GDP-arrrggghhhh! Managing personal data in recruitment

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulations.  It’s hard to not groan at the very mention of this as it’s literally THE hot topic in business at the moment.  However, as dull or irrelevant as it may seem, you can’t afford to ignore it.

In recruitment, we’re in the privileged position of holding some of the most personal details of our candidates and employees, so it’s only right that we should have robust and trustworthy processes in place to protect that information – as many of us already do.  At Human we understand the importance of treating our candidates and clients with respect, so why should the way we handle their personal data be any different?

If you’re struggling to wade through the masses of guidance, information and noise around GDPR then here are some top tips to keep your recruitment compliant.

Audit your personal data

The easiest way to think about this is to ask yourself ‘can I justify why I need to hold a particular piece of data about someone?’  If the answer is yes then you’re in pretty safe territory.  If the answer is no, or you’re not sure, then you likely have some work to do.

It’s important to assess every piece of data you hold to be clear about its purpose and how long you can legally hold the data before it should be destroyed.  You should also look at your processes, for example standard application forms or reference request forms, to make sure they only ask for the minimum amount of essential information.  Anything else should be removed and no longer asked for.

Check how you’re collecting new data

We’re all familiar with that little tick box at the bottom of an online form we’ve filled in that offers the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of receiving marketing or other business communications.  Under the new GDPR regime, that box has got to go.

You need to have a specific purpose for the data you are collecting and applicants must proactively consent to you using their data for that purpose.  Whilst this means you cannot mass-target groups of applicants with marketing emails any more, it offers an opportunity to rebuild your database with quality data that is a true representation of areas that your audiences are interested in hearing about.

Be prepared for SARs (Subject Access Requests)

Your employees, and even applicants, can ask to see what data you hold on them.  Now is a great time to look at your systems and if you have multiple databases holding personal data, think about how you could consolidate them into one.  If you already have one master system, think about your housekeeping processes to make sure the data it holds is relevant and lawful.  Do you really need to keep that applicant data or appraisal from 14 years ago?

Don’t forget about your talent bank

We’re massive advocates of developing a talent bank for those candidates who come along who would be perfect in your business but you don’t yet have the right role for them.  If you’ve got a process in place, even if it’s just on an excel spreadsheet, then you need to revisit the data you are holding and the permissions that go with it.  The easiest way to do this is a quick email campaign asking whether these people would still like to remain in your talent bank and if they consent to receiving recruitment-related communications from you.

Most of all, don’t panic!

We’re already a sector that has great record-keeping so our data should be pretty easy to work through.  A simple plan of action will make sure you can methodically check your compliance, with the added bonus of some housekeeping that you’ve probably been meaning to get around to anyway.

We get to know our candidates beyond just what their CV tells us which means that when we recommend a candidate to you, we know their character, values and skillset will match your organisation as well as the role you’re recruiting to.  This means that you can be assured we’re only ever passing the highest quality of insight, based on robust data collection about the whole person when we share our candidate’s details with you.

If you have a role you’d like to talk to us about helping you fill then give one of our friendly team a call on 01709 717212.