Can you ask the recruiter to delete your CV from their database after being rejected without any feedback? This is under the GDPR, in EU.

The reason - not keeping your information. The rejection letter was stating "never hesitate to apply to any position again".

Edit: The rejection letter was from the company. Also that would make a fresh new start, although they have some notes on rejected applicants.

  • 1
    Why you would think you can't even if there is no GDPR? Are you having problems getting them to fulfill the request? It doesn't sound like there's an actual problem here.
    – Nelson
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 5:55
  • 1
    Question is better suited for Law SE . See this : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Retention_Directive
    – rs.29
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 7:54
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    What is it you actually want to achieve? To guarantee that they never offer you another job? Try to make them forget they ever interviewed you? Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 15:32
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    Do you feel that "never hesitate to apply to any position again" is not feedback? To me that potentially says "we like you as a candidate and think you would be a good fit at our company, but you were not the best fit for this particular role at this time."
    – mkdir
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 16:23
  • 5
    Yeah this is weird, they are telling you "no for this job, but please apply to other jobs in the future," you want to say "screw you, forget all about me?" You may be able to do this legally but it's very counterproductive.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 17:27

5 Answers 5


Yes, by the power of the GDPR you have a right to have your data deleted if it is no longer relevant to their operation.

Depending on actual EU country, that might vary. For example, where I live you have a right to be reimbursed for any travel expenses for the interview if nothing else was specified. I cannot guarantee that right to you, if I "forget" you. You also have a right to have me testify that you indeed did interview for a job with me (sometimes needed to prove you applied to jobs for the unemployment agency). If I did reimburse you, I might need that data for taxes.

So there might be legal and business reasons to keep your information on file for now. But not indefinitely. My recent update by our lawyers on the laws and regulations in my country said that 6 months should be enough to fulfil my country's legal requirements. After that it must be deleted upon request. Actually, we must delete it if there is no other reason to keep it, to comply with GDPR, whether it is explicitly requested or not.

Other countries may differ. Other industries may differ. But generally speaking, if it's only "for company internal use", yes, you have the right to have your information deleted. The information was (implicitly, assuming nothing else was mentioned and signed by both parties) meant and used for the act of applying for a job and if you did not get the job (matter of fact even if you did get the job) it no longer serves a purpose that would override your right to self-govern your information.

  • 1
    Even if they pay your travel for an interview, there is no need to keep the CV. They only have to keep your name, reason, address and bank account numbers. And this is only needed in the accounting department.
    – Bru
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 7:30
  • @Bru I think as common sense is concerned, that is correct. In lawyer terms, as far as I understood it, as long as something is open in the business process of "candidate applied for job", for example a possible reimbursement, the whole data for the process can be kept. You are not required to dissect every piece of data whether it can be kept, but can treat the data as one unit that belongs to the process and must be removed after the process ended.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 8:05
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    @Bru Exactly. Having to keep some personal data around does not give you blanket permission to keep all of it. Legitimate interest or legal obligations always apply to each piece of PII separately. You can't justify keeping someone's education or job history around just to process travel expenses or taxes.
    – TooTea
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 8:05
  • @nvoigt may I ask where you're situated? Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 17:31
  • @rael_kid Germany
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 17:48

Speaking as someone who works on the Applicant Tracking System for a large European company, yes. We routinely handle and comply with such requests, and also have data retention policies in place for rejected candidates.



Not only you can. You also should. And for a very ugly reasons.

Now, a disclaimer first - according to my own experience and unanimously everybody among my acquaintances, it's never'ish to your benefit and I'm in advance apologizing for the rant-like statement.

Your profile is a valuable resource to recruiters. The number of CVs then "own" is a markettable gold. Especially if they present the portfolio of available, skilled professionals they have personal contact with. Many recruiters get paid by the profiles presented and it's simply cheaper to shoot from a pre-set cannon of applicants than contacting them to ask if it's OK to present them.

What about FOMO? Won't we miss on great opportunities because we're not readily set to be presented? Well... If you're so average and not in demand that you'll be missing out, then it's very likely that the employer won't hire you anyway. If you've got some (even modest) skills, you will be in demand. They will look you up. They will get back to you. There's usually hefty bonus if a candidate presented, actually turns out any good (and available at a acceptable price).

Also, be sure that most of the recruiters are desperate to get clients (employers who will hire) and it's a very competitive world (too many people shoving CVs back and forth, which requires very little knowledge). It means that their key selling point is that they can get good candidates cheaply. Let me translate it to candidatish: they will pay you less.

And show me the recruiter who will work hard so that you can get a good offer. There's a risk of annoying the client who pays them. There's risk of getting undercut by a competitor. You and your CV is just a merchandise and the lower they sell you to a job you'll soon get fired or tired from, the better. Being stored as a reject tell the reader that at least once and for some reason you were not interesting. Bad start...

Recruiters are not agents. They are something else that can't be stated here due to policy of professional language.

Oh, and asking, urging or even angrily, repeatedly demanding to be removed doesn't ensure that it will happen. You can get into a DB without your consent (because how would you know about it, right? and they can simply "happen" to have IT issue and by mistake "forget" to remove your profile. They can't because that's illegal? Well... so is rape and murder. Are you familiar with the concept of courts and prisons? There's a reason they exist.

There are good recruiters. There are also winning lottery tickets...

I'm immensely sorry and apologize to anybody who may have taken offense, felt insulted or unfairly described. I promise it wasn't you I referred to and I'm utterly happy that you do exist.

  • 1
    I disagree with this. As long as the OP is still looking for a new role, it makes sense for this recruiter to still have their CV. Once they are in a new role, then they can then get the recruiters to delete their CVs. It's unclear from the question why the OP wants the CV removed. As others have remarked, it might be a misunderstanding. Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 18:58
  • @RobinSalih I agree that there might be rare cases when letting a CV stay makes sense. My answer is opinionated (I hope it's apparent) and I'm, of course, generalizing a bit, assuming a few details not provided in the question. My point is that the recruiter will (likely) invest more time in chasing new profiles (to amend to their portfolio) than working a reject. But you're right that I may sound a bit categorical. Where are you located? Perhaps it's cultural/regional? Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 20:15
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    I have worked in UK/Ireland, My experience is, that even after rejection, a recruiter is very keen to work with you, as long as feedback from the client is along the line of the candidate was strong, but didn't have experience in xyz. A candidate who turns up for interviews, handles themselves well etc. is worth more than an unknown quanitity. Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 20:20
  • @RobinSalih I see your point. However, I have different experience. It's actually UK that has the worst reputation among my colleagues. There's a logical flaw in your reasoning. Although a candidate doing well on interviews is gold, true that, they will only capitalize on them once. The quantity kind of beats that (which is a darn shame but in practice, people go for measurable before qualitative). Also, thick portfolio can be used at different clients, while a hire only goes to one. So I agree with your statement but question its relevance in practice. I hope I'm wrong. :) Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 21:50
  • @RobinSalih Not sure if it's of any relevance for the case I'm arguing, so please take this anecdotally. Where I reside, the British recruiters suffer from such a poor reputation (I'm choosing a diplomatic wording), that they actually register Swedish numbers to create the impression of proximity and breaching through people's reluctance to answer whenever they see +44 in the display. Some people call them ladyboys - looks pretty but you'll regret it. (Apologies for the sexist joke.) Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 21:55

Yes, you have the right and you should make such request, but don't trust too much that it will really be done. I asked recruiters to delete my data a lot of times and I know by experience that often they do not comply with such requests.

A lot of times at the moment of my request to delete the data I received a confirmation by the recruiter and after two, three years or more I received messages or phone calls asking if I was available for a new position referring to the CV that was supposed to be deleted. A lot of times I even received automated emails starting with "We have an old CV of yours in our database ..." and asking to keep it up to date with a link to the update page.

Once I applied for a job in a big company via their careers page, the job ad specified clearly that my CV would have been deleted after 6 months. After five years I was contacted by a recruiter I never sent my CV to, after some discussion he admitted that he was pre-screening the CVs on behalf of the big company and he took a copy of all the CVs for his agency.

  • I can image ignoring your request as the most probable scenario. Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 2:28
  • @user2139129 After some bad experiences (hiring managers receiving CVs sent by other people without my consent) I started to keep in a dedicated folder all the replies, including the confirmations of data deletion. I can tell that often my request was received and confirmed, but my CV was not deleted.
    – FluidCode
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 14:34

Case 1: You take the job, you stay only for four months, then you leave. Your boss is unhappy.

Case 2: You don't take the job, and as a result you don't make any money for four months. You are unhappy.

It's better your boss is unhappy than you are unhappy.

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