Privacy Rights – The Job Seeker Unknown

In the search for a new role, your privacy and how you’re represented to a potential employer are paramount.

But rarely does anyone read an agency’s privacy policy prior to engagement. And why should they?

There is enough regulation and precedent in the Australian market……right?


Although agencies operate under the same legislative framework as employers (Fair Work Act) and potentially a code of conduct if a member of the RCSA (association for the recruitment industry), there is no national regulation (it is being discussed) and the state regime is toothless.

Some agencies have no privacy policy available for review. Many people when engaging personnel consultant’s to help them find a new gig are (in many cases) applying for a role online, not knowing the person or agency that will ultimately represent them.

What does a job seeker want from an agency and their staff?

  • Connection – A recruiter to be connected, have agreements and relationships with employers
  • Transparency – To be communicated with, to be told what the role is and who the role is with
  • Competence – Know the process and be good at what they do.
  • To be honourable – Ethical and acting in the best interest of all parties
  • Knowledgeable – Of the industry, employer and role they are recruiting for
  • Action – Get me a job.  The right one!

There are others however you should be asking yourself this question also:

In addition to what I want, what do I expect?

Not handled well, the disclosure of your information at the wrong time or without your consent could jeopardise your current employment position or be a misrepresentation of your skills and character to a potential employer.

An example of an Agency Privacy Policy is below:

Sometimes we will ask candidates and contractors to consent to a disclosure or use of their personal information to clients. We may do so in writing, over the phone, or on our website. At other times, where they have indicated to us that they wish to be considered for positions generally or within certain parameters,their consent will be taken as given.

In this circumstance, what if your CV is sent to an employer without your knowledge?  You may not think this is an issue if the consultant can proactively find you a job.  But what if that employer knew your manager or director at your current place of work?

These issues might seem small “what if’s” but in the circumstances where it compromises your position, it can become big!

The subtleties associated with this can be the difference between a good and poor experience. This link is to an article from 7 years ago that still has relevance today.

Generally the behaviour of recruitment consultants is honorable and in your best interest.  You want us to be proactive.

But behaviour can also driven by reward for placement and if under pressure to perform, don’t give a consultant an out to act inappropriately.

So as a candidate if you don’t want to be treated like cattle, ensure you set the rules for engagement. Some actions you may wish to consider:

  • Ask what their process is and how your personal information will be used.
  • Request a consultant to not send your information to anyone including potential employers unless your consent is given.
  • Request who the company is and discuss the role prior to a decision to proceed.

Your confidentiality should be paramount.  How you are represented should be understood and consent given.

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