One of the more frustrating events that can happen to a recruiter and his/her candidate is when the client comes back to let us know that the resume had already been presented before and therefore, the client can’t work with the recruiter. While there is the occasional slip of the mind – candidates apply to hundreds of jobs and can forget having already applied – sometimes it turns out that the candidate fell victim to resume poaching; someone grabbed their resume and submitted the candidate without the candidate’s knowledge.
Unfortunately, it seems that this happens with alarming frequency. There are a number of reasons why I suspect some recruiters engage in this unethical behavior: They see a great resume on line and know that it’s just a matter of time before that person gets contacted, so they take shortcuts and submit first, call second. A cocky recruiter may be confident in his/her abilities to get your permission later on (this falls under the “easier to get forgiveness then permission” camp). The resume could have been submitted by a resume farm somewhere that gets paid by another recruiter based on number of resumes provided (… more on this development later).
This is a bad scenario all around: the recruiter could lose out on a potential fill, the candidate can be disqualified by the client for shopping around (a scorched earth response – rather than attempting to sort out what happened, the client disqualifies any resume submitted more than once), and the client is put on the spot to intervene in a process they should never have been involved with in the first place; messy hiring situations being one of the reasons they may have chosen to retain recruiters in the first place!
The best way to combat this situation? Prevention.
Shop around for your recruiter – approach them instead of the other way around. If you do post your resume, anonymize it – make the recruiter come to you. Avoid using your LinkedIn profile as a resume (believe it or not, with enough detail an unscrupulous recruiter will just make the resume for you. The key is to just summarize your experience). Finally, because mistakes do happen, make sure you keep a basic list of the positions you are being submitted for and the recruiter doing the submitting. A little documentation goes a long, long way.
My hope is not to scare anyone from putting a resume online; on the contrary, a recruiter’s livelihood can depend on it. However, there is more than a little irony in the fact that a person will go through great pains to protect their identity from theft, yet just by the act of posting their resume online, can unwittingly give away control of their own resume.