To Reference or Not to Reference – A Matter of Privacy Law

Whether in the Temporary or the Permanent search industry meeting a lot of candidates is a critical success factor.  Recruiters are sent hundreds of resumes weekly and dig into profiles on a regular basis.  The information provided may come in several avenues, both public and private and the information is protected by a legislated privacy act accordingly.  In Alberta and British Columbia this is often referred to as FOIPP Act (Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act), and is fairly progressive compared to many other regions of Canada. 

While we as professionals must know where the lines are drawn and play within those lines to ensure ethical practices, we are also to encourage candidates to guard the privacy of others…specifically references.  A common practice on resumes of both permanent and temporary candidates is providing a list of candidates at the end of the resume.  In some cases this may violate the privacy and protection of the reference, especially if the resume is submitted through a public job board, forum or even unsecure email.  The resume enters a public domain and privacy maybe come an issue.

Candidates may feel they are being more open and creating a sense of trust and respect by providing these upfront when they are unwittingly walking a fine line of privacy protection.  At Executrade, Colleen Robert, Recruiter focused on both Temporary and Permanent placements identified that “we encourage candidates to take all references off of resumes to ensure they are protected and no room for error exists.  Candidates are encouraged to identify that references are available upon request to demonstrate awareness in lieu of providing names and contact information.”

We have a responsibility to educate and help protect the standards of hiring and privacy.  There are no shortages of ethical challenges in the staffing industry but we can continue to ensure we know the laws, work within the laws and ethical practices to provide a safe environment for our industry to grow.

Simplicity would suggest, if you want a job done right, ask a specialist.


Executrade -Your Recruitment Specialists


Colleen Robert:

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