If you have been in the workforce for a considerable amount of time, you might have a job profile on a job site or two. Although using one's network is perhaps one of the best ways to secure a new position, I found myself once again using a job site to find a new position in an area where I had no connections.
For this job hunt, I posted my resume on Monster.com and Dice.com, two of the most popular job sites in the US. Once I secured a new job, I set all my online job profiles to Private in order to stop receiving emails about other opportunities. However, after a few months, I received a curious email that started off:
"I found your resume on Monster.com and wanted to run a new Java Developer position in Dulles, VA by you."
The email was sent via Monster using their anonymous mailer <Monster> firstname.lastname@example.org and the recruiter introduced themselves using my first name.
I quickly assumed that I left my profile as Public on Monster. However, my resume was in fact Private. Here is how my profile looks like:
How would this situation be possible? How can a recruiter contact me via Monster if my resume is set to Private? I regarded the email as a fluke and thought nothing of it. Then I received two more emails from the same recruiter. I quickly sent an email to Monster to understand how can it be possbile to be receive emails via my private resume. Their response was as follows:
The reason employers may be contacting you is that at one time your resume was set to Public or you applied to an employers job posting. In this case, a resume that you used to apply online for a job or that was searchable, employers, recruiters, and others who have paid for access to the Monster resume database, or have paid to obtain a copy of that database, as well as parties who have otherwise gained access, may have retained a copy of your resume in their own files or databases. Monster is not responsible for the retention, use, or privacy of resumes in these instances.
Let us break down the different scenarios on how a recruiter might have my information:
1) "at one time your resume was set to Public"
My job junt was not a secret. I was moving to a new area and I have already left my previous position. Setting my resume to Public helped me idenify companies I might not have found myself since they would be able to contact me (nothing interesting came up, but that's another story). Simply setting my resume to Public meant any employer or recruiter with access on Monster can save my profile ad infinitum regardless of any privacy changes I may make.
2) "or you applied to an employers job posting."
Not applicable in my case, but it is an acceptable scenario for someone's profile to be viewable.
3) "and others who have paid for access to the Monster resume database or have paid to obtain a copy of that database"
Is Monster.com telling me that even if someone's sets their profile to Private, Monster.com can still sell their resume database to anyone with a checkbook? There is no opt-out from having your information sold. According to Monster.com's own online FAQ, a Private profile is defined as:
"If you select private, your resume will not be seen by employers conducting resume searches. However, you can use your private resume to apply for jobs."
"If you select private as your resume status, your resume will not be seen by employers conducting resume searches (but you can still use your private resume to apply for specific jobs online)."
Monster.com has two conflicting viewpoints on how Private is defined. Further in the FAQ, regarding the deletion of a resume, Monster.com states:
"If you delete a resume that you used to apply online for a job or that was searchable, employers, recruiters, and others who have paid for access to the Monster resume database, or have paid to obtain a copy of that database, as well as parties who have otherwise gained access, may have retained a copy of your resume in their own files or databases. Monster is not responsible for the retention, use, or privacy of resumes in these instances."
This policy is similar to their Private resume policy. If a resume was deleted or set to Private, why does Monster.com allow someone to email the candidate in question? The email was not sent directly, but via Monster.com's email system. Monster.com can shut off access at any time, but choose not to. Nowadays, many of have have a virtual resume via a LinkedIn profile, but LinkedIn allows their user granular controls over what is publicly available. How much information does Monster.com actually sell? How much privacy are we entitled to when searching for a new job?