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Why do recruiters ask for a CV before discussing the role?

Have you ever been approached by a recruiter about a job you didn't apply for? Do you wonder why they ask you for a CV before they will discuss the role?

Are you reluctant to give them your CV?

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In a job market where there is under-supply of employees (that's you) with skills and experience that the employer is looking for, you may notice a lot more activity from recruiters approaching you when you haven't been looking for a career change. At this point, it's a conversation; an opportunity that may not have happened if that recruiter didn't reach out - but what's next? Why do they ask for your CV?



"I still need to check your skills against the job"

From job boards, to social media, referral or direct contact, there are a lot of sources a recruiter can use to try and find suitable candidates for a role they are recruiting for - but in all cases, they need to know your background, skills, experience, education - even location before they can ascertain if the role they are working on could possibly be suitable for you. With the advent and growth of social media, it has become a little easier to gain an insight into the work history and acquired skills, but even LinkedIn doesn't often offer the same level of detail that a personal work history CV can provide. People don't often put their personal contact details on social media, and often don't use much detail when updating their career progression, so a CV is still an invaluable tool for a recruiter and the 'first step' in opening a discussion that may lead to opportunity.

When an employer requests the help of a recruiter, it's often because they haven't been able to source the right candidates themselves through job boards and advertising. If the recruiter wants to protect that trust, they need to be sure they are finding better candidates than the employer has been able to find themselves. If the recruiter has approached you for that role, it's their reputation with their client on the line too, so they need to do their due diligence - or nobody gets a 'party hat'.


"Who are you again..?"

Each recruiter will be different, but most will be working on 10 or more jobs at any given time, talking to perhaps 50 or more people in relation to these jobs, in no particular pattern, no particular time frame, no particular order... could you keep this straight in your head? How would you react when someone calls up and says "Hey, it's John here - any updates?"

Without having a good record of jobs, candidates, notes and conversations a recruiter is bound to 'drop the ball' at some point and that could be the drop that costs you a really good job opportunity. Having a CV on file for a candidate not only serves to help the recruiter match the candidate to a role, but is also a starting-point for keeping records of conversations about different roles, your requirements, goals and situation that can be invaluable not just today, but for future roles that may come across the recruiters desk. Why wouldn't you want to give them the opportunity to work for you if they do a good job?


"Loose lips sink ships.."

How many times when you've thought about changing jobs has your current boss been the first person you told? Not many of us do. Letting your current employer know you are moving on can often be detrimental to you current position and your future prospects, so it can be a situation best avoided. If this 'confidentiality' is important to you, can you understand that it may be important for your future employer too - especially if that employer has relationship with your current boss!

Providing a recruiter with a CV gives a more formal expression of interest than a verbal phone conversation and ensures some level of confidentiality and professional protection for both the candidate and the client (employer). Having a recruiter discussing an opportunity within an industry offers a 'degree of separation' which can help the employer protect their professional relationships and integrity within the industry.

No matter what industry you work in - people gossip - it just is what it is. If a recruiter has contacted you to discuss a role but you're not really interested in leaving your current role, there may still be a curiosity to know who the role is for, what the role is or how much it pays...right? This can all be sensitive information that an employer doesn't want shared with his competitors or associated industry professionals...right?

So, even though the recruiter contacted you directly rather than you applying for a job through a job board, there's still good reasons for them needing a CV before disclosing industry sensitive information..right?


"Just fall back into my arms - don't worry, I'll catch you.."

And finally - trust.

Every relationship we engage in has an element of trust - and it has to start somewhere. Providing a CV to your recruiter can be seen as a 'contract of trust' in which you have contracted the recruiter to both protect your confidentiality and work toward your best interests on the role they are working on. In turn, the recruiter has contracted to do their best to protect your interests and achieve a satisfactory result for all parties.

A CV is a record of your work history, your education and your acquired skills. It's not your browser history or something you else don't want to share - it's designed to share.

Trust your recruiter - they wont share your details without your consent (unless they're dicks)









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