Five Pieces Of Personal Information Job-Seekers Should Never Share

We heard from Madeline, who sent us an email message she’d received from a recruiter with the company where Madeline was interviewing.

“I mentioned to you that this is the company where I’m interviewing,’” Madeline told us, “but I haven’t actually had an interview yet. I don’t know if I’ll ever have an interview. I’m walking through the steps I have to follow to see if these people want to interview me.”

First, Madeline had filled out an online job application. She had submitted the application along with her uploaded resume and a cover letter. A week later she got an auto-responder message that instructed her to take an online honesty test and a math test. She took both tests and waited another two weeks.

When Maddie heard from the organization again, they had a questionnaire for her to fill out and a timed “personality test.” Madeline told us “It’s a good thing I had a little time available to finish that test! Until I clicked on the link and the test began, I had no idea the test was timed, because the email message didn’t mention that detail.”

At this point Madeline was on the fence. The recruiting process so far was obnoxious.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to go forward with it, but she figured “Since I’ve invested so much time already, I may as well stick it out.”

The next request caught her by surprise, and that’s why she contacted us.

“Next they wanted me to take a picture of a voided check from my checking account and upload the picture,” she said. “It’s for direct deposit, in case I get the job. These people have never met me — they’ve never even talked to me!”

Madeline contacted the head of HR for the organization she was interacting with. She contacted her via email after locating the woman’s email address on an online forum. Maddie is a sharp online researcher!

Madeline wrote to the head of HR to ask her which people in the company’s HR department (or other people in the company) would have access to Madeline’s banking information. She never got a reply.

“I went back to the company’s Careers site and saw that they have job openings posted for entry-level HR and Recruiting Coordinators,” said Madeline. “Now I know that a person who walked into an entry-level HR job last week might have access to my checking details a few days later. They might quit a week later and take my voided check with them. What kind of organization is run this badly?”

Madeline is learning what you already know: a lot of organizations are run that badly!

You should never, ever give up your banking information during your job search. If they want you to sign up for direct deposit, you can do that after you’re hired.

Madeline kept her voided check to herself and gave the undeserving prospective employer the boot.

Don’t give up your bank account information on the job search trail, and don’t give anyone your social security number. If you’re submitting an online job application that requires your social security number, abandon the application and contact your hiring manager via Pain Letter, instead.

Don’t give out your birthdate during your job search. It’s no one’s business and has nothing to do with your job application. If they ask you if you’re over 18 and you are, say “Yes — I am over 18.” That’s all!

Don’t give away your list of references until you and your prospective new employer have established a mutual level of interest, and that can’t happen until you’ve physically been to their offices or chatted with them in a Skype interview.

Don’t ever submit your references earlier in the process, with your resume. Your personal contacts trust you to keep their contact details private from random strangers, and at the early stages of a recruiting process, employers are random strangers. You don’t know them and can’t vouch for them.

Don’t give up your past salary details, which are also none of anybody’s business. If a recruiter hounds you for that information, tell him or her your salary target, instead. If an online application form requires you to include salary details, do this.

The world is different now. You can’t trust people just because they work for a big company. You can’t trust private information to people you don’t know. Plenty of job-seekers have gotten ripped off and scammed, in case they needed any more stress on top of the stress their job search creates!

Don’t be one of those people — guard your personal information closely.

Keep theses pieces of personal information to yourself while you’re job-hunting:

1. Your banking information and bank account number

2. Your social security number

3. Your birth date

4. Your references (until a mutual interest is established)

5. Your current or past salary details (give them your current salary target, instead)

Be suspicious, like Madeline was. Not every company deserves you. Hold out for the ones that do!

source: forbes.com by Liz Ryan

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