Thursday, October 31, 2002

Securing Employee Names from Recruiters

The HR Department of University of Delaware accidently gave a system password to a student pretending to be a University professor. The student used the password to change her grade from an "F" to an "A". Luckily, about two weeks later, the student called the HR department to try the trick again but by this time they were on to the scam. She was arrested and charged with several counts of identity theft, criminal impersonation, unauthorized access of a computer system among other charges.

This story, reported in HR Executive Magazine, reminds me of another area of confidentiality that is often overlooked--securing the names, positions and phone numbers of employees from recruiters and headhunters.

Take a look at the following "Research Tip" from

Integrating an Internet recruiting effort with “Voice Mail Mapping” to quickly build a cold call list in a specific “source” company.

Let’s say that you’ve taken a great job order and done the research to identify the 5 top competitors of your client as the best places to source. By applying the Internet techniques we regularly write about, you can build what I call a “foot hold” in each company – that is, you can get some names and some phone numbers/email addresses of people in the function you are targeting. At this point I like to build a voice mail map. Being an “early bird”, I like to start by calling in between 4am and 6:30am to use the source company’s voice mail system directory to identify the names of the people 5 to 10 extensions above and below the extensions of the people I’ve already identified in my Internet research. If the Internet research went well, I may see a pattern that lets me fill in the gap between several extensions. As you build your voice mail map, listen to the tone and content of the voice mail messages… you can tell who the sales people are versus the techies, versus the admin staff in many cases just from their communication style. The work goes quickly and I can often build cold call lists of 100+ people before regular business hours. Many of these calls connect with good candidates later in the day – AND – I don’t lose time rusing, as I already have the names and direct phone extensions of the people I wish to speak with.

So there you have it. The voice mail has now become a target along with the company phone directories, company intranets/internet and the all-to-kind receptionist who unwittingly repeats the names and extensions of all of the employees in the IT department.

Over the years, I've worked in both Recruiting and in Human Resources. I used to think that I had seen it all--only to find that I was being continually surprised time after time. If you are in charge of Human Resources for your company, don't assume that it's obvious to your employees what information needs to be kept confidential and how that confidentiality should be achieved. Take that added step of providing consistent and regular training to all HR employees in this very important area.

Beth C.


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6:03 AM, October 28, 2005  
Anonymous said...

Security, you know lock the barn door after the horse is stolen

9:28 AM, February 11, 2012  

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