“Online resume risks”
You take a risk whether you eagerly post your resume on an online job search site or you tell someone at a networking function that you’re looking for a job. It’s the age-old dilemma: how to keep your search private, yet public. Private, so your employer doesn’t find out and so that sensitive information about your work history and salary don’t get out. Public, so that potential employers can find you.
The online job search made it even more public–which can be good for getting the word out and bad for privacy. Because, for one thing, when you post your resume online, hoping it will be seen by hundreds of potential employers, you never know for sure where it will wind up.
Even if you specify that you don’t want your resume sent to a certain company–say, the one you work for now–it could happen. Not to mention, how exposed you become. There you are, posted on the Internet for all the world to see: where you worked, for how long, where you went to school and any other personal information you choose to share.
This is not a new issue for the job hunter. The privacy issue, however, gets dicier as the online job search business grows. This has been highlighted in a recent report from the Privacy Foundation, which says that when you post your resume online, you face additional threats to your privacy. The report goes so far as to say your resume could be stored by the online job search site for years and be misused for data mining and even identity theft.
The author of the report, Pam Dixon, spent a year looking at all the prominent job search sites to examine long-term privacy issues. This first, in a series of reports, focuses on Monster.com because it’s the most prominent service.
TMP Worldwide, Inc., which owns Monster.com, claims that Monster.com gives its clients (employers and recruiters) access to over 8.6 million unique resumes. Its database, they say, is growing by 25,000 resumes daily. Monster.com clients pay to post jobs on Monster.com.
The report alleges that Monster.com doesn’t sufficiently disclose what happens to job hunters’ resumes after they’re posted on the Monster.com site or on its clients’ websites.
Dixon submitted dummy resumes to Monster.com clients’ sites to see where else the resumes showed up. For example, when she submitted a resume to H&R Block, she found it was possible to see this same resume at the Blockbuster, Tyco, Sony jobs sites and on Monster.com. This made Dixon wonder: When you submit your resume to one company, is it seen by all companies that pay for access to Monster’s list of resumes?
This is chancy if you don’t want your employer to know you’re job hunting. People are known to have lost their jobs when their company found out they were looking.
Even when no resume has been posted, you can be tracked, says the report. “Some job sites request personal information from job seekers, such as name, address, age, gender and work history, then pass that information on to third-party vendors, such as advertisers.
The report also alleges that Monster does not remove resumes after job-hunters deleted them, and sends user information to American Online.
Monster.com CEO Jeff Taylor says the company considers job seeker privacy a high priority, in an article in Informationweek.com, and that it sends no personal data to AOL. He says, “resumes stored on Monster.com servers on behalf of clients are accessible only to the job seeker and the company in question,” clarifying that “about half those companies provide no indication to job seekers that they have ties to Monster.com.”
Be clear, that the report does not accuse TMP/Monster.com of illegalities regarding their privacy practices. Instead, the report raises questions about business methods and intent.
The job hunting process raises concerns on how to balance the desire for privacy and the need for publicity. It’s a risky business. The online job search just raised the stakes.