The use of NDAs in a recruitment process
We have found over the last couple of years a greater requirement for candidates to sign an NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement) and this has prompted several queries from people who have been unfamiliar with the process. Here’s a brief guide!
Why are they used?
Otherwise known as a Confidentiality Agreement, an NDA is a legal contract used to prevent the sharing of sensitive information, normally for a specific period of time. Often used commercially to protect information regarding product patents etc. they can also be used in recruitment when it is important to control the sharing of information about certain vacancies.
This could be for several reasons – the company may be undergoing a restructure or opening new units and don’t want detailed information to be disseminated amongst the wider market and their competitors. They may need to hold back certain key pieces of information until other matters are resolved, for instance, contracts signed on property locations. It could be due to people moving roles internally but used before it is announced to the wider business for example. Or perhaps the launching of a new product or concept. In all these situations the client wishes to control the level of information with candidates which is not in the public domain.
What does it mean?
Simply, it is a contract in which you (the Candidate) agree not to share any information regarding the particular company, vacancy, location (the scope of which is outlined in the agreement). This is normally for a specified period of time.
Once you have signed it, the company or the agency representing them, are then in a position to disclose the details of the company and/or vacancy.
How does the process work?
From an agency perspective, when briefing you on a confidential vacancy, we will explain that the role is highly confidential and before we can disclose any details, we require all candidates to sign an NDA. (We are normally in a position to disclose some element of the opportunity so we know we are not wasting your time!). The NDA will be emailed to you and you will then read and confirm. Once it is received, you will then receive a call to go through the opportunity in full detail, as normal.
Clearly, you need to respect the terms of the NDA and not disclose any details for the period specified. Whether you are interested in the role or not and whether you are successful or not you need to continue to keep the information confidential for the period of the agreement.