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I've just started working for a very small digital agency. After two weeks there, I've got an email from HR asking me to deliver my updated CV and a list of all projects and courses I've been doing. As this request was a bit ambiguous to me (All projects? All courses? English classes too?) I replied to the email, asking for a bit of clarification. I also asked what they need this info for. I believe I was polite but I got a "We just need it" answer.

I asked around, and my colleagues also got that email but none of them knows what is the reason for it. They just plan to send their info and never even question it. I know it's not very sensitive information but I'd have liked a more detailed answer.

Should I insist on knowing the exact reason, or should I just give up and send the info as requested? Am I making a big deal about it?

Edited: I work in the offices of a client so I don't see my bosses, or HR, in person. Of course, I can go to my agency's offices after work to talk to them. But I don't want to make this look like a big issue.

Solved: All the team got an email today explaining why was the company asking for this info. As I didn't press further, I believe some of my "I don't care" colleagues did actually asked some questions. It turned out it was for a public bid and we've been assured that no personal data will be sent. So thank you all for your feedback!

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    Some bids for projects require that they submit the CV's for all key personnel on the project. This may be a request for that during the bid phase which they don't want to disclose to employees. – Ron Beyer Mar 15 '16 at 13:55
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    @RonBeyer I don't know why wouldn't they just say "we're biding for a project". It's good news as new projects = more work. What's funny is they never answered my previous question: what kind of projects/courses do they need? – ithil Mar 15 '16 at 14:08
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    AFAIK some companies like to have an internal CV to keep track of the projects and skills of each employee, so when a project needs more resources it's easier for them to find the best fit. – Trickylastname Mar 15 '16 at 14:25
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    @ithil A bid is not a win, I've been a part of companies who had millions of dollars out for bids, but couldn't win a single one. It could also be a public company that can't disclose certain information because of Sarbanes-Oxley or contracts with the soliciting company prohibit disclosing that, there are lots of reasons why they wouldn't disclose it. – Ron Beyer Mar 15 '16 at 14:33
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    Yes you're making a big deal about it. You should always have a PR-type resume ready to publicise yourself and your skills. – TheMathemagician Mar 17 '16 at 10:26
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If my suspicions are correct, the HR person you talked and/or emailed with is a low level, low effort person who doesn't really understand why the department wants information about you. They are just getting a check off on a list. Unfortunately, you'll encounter many such people in your career.

Many companies want up-to-date information for all employees as part of standard practice. In this way they can keep a database of who has what expertise. For example, with one former employer, I got an unexpected phone call from another department asking for help on a project using a technology they weren't familiar with, but which I had worked with.

Another reason is that they want to be able to show they have expertise in the relevant areas when competing for new work. If you have expertise from a previous job that your current position doesn't use, they may still want to say they have that expertise in-house as they bid for new work.

Your concern for privacy is understandable. However, this seems to be the same sort of thing you would be sending out in a job search, so it is not likely to cause problems. FWIW, when a company sends out resumes as part of a bid for new work, they usually remove personal addresses and other private contact information.

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If I were handing over private information I would sure as heck want to know exactly why I'm doing so, and what's going to be done with it.

If HR isn't being forthcoming about this simply call up to your boss and ask them in person. It's a simple and honest question, and no one should be upset with you for wanting to know.

I suggest not coming across as not wanting to cooperate, but rather as confused as to what courses or projects you should mention, etc.

Good luck!

  • thanks for your answer, I don't work in the same office as my boss / HR (I've edited the question) so in person talk is a bit more difficult. – ithil Mar 15 '16 at 14:04
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    @ithil - substitute "talk" with "call" – AndreiROM Mar 15 '16 at 14:10
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There are times when this information relates to something that cannot be disclosed as yet to employees. It could have to do with bids for new work which are to be held in confidence or it could have to do with ranking employees for a layoff or it could have to do with a potential company buyout and the buyer wants the information. All of those are things that may not be allowed to be discussed before they happen, especially the buyout which is probably even legally constrained from letting the information out ahead of certain milestones. The request is not even unreasonable. Just do it.

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There can be several reasons for this, but, and this is a combination of opinion and experience, they are probably looking to rank employees. This could be for a lot of reasons, so don't panic and read too much into this, but don't blow it off either.

They are not asking for PII (Personally Identifiable Information) like id numbers or addresses it seems, but rather work history and experience level, so you should probably write up the best report you can. Think of it as a job application, so put your best effort into this.

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