This post in my series Recruitment Unbundled is about cv registration and is really the second half of the last post about cowboy recruiters and the shotgun approach.
Registering a cv can mean two separate processes:
Both of these processes are perfectly normal when done so with the correct intent and professionalism. Registering your cv with a recruiter is a normal process for those people who are looking for a job immediately and you do so in the hope that there is an opportunity suitable for your skills. A recruiter both contingent and retained, relies on their database of talent to identify candidates quickly and easily to match and present to their clients. Registering your cv adds to this talent pool. However, many recruitment business have no mechanism or desire for candidates to register their cv, as they prefer to headhunt them and filter those who apply to job ads before entering them into a database.
When working with a a recruitment consultancy I would always suggest that before you actually submit your cv via their website or by email that you call first and ask what they will do with it. With the new privacy laws, GDPR, coming into force in the UK you must remember that you are the owner of your data.
If you are unable to get a response, preferably in writing, with how they will manage your data then I would not take it any further. The reason is that if they cannot be bothered to respond to a simple request that takes all of thirty seconds then they will probably not respond to anything more serious about your career and with helping you negotiate the interview rounds. Of course it is much easier if they state on their website that your data will only be used for helping you find a job and will not be passed on to anyone without your express permission, that means that they must contact you and get your authority before they send you cv or bio to any client. That is your absolute right and protects you.
When registering your cv goes wrong.
So now you have registered your cv or applied to a job advertised but with no company name. The shotgun approach, as discussed in the last post, is where your recruiter will send your cv to as wide an audience as possible in the vain hope that they may get a hit. This registration of your cv with their client is done with one objective in mind - to have your details on their client's database before anyone else registers you. They do this not to assist you with your job search but to prevent any other recruiter from representing you. Normally the fact that your cv has been entered into an ATS or been received by a client will mean that if you accept a job in the next 6 months that they will be paid and not anyone else. Now you may well ask what is wrong with this if I find me a job?
Ok, so imagine this scenario. Recruiter A sends your cv to Client B. There is no current job but the recruiter may be a preferred supplier or be on the client panel. So there is no interview, no feedback and no interest, effectively your application has been rejected because there was no job.
Four months later the perfect job comes up with that same client and you have been approached by a headhunter with whom you have been talking to for a long time and you have built up trust. They cannot represent you unless you go back to Recruiter A and ask them to withdraw your application from Client B. If you ask them then they must do it but they will put a huge amount of pressure on you not to and the really bad ones will submit your cv again for that role, working on the basis that they sort of have your consent and have done so already anyway. This is again unethical and unprofessional. It is your career, your choice and you have the freedom to ask and do as you wish, do not let anyone take that away from you.
Now again I can hear some people saying well they may still get me the job. Yes that is true but they have also established that their relationship with their client is weak, that they do not have your back, have not even told you about this new role and will probably not be able to negotiate properly for you. They are simply not interested in you just your ability to make them money.
If you genuinely want to have your cv sent to every possible company that you can think of because you must leave your current position now or are looking for a role in another country then that is of course your right. I would just say that in my experience it is highly unlikely that so many employers will interview you or offer you a job, because generally they re looking for slightly different skills, experience, ability and cultural fit.
I suggest that first you establish your priority, goals and what you want to achieve and apply to a few at a time. Be aware that a recruiter may well try and pressure you into applying to them all at once as they will be afraid that you may either do it yourself or apply through another agency. The good ones will develop a relationship with you and tell you honestly what they can and cannot do.
I have seen many excellent candidates sucked into 'the cv registration game' and when I talk to them about their dream role I cannot help them or I have to go into battle for them to prove that their registration was not authorised. I cannot help them for the simple reason that they have talked to another recruiter and without knowing it their cv has been sent to twenty companies none of whom had an active role. Now that dream job has come up they cannot apply as they have already been 'registered', 'rejected' and nothing happened.
I should add that there is nothing wrong in representing a candidate who is looking for a job and making a speculative application to a client that the recruiter knows well and even one that they don't. What good recruiters will do is give an overview of the candidates without compromising where they work or their name. That way if the client is unable to progress the candidate, the client has never known who that candidate is and the candidate protects their identity and can apply properly to that company at any stage in the future.
Managing the process.
The Human Consultancy and all other professional recruiters use efficient candidate management systems where we record every email and every conversation with our candidates and clients. We do this to protect our employees, candidates and clients. So when we represent a candidate we can show exactly what was said and when and have always been able to prove that a candidate has agreed to work with us and agreed to have their cv submitted to a client, this is also time and date stamped.
The golden rule for candidates is simple, it is your career so treat it with the utmost respect and don't be cavalier with your personal information. I am sure that you don't respond to scams asking for your bank account to deposit your long lost inheritance and so equally keep you cv as closely guarded as possible.
Ed Andrew is the founder of the Human Consultancy, a legal headhunter and advisory business based in London. He has helped many people manage their careers around the world for the past twenty years and his mission is to put some humanity back into work and life.