What Happens to Your Resume Once You Send it to a Recruiter?

Not sure? Don’t know?
If you are looking for stronger opportunities, the recruiter who you sent your resume to most likely isn’t charging you a penny. It’s a “win-win” situation, right? Not so fast! Aside from the fact that you should not just hand out your personal information without knowing exactly what the recruiter will do with it, you don’t want to end up being radioactive as a prospective candidate. When your dream job appears you don’t want to watch it slip through your fingers because you didn’t control or weren’t aware of what was being done with your most valuable career asset…your resume.
I can tell you what happens to a resume once it comes to A.Q.S.? Absolutely nothing, unless a candidate expresses interest in an opportunity that we have presented. We do not share career information, which contains everything a person has worked so hard and long to achieve, to any outside firm or job board. It is more than a procedure; it is gospel at our company. We treat resumes as gold because it is not just a piece of paper to be emailed around. A resume shouldn’t be taken lightly, nor should it be slung around electronically with the assumption there will never be a problem. There are pitfalls out there. Let me highlight for you a recent example which happens more than we (or you) would ever like to see.
We got a call from a venerable, long -standing client looking to fill an automotive plant quality manager position. We spent days cranking out calls, chatting with people in the mid-Michigan area, and came across a rarity in today’s market: a solid performing quality manager who was out of work…and local. Excitedly, I told the candidate about the position, the location, the players involved and what the vision was for the future. He said, “Jon, sounds great, I’m interested and would like to interview.” Never once did he mention, “This company, opportunity, situation sounds familiar.” It was all new and exciting to him. We were eager to get him in on this opportunity and have him represent our firm. We really take pride in having terrific automotive quality professionals blaze a path forward under the A.Q.S. banner.
I called my hiring manager and made a verbal presentation on the candidate. We discussed education, experience and the key technical quality skills that made this person stand out from the crowd. The Plant Manager was interested, and we set-up an interview BEFORE they even got the resume. We represent the individual over and above the piece of paper we refer to as a resume. Our philosophy has always been that to send a resume and let the piece of paper try to do the talking is weak and unprofessional. I then went back to the candidate and confirmed the interview.
The very next morning I got an email from the human resources manager stating they had already received the resume from another recruiting agency. Immediately, I pick up the phone, called the candidate and ask the question. The response was one I hear all too often in the automotive quality field, “Jon, I swear, no one called me or told me about this. You were the first one to inform me of this opportunity. Does this mean the interview is off or on?” I explained to him a legal term called the ‘But for Rule.’ In past legal actions between fighting recruiting firms, the one who set-up the interview was legally entitled to the fee. The idea goes if it were not ‘but for’ their actions in arranging the interview, the resume might have sat in a pile or folder, and nothing might ever have happened. In our firm’s case, approximately 1/3 of all our placements conclude with a smiling sigh from the hiring manager saying, “Jon, if I had seen the resume first, I would not have talked with the candidate.” As we all know, there is much more to a person than a piece of paper. Superstars come in various shapes and sizes with a unique story line attached. It is our job to make the case jump off the piece of paper.
I then called my client and said, “This candidate had never been presented this opportunity. They are not even sure what firm would have done it. The candidate has told me they want me representing them on this since I was the one who took the time to ask them. You can call this person and they will tell you exactly that.” The human resource manager said, “I know your frustration. We just don’t want to get involved in a legal battle and have to pay two fees. As far as we are concerned, this candidate is radioactive. We don’t want to touch him. We’ll pass. Find us another.”
The point here is how to protect yourself as a candidate. Never forget, you are the product and the lifeblood of recruiting firms. Even if you are unemployed, you have the right, and duty to ask the recruiter, “What happens to my resume when it arrives there?” “Do you share it with anyone else without my permission and knowledge?” Most importantly, you need to tell the recruiter, “Let’s be clear, I do not want my resume sent to a company without presenting the opportunity to me first.” It only makes sense to protect your careers work.
Let’s face it, the beauty or ‘eye -catchiness’ of a resume does not necessarily coincide with on the job results. When you send resumes as a recruiter, no one can say no, or challenge your recommendation for that matter. It is much, much easier to send a file with 10 resumes than to stand toe to toe with a plant manager and explain to them why this person fits. If they choose a resume, they own it. If the candidate is a dud, the plant manager can’t get in your grill and say, “Why did you choose this person?” Heck, they did after all. You get the point.
The best ways to protect yourself is to simply ask the questions above and let all recruiting firms know that you want your resume to be held confidential until you give them the go. In my article, How to Select a Recruiter, I talk about how you need to make sure the recruiter is looking out for your interest and not just their bank account. Sending your resume to a company without you knowing about it suits who’s needs? Also, I have heard a few times in my career stories of rookie recruiters accidentally sending a resume to a quality manager/director looking for a quality engineer. The only problem is that this particular quality engineer happens to work for a different division of the same company. If you ever want to feel your mouth dry up in an instant, just wait until a fresh copy of your resume is plopped down on your desk by your boss, and you have no clue how they got it!
You follow the quality system and best practices at your company. Make sure the person representing all the things you have worked so hard for does the same. Best of fortune in all you do and have a fantastic summer!