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Data Privacy: How to Build Trust with Your Candidates
Thursday, Sep 13, 2018

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.

Candidates Care About Their Data

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.

Privacy is Part of the Candidate Experience

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.

Data Privacy: A Cause Candidates Believe In?

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:

  • Create a candidate bill or rights. Recruitment teams should sit with IT to codify their beliefs and values in a candidate bill of rights. Discuss what is and isn’t an acceptable use of candidate data. Use company culture and values to inform what gets included. Your candidate bill of rights should guide the way your organization uses data and set clear expectations for candidates.

 

  • Be transparent. Before they apply, share with candidates what data they will be expected to share about themselves and why. Recruitment teams are intimately familiar with the complexities and processes they use throughout the hiring process – candidates don’t necessarily share this same insight. In an online world where privacy concerns are at the forefront of candidates’ minds, reassure candidates about how their data will be used and why it’s necessary.

 

  • Use GDPR as a framework. Compliance with GDPR regulation goes a long way to making sure your candidates have increased transparency and control over their data. Keep in mind most candidates won’t know the significance or impact of compliance. It’s up to your organization to translate the efforts you’ve taken in a way your candidates will appreciate.

 

  • Focus on agile recruitment tech. Recruitment shouldn’t be rigid and inflexible. Look for recruitment tools that empower your team to adapt as your business grows and needs shift. Alone, your applicant tracking system (ATS) cannot choose how you address data security, but it can make it safer and more transparent.