Are job applications confidential?

This article is recommended for individuals at any stage of their careers


Having spent years in the recruitment industry, I fully grasp the gravity of confidentiality in the job search process. Job seekers often raise concerns about the privacy of the personal details they provide throughout their application journey.

In Australia, our privacy climate is guided by a set of laws and regulations designed to protect personal information. However, it's vital to delve into the details that relate to job applications specifically.

In this article, I will explore the realm of job application confidentiality within the Australian context. I aim to explain the legal foundation and set practices that envelop this critical subject matter.


The privacy act & job applications | Are job applications confidential?

The privacy act & job applications

In Australia, the Privacy Act 1988 governs the handling of personal information by entities covered by the Act. This includes most private sector organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, as well as some other specific types of entities such as health service providers and credit reporting bodies.

The Privacy Act sets out the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), which outline how personal information should be collected, used, stored, and shared.

Job applications usually involve the collection and handling of personal information, such as resumes, cover letters, references, and contact details. According to the Privacy Act, organisations collecting personal information are overall required to inform individuals about the reason for collection, how the information will be used, and to whom it may be shared.

Confidentiality obligations of employers

Employers in Australia have a responsibility to handle job applicants' personal information with care and maintain its confidentiality.

This means that employers should take proper steps to protect the personal information collected during the application process from unauthorised access, use, or sharing.

Employers should also ensure that job applicants are made aware of how their personal information will be used and any sharing that may occur.

While employers are bound to maintain confidentiality, there may be times when disclosure is needed or allowed.

For example, an employer may need to share applicant information with relevant staff involved in the hiring process, conduct background checks, or verify qualifications.

Additionally, employers may be legally required to share certain information with government agencies or regulatory bodies.

Confidentiality obligations of employers

Third-party involvement | Are job applications confidential?

Third-party involvement

In some cases, employers may engage third-party service providers to assist with the recruitment process.

These providers could include recruitment agencies, background checking companies, or HR software platforms.

When engaging third parties, employers must ensure they have appropriate contractual arrangements in place to safeguard personal information and comply with privacy duties.

It is important for job applicants to be aware that their personal information may be shared with these third parties as part of the recruitment process.

Keeping job applications confidential

Job applicants also have a role to play in safeguarding the confidentiality of their personal information during the application process. Here are some steps applicants can take:

Be careful when sharing personal information: Only give necessary information on job applications, such as contact details, qualifications, and relevant work experience.

Research the employer's privacy practices: Before submitting an application, familiarise yourself with the organisation's privacy policy to understand how they handle personal information.

Seek clarification: If you have concerns about the handling of your personal information during the application process, don't be hesitant to ask the employer for clarification or seek advice from relevant authorities.

Keeping job applications confidential

Conclusion | Are job applications confidential?


In Australia, job applications are generally treated with confidentiality, and employers are legally obliged to handle personal information responsibly.

The Privacy Act creates guidelines that employers must adhere to when collecting, using, storing, and sharing personal information obtained during the application process.

While confidentiality is expected, there may be instances where limited disclosure is necessary or permitted.

Job applicants should also take reasonable precautions to protect their personal information when applying for positions.

By understanding the legal framework and taking active steps, individuals can navigate the job application process with greater confidence in the protection of their privacy.

Are you looking for a job?

Are you looking for a job?

Now that you understand whether job applications are confidential, you should take a moment to check our current vacancies page.

At 11 Recruitment, we have a range of white-collar temp and perm jobs available. We're always on the lookout for top talent to place with our clients, so we encourage you to apply for any positions that are of interest.

If none of our current vacancies are right for you, you should register for job alerts. Then we’ll be able to notify you when we receive a position that matches your profile.

Christian Madsen

What are your thoughts?

I'd love to have a conversation with you about this topic - please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or opinions 🙂

Christian Madsen

Managing Director of 11 Recruitment

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