Safety first: Protecting your identity whilst job searching

Are you currently on the lookout for your next career? In the context of applying for a job, an occasion where personal details are routinely exchanged, keeping your private information truly private should be at the forefront of every candidate’s mind.

In this day and age, the security of our personal information is essential for not only our personal safety, but for our own protection against identity theft. With modern identity fraud risks increasing, we can never be too careful about who we share our personal information with.

This is why it’s crucial for you to remember these precautionary steps when applying for your next job: 

The digital age: be weary of data threats! 

The job search journey is often a fast-paced, adrenaline-filled timeline of CV submissions, cover letter scribbling and interview preparation. With the magnitude of job searching tools now online, the digital hiring process has taken over, resulting in 73% of millennials finding their current jobs through digital platforms such as social media, for example.

With so many opportunities to attract candidates through digital and online means, we often don’t think twice about the data, details and personal information we’re submitting to job boards, social platforms and client websites.

The reality is, that the information we’re sharing throughout the recruitment process is as critical and private as the information we wouldn’t dream of sharing to retailers, online banking providers and even spam telephone calls, so why are we willing to share this information at various stages of the recruitment journey?

The answer is simple. We often overlook the hurdles we jump through to get a job. By that, we mean it’s often easy to overlook submitting a CV to Indeed, CV Library, or any other platform and believe that we are dealing directly with an employer.

In hindsight, the extensive and repeated data breaches suffered by T-mobile in 2023 should warn us that if a global business that manages and stores customer data at the core of its practices, can suffer from a major hack, then even the most common job boards are vulnerable to the same fate.

As a recruitment agency, we have seen a flurry of CVs come through our systems and understand the best practices to advise candidates of what to and to not do during your job hunt. Here’s exactly how to keep your identity safe!

Tip 1 – Minimise and conceal your personal data

It may seem obvious that a potential employer needs to know about you, but what they do not need to know is:

  • Your full name (including middle names and double barrels)
  • Date of birth
  • Home address
  • Your marital status

To emphasise, any of the above details do not need to be included in your CV, cover letter or Q/A submissions online. Giving these details to an employer, a job board or a recruiter can put you at risk of identity theft.

Further due diligence can be done as a job seeker, by ensuring that your driving licence number, passport number or national insurance number is never shared during the recruitment process. This is a common mistake international candidates make, however is applicable to any candidate in the UK or further afield.

Tip 2 – Keep an eye out for password protection

Job boards and other online recruitment tools are typically operated with password-protected areas. This means that when it comes to submitting your CV online, you will likely need to create an account and associate a strong password with your job submission to ensure that your CV remains encrypted. If you’re looking for guidance on creating a strong and effective password, check this out!

The most reputable job boards will also build a communication pathway between you and the hiring manager, which means you shouldn’t need to provide any direct contact details to speak with the potential employer. This includes LinkedIn, CV Library and Indeed to name a few.

If you encounter a job ad or open vacancy online that doesn’t ask you to set up a password prior to submitting your CV, our advice would be to head to the employer’s direct website and assess what their application instructions are. If there are no details, it would be better to contact their offices and ask for some guidance.

Alternatively, research whether the same vacancy is being promoted with a recruitment agency and get in touch with them, they will be able to anonymise and submit your CV on your behalf, as well as communicate with the client.

Tip 3 – Don’t always trust the job ad

One of the simplest ways to ensure you keep yourself and your identity protected throughout job hunting is to qualify a job effectively prior to application. This means that regardless of whether you have seen a job advertised on a job board, on social media or in a search engine, always do the background work to qualify the vacancy itself.

There should always be a link to an official vacancy listing with any advert, as well as this, there should also be additional information on the vacancy listing to help you qualify the position. This could be anything from details about the company, who to get in touch with should you have any queries, who is the hiring manager, what type of position the role is (temporary, permanent or contract) and the application closing date.

If you’re convinced that the position is real and that you’d like to apply, then do ensure that the device you’re applying with, whether it be a mobile, tablet or desktop, is fully equipped with anti-virus software and spam filters.

When applying for new jobs, it can be easy to get carried away when sharing your personal information. Unfortunately, however, this could pose a serious threat to our identity, and this potential risk is far too significant to gamble with!

If you’re looking for additional support throughout your job application process, don’t forget to get in touch with the expert consultants at Network Scientific.

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