonder about her status.  Resumes do occasionally get “lost in the sauce” (that’s why I always attempt to keep in contact with the hiring manager, so I know exactly where we are in the process; more on this later).  If a candidate wants to find out where they stand with a self-submitted resume, he/she should, if possible, reach out directly to the hiring manager or HR team.   Re-submitting a resume (if even possible) will only annoy the hiring manager and dilute your brand. 

WHAT I CANNOT CONTROL:  

(1) Clients.  There was a time, many years (decades) ago, when you received a job order by fax or phone, and you had direct contact with the hiring manager or point person for that role.  When you had a question or issue, you picked up the phone and called.  Relationships developed.  Communication has subsequently become more and more automated, and many of the larger firms do business solely through online portals, often with no point person at all.  Typically, I receive an email containing a job description and a link to a portal where I may submit candidate resumes.  Often, the only way I can keep abreast of the progress is by periodically signing in to the portal for a status update, which is usually woefully inadequate.  When candidates call me for an update, I can tell them only that they are “still in the system.”  This does not exactly instill a sense of confidence towards me.  Even if I have a contact within the company, larger firms will rotate staff or experience attrition/turnover, so that my initial contact is gone, and I, in effect, have to start over again with a new relationship.  

(2)  Candidates.  I cannot force a candidate to do anything, period.  If you don’t keep control of your brand and know exactly where your resume has been, I will have a harder time representing you in front of a client.  If you sign up with every recruiter on the block and tell them to run with it, you are only making your search more difficult.  My advice is to pick one, two, maybe three recruiters, and make sure you only allow your resume to be submitted with your express permission, FOR EACH AND EVERY ROLE.  More is not necessarily better.  I firmly believe you will be more effective in your search by selectively submitting your resume only to those jobs that are appropriate for you, and that you have a true interest in.  I haven’t done a lot of research on the effectiveness of the online job boards, but my experience shows me that they are a mess.  Instead of showcasing, they actually diminish your presence by putting you in the mix with thousands of other resumes.  You effectively become invisible in your visibility.  And don’t lie to me!  I have had candidates tell me that they have never submitted, or had a resume submitted on their behalf, to Company X, but when I submit the resume to Company X, I’m told that they have received the same resume 3 times!  I understand that some of this occurs without candidate knowledge, such as being secretly submitted by another recruiter.  Candidates mistakenly think that if we both submit the resume, we will have a double shot at the job. 

We now return to the topic of discretion.  First and foremost, I will never submit a resume without the express permission of the candidate.  This is a “set in stone” rule at DLR Associates.  Your resume comes through you to me, and from me directly to the hiring manager or job portal.  Nobody else will see it or know what you are doing.  Often, when possible, I will even remove the name, address, phone number, and any other personal information from the resume.  If the hiring manager is interested in meeting the candidate, I will then provide the redacted information.  Should we worry about what happens to your resume once it leaves my hands?  I would venture to say “no.”  Once a resume is transmitted to the hiring firm, it will be shown only to those directly in the line of hiring.  In a small firm, it’s possible that only one or two people will lay eyes on it.  In large, global firms, it will be received by HR/talent acquisition and forwarded to the appropriate department to be viewed by the hiring manager and those who will take part in the hiring decision. 

In conclusion, if you are a candidate working with DLR Associates, and you are properly managing your brand, full discretion will prevail.  

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Financial Services recruiter
DLR Associates Recruiting

David L. Reitman, Esq.
Phone: 914-693-9165
dlrassociatesrecruiting@gmail.com

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