CWS 3.0: February 20, 2013


Who Will Own Candidate Data?

The collection, processing and retention of candidate data is a key feature of most types of recruitment and job exchanges. Historically, recruitment companies have taken particular pride in their candidates’ data. And every year sees a vast increase in the amount of data available about clients, consumers and candidates (including independent contractors), from a vast array of media, on an increasingly global basis.

Recruiters are increasingly using social media sites such as LinkedIn to find potential candidates. Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google will be increasingly using all sorts of algorithms which may assist recruiters to find passive candidates. With the advent of additional sources for identifying candidates, some hirers are looking to rely solely on that source for some types of candidates and dispense entirely with human recruitment consultants.

Big data is a topic high on the agenda for many businesses regardless of size or function (including hirers and recruiters) but are the benefits of all this new data clear? Hirers and suppliers worry a lot about data protection laws in Europe; an incident in 2011 when a staff member of Hays, a U.K. recruitment company, accidentally disclosed pay pates for 3,000 contractors in an e-mail to 800 Royal Bank of Scotland employees is a sign of what can happen when control of data goes wrong.

“One constant theme at the moment is who ‘owns’ candidate data, with legislators, regulators and candidates probably not always having the same view as recruiters and hirers as to what can and cannot be collected by them from new media, what can be retained by them and how it can be used,” says Sue Gold, a data privacy and information attorney from Osborne Clarke, an international law firm.

Here are some key issues Gold says recruiters and hirers should consider:

  • If there are new laws about what data can be used for and by whom, how will that affect the recruitment process, and how much will it add to the cost of recruitment and introduction?
  • Can MSPs and RPOs “take” data from recruitment companies, professional networking sites and exchanges?
  • Can recruitment companies use personal data of candidates gleaned by their consultants from candidates’ personal use of networking sites?
  • If recruiters and exchanges cannot treat the data they collect as owned by them, will that affect company earnings and enterprise value?

There are a number of other legal issues likely to be of relevance to program managers and recruiters which include cloud computing, data collection and retention, mobile apps, security and ownership of data. All of these are highly topical in the world of recruitment and online exchanges as hirers and recruiters search for passive candidates, segment and process personal data for purposes which the candidates would not necessarily have consented to had they been asked, and do that processing in parts of the world and via the cloud in ways which they would never have imagined.

“In addition, many of the changes being proposed under the draft Data Protection Regulation in Europe will also have a significant impact,” Gold explains, “including the introduction of security breach notification requirements, potential fines of 2 percent of global revenue and the introduction of the ‘Right to be Forgotten,’ which could give candidates the right to have all their data deleted.”

In order to offer a clear and balanced perspective, Osborne Clarke researched how consumers want their data managed and where they see the value exchange. In addition it was equally important to know the challenges being faced today by businesses and public sector organizations. Features of the resulting report (The Data Gold Rush Report: Growing and protecting your position in the data ecosystem) include consumer research on attitudes to data exploitation (Ipsos Mori surveyed 5,000 consumers in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy and France), input from leading private and public sector organizations with European operations, and analysis from Osborne Clarke’s European offices analyzing how to deal with legal challenges in exploiting data. The report also contains advice on what contingent workforce managers need to be aware of to help shape their strategy and give consideration to the right issues at the right time. Click here to access the report.


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