Companies Can “Own” Your Resume!

Companies Can “Own” Your Resume!



I bet you thought you owned your own resume, right?

We can review legalities, technical implications, and talk about limited licenses, rights to use, etc., but ultimately, I’m quite certain candidates believe it is actually they who own their resumes – not the agency with whom they interacted, or the company to whom they applied.

Well, guess again.

In the staffing world, corporate recruiters claim ownership of a resume that has entered it’s company’s Applicant Tracking System (“ATS”), cutting off all others’ rights to represent you. Similarly, the first contracted staffing vendor to submit your resume to a corporation generally wins ownership rights, irrespective of your actual desire to be represented by the company of your choice.

So what’s wrong with that?  Well, in theory, there’s nothing wrong with a company owning your resume. They process it, screen you, a hiring manager interviews you, and you get hired. But, what happens when the vendor submits you? Or – worse yet – the company-employee-friend-of-yours forwards your profile to their internal HR corporate staffing group in an attempt to garner the company referral bonus?  Well, now you learn firsthand the pitfalls of “ownership”. Here, the company can move forward. If HR tells its employee they have your resume in their system, no matter how it arrived there or how long ago, the employee will not earn her referral bonus. She’d be upset, as she knows perfectly well it was her referral that prompted any interviews. She knows this resume was sitting untouched in an un-mined ATS. You know you want this employee friend to “own” your resume – but the company says no. At this juncture, you really need not think more about this – as the process will halt without explanation and without recourse. No one will tell you why. The company will not be hiring you. For them, it is best to avoid the internal conflict, so best to avoid you.

The same scenario plays out with the agency who is presenting your resume to their client and your prospective employer. Though you have given this agency permission to be your advocate, and have little to no recollection of ever having submitted your profile to this company’s HR posse through other means, there is now a question of ownership. It’s best to avoid you altogether. Plus, you appear “overly shopped around”, and therefore less desirable.

So, what’s the solution? Heck if I know. I’m just here to turn your world upside down.

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Melissa Faith About the author