Controlling resume distribution …

Working with a recruiter? Don’t be shy about demanding these best practices.

The following advice is specifically for those seeking ‘full time’ employment (versus temporary assignments) via the assistance of a tech search professional. My goal with this post is to promote strong, professional candidate/recruiter relationships based on mutual respect, trust, and an appreciation for best practices applied in the recruiting domain.

My professional advice is this: don’t allow a recruiter to ever submit your resume to a company until you know who that client is and you’ve given them permission. After almost 20 years in the search industry, I’m always shocked when I cross paths with candidates who have worked with recruiters that were not willing to disclose a company name ‘prior’ to resume submission. The recruiter/candidate relationship should be treated as a partnership so I suggest you reconsider relationships where you’re being treated as a commodity and not as a partner.

Of equal importance to the latter is this. When exploring new opportunities with the help of a search professional, it’s important that you understand and appreciate when it’s appropriate to ask who the company any given position is for’ Although this is a very reasonable request, it’s simply a matter of respecting the spirit of confidential and proprietary information that the recruiter has been entrusted with. That is, a recruiter’s obligation to keep their client’s name confidential is part best practice and part sage business sense as sometimes (and unfortunately) a candidate can’t resist the temptation to end-run the recruiter and submit their resume directly.

Regardless, there is indeed a point in the process that a candidate should insist they know the company name if not already disclosed by the recruiter. Let me explain.

Essentially a company engages a recruiter to uncover and present ‘qualified’ talent. When a recruiter initially connects with you, they have yet to apply a series of qualifying questions that determine the strength (or weakness) of the match. If the overall ‘mile high’ fit is solid and the candidate shows interest in the opportunity, the process moves forward. While the recruiter fields questions from the candidate, they continue to drill down in an attempt to test/assess the match. If at any point in the process the verdict on fit is not ideal, it’s not going to make sense for the recruiter to disclose the company name. Therefore, until candidates have been fully pre-qualified, the company name is understandably confidential.

However, once a solid match has been established and the candidate expresses a genuine interest in moving towards the next step (resume submission), it’s essential that the company name be disclosed to you as ultimately it benefits both parties. That is, practically the recruiter needs to know (without a doubt) if the candidate’s resume has already been submitted to that specific company before they submit the resume. At the same time, a candidate can only make a fully informed decision on whether to authorize resume submission (or not) by knowing who the client is. This part of the process is completely based on trust and professionalism.

TAKE AWAY – Be firm with your request that any recruiter get permission from you to submit your resume to ‘any’ potential client to avoid duplicate submission (especially when working with multiple recruiters). Also, keep the above guidelines in mind when asking about who the potential client is and knowing when it’s inappropriate, yet knowing when it is your right.