Candidates submit their personal information to employers for a very specific purpose: they want a job. The understanding between candidates and employers is that this personal information is necessary to make an informed hiring decision.
They expect employers to keep this data safe and confidential regardless of what it entails or how it was collected. Candidate data represents an implicit trust between employer and job seeker; it should be used for the purpose of recruitment and nothing else.
There’s a strong business reason to handle candidate data with respect and care. According to TrustArc, 89 percent of Americans avoid companies that don’t protect their privacy. Their biggest concern? Companies that collect and share personal information with other companies. In fact, more Americans are concerned about not knowing how their personal information is used than losing their primary source of income.
That last bit may sound counterintuitive but consider the lasting impact of losing a job versus losing personal information. Getting a job is stressful, but there’s more or less a clear path to go about getting a new one.
How does someone clean up personal information that’s been lost or shared with parties unknown? That’s assuming you know it was lost or stolen in the first place. The answer sounds scary and far more permanent. The idea that your information was mishandled by an organization you trusted enough to want to work for may be even scarier still.
Ninety-five percent of applicants agree the way a potential employer treats them as a candidate is a reflection of how they’ll be treated as an employee. That’s a stark reminder about the outsize impact candidate experience has on so many areas of a business. From brand perception to employee morale, candidate experience affects it all.
Now consider if applicants feel their information can’t or won’t be handled in a manner with which they’re comfortable. Whatever the cause, the result is not favorable for the hiring organization. Candidates are not only less likely to apply, they’re less likely to take the job if offered one.
It’s not enough for employers to protect candidate data; they need to show they’re actively doing so. Therein lies an opportunity: when it comes to candidate experience, most organizations tread the beaten path. They focus on things like company culture and benefits.
But what happens when candidates want to apply to your company but don’t feel safe doing so? Demonstrating the value of candidate data rights is a differentiator for employers willing to draw a line in the sand.
In an age where candidates (especially younger ones) look at brands to set an example and stand up for what they believe in, candidate data rights represent a huge opportunity. It may not be glamorous, but it is near universal in appeal. Candidates want to know they’re valued. Actively working to protect their data communicates that your organization has their best interests at heart.
Don’t think you’re off the hook if your company doesn’t sell to or engage directly with consumers. Your business is powered by people. People want to work for brands they trust. Your talent pools can dry up even if your finances don’t feel an immediate impact.
There’s no one way to tackle data security. Challenges to the safe storage, transfer and use of data are constantly evolving. Here’s just a few ways to get ahead of the conversation internally, as well as with candidates:
Alex Oliver is a Content Writer at iCIMS with experience in brand storytelling and content marketing strategy. He also has a keen eye for strong copy and well-placed commas. When not at work, Alex can be found torturing his mind and body at the nearest obstacle course race.