Blinded Resume Proposal Submissions – Am I locked in?

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Firms are starting to be very aggressive to identify potential candidates when bidding on a proposal.  Most formal requests for proposals (RFP) ask for a representation of potential candidates in multiple modules and/or roles.  It’s likely you’ve received a call from a recruiter to be added to an RFP as a potential candidate.  The question I receive most often is, “Am I locked in to this submittal with just this firm?”  The answer is no.

Proposals are typically sent to dozens of potential firms.  State owned organizations have to open an RFP to everyone and anyone who may be interested in responding.  Private organizations may limit the offer to bid to a smaller group, but typically is still a lot of firms.  No firm can state that you are “locked in” with them as they haven’t officially won the bid at the time of your submittal.

Think of this example.  Consultant firm Z calls you for an Epic Ambulatory analyst role.  They are bidding on a large RFP and would like to submit you proactively as part of their response.  You agree to the terms of employment and would like to be submitted.  However, several other firms start to call you.  You can, and should, allow other firms to submit you.  Your submittal is blinded, so your name is not showing on the RFP.  Should firm Z lose the bid, hopefully you’ve expressed interest with other firms. I suggest being open and honest to all recruiters and let them know you’ve approved a blinded submittal by firm Z, but are open to other firms should they not be selected.

I’ve heard the argument that this could be considered duplicate submittal and therefore is immediately disqualified.  No potential client would consider an RFP response with representative resumes to be considered duplicates, as no firm(s) have been awarded the bid as of yet.  A duplicate bid is when you allow two or more firms to submit you for the same job, and they are submitting your resume with your full name.

To make it clear, firms almost always submit blinded resumes primarily because by the time a RFP is awarded, candidates that were represented on the response may no longer be available.  There are exceptions, usually for leadership roles.  If you are going to be submitted for a Director or PM level role, the firm may elect to submit you directly…meaning your resume is not blinded and discloses all your information.  Another example is you are a long term salaried employee for the firm.  In these cases, you would not want any other firm to submit you.

Don’t be tricked into believing that just because one recruiter has convinced you to be submitted for an RFP that you are locked in.  Recruiters are commissioned, and it is a very competitive market.  They will try to convince you that if you agree to be represented by their firm, you can’t allow others to do the same.  This just doesn’t apply to proactive submissions where your resume is blinded.

Finally, be proactive yourself when talking to recruiters.  Ask the question, “are you submitting a blinded resume or officially submitting me with my full information?” Don’t sign any right to represent form, they are only sending in a blinded resume…and likely with dozens of other potential candidates.

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