Take a good look at the attached image and you'll begin to understand the analogy between Job Board resumes and the notion of "Re-circulatory Garbage" . . .
Take another look at let it sink in a little bit. The majority of candidates I speak with do not truly understand the ramifications of having their name, address, and phone number, etc. public on a Job Board for the whole world to see. Think about it for a minute: Do you really want your information to be used as wallpaper for every corporate and third-party recruiter out there?
Sure, I appreciate that by doing so, an opportunity may find you — after all, you might simply hate your current job so much that you're willing to take the risk . . . and although this comment might sting, maybe you're part of that 10% of the job market that is simply ALWAYS looking for a new gig (or new boyfriend/girlfriend, new home/apartment, etc., thinking that the solution/perfect job/soulmate is "out there for me somewhere!")
If that's the case, I'm not a pyscho-therapist and therefore, I won't go there . . . however, if this doesn't describe you and what you're all about, consider the following:
a. Scenario 1: Your resume may have been auto-downloaded by HR through a job-board bot, meaning your resume was pulled down despite the fact that you didn't submit yourself for a job at the company. Here's the issue, though — if you don't have the keywords necessary in your resume, or you lack the pre-set conceptual match, you never wind up in the recruiter's email account or on their applicant-tracking system desktop. In other words, your resume travels off into the black hole of HR oblivion . . . and although it will never be physically seen (yet alone reviewed), HR "owns" your resume for 12 - 18 months. What does this mean? It's pretty simple — If and when a Third-Party Recruiter presents you for any other opportunity with the same company, HR steps in and says, "We have that resume in our system and they've already been passed over due to lack of match."
b. Scenario 2: An unscrupulous Third-Party Recruiter (Exec Search Consultant / Headhunter / etc.) may have submitted your resume to a position without your approval. Yes, there are dirty recruiters out there that will do this in order to get the "OK" to work on a position. They may attach your resume in an email to the hiring manager stating, "I found this candidate who may be a good fit for your current opening", and then when they get a bite regarding your candidacy, the Third-Party Recruiter then says, "You're not going to believe this, but that candidate just failed a background check and I no longer feel right representing them", or "I'm sorry to inform you that the candidate just accepted another offer this morning" . . . "But don't worry because I have other candidates even better than them". In other words, your resume was literally utilized as a marketing piece for a dirty recruiter to fill the position through one of his/her own candidates . . . so that they may earn a fee on the placement. Trust me that I couldn't make this up — it happens every day and is a technique often taught to junior recruiters (particularly at the Large Big-Box Staffing Agencies) as the fastest way to get new business.
c. Scenario 3: You may have inadvertently submitted yourself to a position a Third-Party Recruiter is attempting to represent you for (as a Headhunter's job is to find the passive seeker and present them with an aura of mystery and confidentiality). When this happens, the Headhunter is almost always given the red light by HR. The reason for rejection normally sounds something like this: "That candidate has already submitted themselves to 4 open jobs - they don't even know what they are looking for". And you know what? For the most part, they're probably right.
Here's the elephant in the room: There is a perception of the boards that great candidates don't put their information out there for the world to see - most HR and Internal Recruiters believe that the best candidates are typically happy where they are and are not actively looking for a competitive opportunity. The other perception is that, at any given point in time, 10% of a given workforce is actively looking for a new opportunity, whether they are unhappy or improperly matched, etc. - the question most employers ask about this is, "Since this 10% makes up the majority of the job board resume database, is this the 10% wewant working for our company?"
I can personally say that while these perceptions are true 95% of the time, there are often anomalies. The truth be told, not everyone on the job boards is a mediocre candidate - it's just that it's hard to find the good apple in the bunch. Worse, the good apple is often seen with a skeptical eye. If you sleep with dogs, don't complain when HR or the Hiring Manager thinks you might have fleas.
Newsflash: The Job Boards don't want you to know this!!! Why? Because at the end of the day, they make their $$$$ by selling two things:
1. Access to the site by HR and Recruiters (meaning access to the 5 million resumes), and
2. Job advertisements.
The more people that post resumes on the site, the more they can 'cost-justify' their pricing. The best analogy I can draw is the nightclub concept — in order to get the guys to come and spend some serious cash, you have to load the club up with women (which normally occurs through the provision of free admission and/or free drinks until 11pm!) Without the women, the guys won't show up. In the same respect, a database of 5 million resumes is quite the attraction to HR and 3rd party recruiters.
Moral of the story: If you're going to put yourself on a board, at least put your contact info as 'Confidential' - it's a small conciliation, but at least communicates that you're aware of the Re-circulatory Garbage floating around in your midst.