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“Scrubbing CV’s” – it is ILLEGAL

“Scrubbing CV’s” – it is ILLEGAL

You, the client, email 3 – 5 recruitment agencies. The “TO” field is blank, or you have addressed it to yourself, but in BCC are your most “dependable recruiters.

The email is received by your trusty recruiter and the first thing she or he does is jump onto a job board and conduct a keyword search. “Accountant” + “Cape Town” + “500k” + “available immediately”. That same trusty recruiter then puts a CV onto a company letterhead and emails it back to you. In many cases, the trusty recruiter has not even contacted the candidate.

You see, there is just enough information on the job board for the recruiter to know that it is likely that the candidate would be interested in the job. And who would not be, in this job scarce environment.

Now you might be thinking, “super, I have CVs delivered to my inbox, same day! Great service….”

This is what we in the executive search industry like to call “scrubbing”. It is worse than washing week-old dirty dishes under lockdown. And unlike washing dishes, it is illegal. ILLEGAL. Do not pass begin, do not collect R200.00, go straight to jail (or maybe just pay a little fine Mzanzi).

But, in South Africa (and globally) there is the small matter of the POPI Act – Protection of Personal Information Act, which eruditely states: “personal information may only be processed with consent”. With consent being the operative word here. It is like a marriage, or a friendship, or any relationship – it’s consensual. Get it? Consent! The Act also provides for inter alia, the following:

1. Processing Limitation:
  • Information about a client and/or candidate must be processed lawfully.
  • The information must be processed in a manner that does not intrude on the privacy of the client and/or candidate.
  • Personal information may only be processed if the client and/or candidate provide their consent, except where we (AltGen) are required to do so by law.
2. Purpose Specific:
  • Candidates and/or client’s information must be collected for a specific purpose, which is properly defined and for legitimate reasons.
  • Clients and/or candidates must be made aware of the purpose of the collection of the information in accordance with point 5 – “Transparency / Openness”.
  • Personal information may not be retained any longer than is necessary for achieving the purpose for which the information was collected unless the client and/or candidate has consented to the retention of the personal information.
3. Limitation on Further Processing:
  • Personal information may not be processed further in a way that is incompatible with the purpose for which the information was collected initially.
  • AltGen collects personal information for recruitment and will only use collected personal information for this purpose unless written consent is obtained from the client and/or candidate should the need arise for it to be used for another purpose.
4. Information Quality:
  • Employees collecting personal information from clients and/or candidates must take proper steps to ensure that the information is complete, accurate, current, and not misleading in any way.
5. Transparency / Openness:
  • Personal information may only be collected if the client and/or candidate have been made aware of the information being collected, where the information is not being collected from the client and/or candidate the source from which it is collected must be made known to the client and/or candidate.
  • The purpose for which the information is being collected must be disclosed to the client and/or candidate.
  • Clients and/or candidates whose personal information we (AltGen) are collecting either directly or through other sources must be informed of who we are and be provided with our details.
6. Security Safeguards:
  • Technical and organisational measures must be in place to secure the integrity of personal information and to guard against the risk of loss, damage, or destruction thereof.
  • Personal information must also be protected against any unauthorised or unlawful access or processing.
  • Clients and/or candidates must be made aware as soon as reasonably possible after the discovery of a compromise of their personal information being accessed or acquired by any unauthorized person.
7. Participation of Individuals:
  • Clients and/or candidates, upon providing adequate proof of identity, are entitled to know particulars of their personal information held by us and are also entitled to know all third parties, or categories of third parties, who have, or have had, access to their information.
  • They are also entitled to correct any information held by us or request that it is disregarded after using the information for the initial purpose.
8. Accountability:
  • Employees will be held accountable for the management/implementation of the points listed above.

So, at the end of the day, it comes down to ethics, respect, and accountability. It is up to the recruitment agency to ensure best practices are adhered to, but it is up to you as the direct employer to ensure that your chosen service provider is legally compliant, after all – it’s a matter of association!

Sean Gibson

Managing Director

“AltGen is all about effecting change, through people. With integrity, and passion”. 

Managing Director and Founder of the AltGen’ Group. Sean has played a pivotal role in steering and leading the vision and mission of AltGen, making AltGen the only highly specialist renewable energy recruitment firm operating within the renewable energy and sustainability space in Africa. Sean oversees the success of the entire group of AltGen companies.

Sean holds a Master of Philosophy in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch University as well as an Honours degree from Rhodes University

Robert Veith

Sales Director

“Without quality and intelligent effort, there is no success and no reward.”

Joining AltGen in 2014, Robert started as a Recruitment Consultant and has since become our Recruitment Director overseeing the Recruitment and Executive Search division. Robert has extensive experience in securing talent for rare skills in the energy engineering market, including skills to the likes of Power System Engineers, SCADA Engineers, Project Developers and Electrical Engineering skills specific to design.

Through Robert’s leadership, each recruitment team is enabled to focus on their specific area of expertise, ensuring all client hiring needs are met. Through Robert’s years of dedication to sourcing and securing top talent in the industry, he has a wealth of insight into the skills market and provides our clients with a competitive advantage in a scarce skills environment enabling them to effectively execute on some of the most challenging renewable energy projects across Africa. Robert is also responsible for growth of the engineering recruitment team.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management from UNISA as well as a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from CPUT.

Lindy Taylor

Business Development & Innovation Director

“The success of an organisation is defined by its people.”

As the Innovation & Business Development Manager, Lindy is responsible for the marketing and business development activities of AltGen. Through her big picture vision, Lindy has enabled AltGen to remain responsive in the cleantech space. She is responsible for engagements with new clients.
Lindy initially joined AltGen in 2015 and has grown into being an integral member of the senior management team. She ensures a collaborative approach with clients catering to their custom needs. Her focus is on attaining new clients, as well as handling contractual relationships with new and existing stakeholders.
Lindy holds a Bachelor’ Degree in Social Sciences from Rhodes University.

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Chris Roetz

Workforce Management Services: General Manager

“My goal is to deliver exceptional operational performance within AltGen – Northern Cape building on people, energy and sustainability”

Chris Roetz oversees AltGen’s Workforce Management division in the Northern Cape. He is responsible for the successful execution of HR advisory and management services for clients’ utility-scale projects in the region. Currently, Roetz mobilises an outsourced staff complement of over 200 employees. He also steers AltGen’s Solar Works programme in conjunction with his Pofadder based team.

Chris has 20 years of professional experience in an HR and outsourced staffing capacity within the energy environment and holds a National Diploma in Human Resource Management from UNISA.

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Muslim Janoowala

Consulting Services: Senior Consultant & Business Development Lead

“My focus is to be able to do impactful work, being in the front lines of the development sector finding solutions to safe and reliable drinking water, power and sanitation”

Muslim Janoowala drives AltGen’s consulting services arm. Muslim has 10+ years of experience in the renewable energy, water and general engineering space in Eastern Africa and has played an instrumental role in the success of AltGen consulting engagement on the AFD Green Mini-grid Programme in Kenya. His expertise caters to M&E activities, project management, impact analysis and assessments of funded water and renewable energy programmes that “enlighten” and uplift communities in rural Africa.

Muslim holds an MSc in Construction Management from Cass Business School and a Bachelor of Engineering in Architectural Environment Engineering from the University of Nottingham.

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Wiehahn de Jager

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Wiehahn de Jager has specialist recruitment expertise in the finance sector and has worked on various mandates for large international and national clients on both a retained and contingency basis. Wiehahn has gained an in-depth understanding of the professional skills operating within the capital markets, fin-tech, and green finance space, with a keen focus on talented professionals within the African context. He has a strong track record successfully working on a range of skill levels, from Directors to Analysts, with a special focus on professionals from mid-level up to Corporate Executives.

Wiehahn holds a Bachelor in Law from the University of Stellenbosch.

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Robert Slater

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“I love to serve people and be the steppingstone between them and their dream job.”

Robert Slater is an expert in the talent acquisition of carbon management, environmental and social governance-related professionals across Africa. Robert has successfully closed mandates for clients who are focused on sourcing skills with experience in climate change, clean cooking, sustainability, and agricultural environments.

Slater cares deeply for people and the planet, he has a Life Coach Training certification from New Insights and volunteers at ON A MISSION, an NPO which enables businesses and individuals to invest in carbon offset projects. He holds an Honours Degree in Environmental Management from UNISA.

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Natascha Marais


“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. I look for people who want to change the world and introduce them to like-minded companies.”

Natascha Marais is highly skilled when it comes to sourcing those “unicorns” for our clients in the OEM, AI and technology, economic development, and legal spaces.

Natascha has proven experience in identifying and onboarding professionals to the likes of business developers, sales, and account managers as well as technical sales or software developer skills.

Marais holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Law from Pearson Institute.


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