We have a contract recruiter and her job is only to find talent when asked and she recently reported to a senior director that she came across an employee's resume.

  • Is it ethical for her to even be sharing that information with senior management?

  • Isn't it a person's right to explore opportunities without their current role being in jeopardy?

  • We have no idea if the employee is actively looking and even if she is, shouldn't it be her right to do so until she notifies the company?

We are in the UK and all insight is appreciated as I find this recruiter's behavior disturbing and unethical.

  • How do you know this tidbit of info?
    – Kilisi
    Jun 6, 2018 at 23:19

2 Answers 2


From your employees perspective: This is not only unethical, it´s possibly also illegal regarding personal data protection laws. Of course the right of your employees to look for other opportunities should be protected!

From you company´s perspective: If this is the level of confidentiality she keeps with all her customers, think about what she will blab to the competition about your internals!

I don´t know which position you are in, but if I where to handle this service provider, I´d immediately demand a written explanation about that breach of confidentiality as well as require signing of an NDA with high penalty for keeping my own data safe - if you don´t already have that.

  • 2
    Thank you for the quick response. I agree this recruiter needs to be dropped immediately. And will ask HR about our NDA with recruiters. This company (unfortunately) is lacking in some of these types of policies (I have only been with them for 6 mo. and see so many things that need to be tightened up.
    – TgirlUK
    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:48

From the fact that you say "she came across an employee's resume" it's unclear whether the recruiter has done anything illegal here as that suggests she encountered the resume on a jobs site or similar rather than the employee submitting it to the recruiter themselves. This might fall under the "fairness" aspect of principle A of the GDPR and/or principle B (purpose limitation) but I'd leave that one up to the lawyers. If the employee has submitted their resume to the recruiter or their agency then this would almost certainly be a violation of GDPR as I'd be very surprised to see any recruiter agreement that gave them explicit permission to use a candidate's data in this way!

However even if this isn't deemed a GDPR violation that in no way excuses what they did which is not only unethical but also shows staggeringly poor judgement.

If I were in your director's position I'd be dropping this recruiter faster than a very fast thing! And if your position is such that you carry any weight with the company in this matter I'd be urging them to sever ties!

  • You normally don´t see the names of the candidates on job-sites unless you have privileged access - which normally should require you to adhere to terms of service that should prevent you from telling their employers.
    – Daniel
    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:41
  • Thank you for the response. This is what I thought. I am horrified and want this recruiter gone. I am a Director but for a different business division and just wanted to get some more specific insight from others since I am originally not from UK and wondered if there was some strange loophole I was unaware of. Thank you.
    – TgirlUK
    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:46
  • @Daniel While it's quite common for recruiters to have such access I can certainly see such a clause in the ToS being likely, even if it weren't present it's still a massive ethical breach.
    – motosubatsu
    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:47
  • 1
    @TgirlUK I'm a UK native and I'm just as horrified as you are.. I've heard of instances where recruiters have accidentally dropped a candidate in it by submitting their CV to their existing employer but this is far worse by reason of it being a deliberate act.
    – motosubatsu
    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:50
  • 1
    It could still be a violation of GDPR, as the recruiter is apparently processing personal information without explicit permission of the person involved, and then sharing with a third party, again without explicit permission. Jun 6, 2018 at 9:06

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