Lots of Data

What HR has to do with data protection

Lesezeit: 4 Minuten

Collecting and processing personal data of users in the internet is not as easy than before. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPA) concerns everyone and so does Human Resources. Whilst HR continuously deals with personal data in recruiting, employer branding and the onboarding process, there are several touchpoints they need to have a closer look on.

The internet with the human face

Maciej Ceglowski already talked about the usage of personal data in his speech at beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf 2014. The internet with a human face was the title of his keynote, which drew attention to a topic most people didn’t think a lot about. Since May 2018, the European Union enforced the GDPR which handles the usage of personal data in the internet. The GDPR seems to be a milestone in the young history of big data. Users leave their data every day, every second in the world wide web and have no awareness where their data could be used. With the GDPR the European Union took a first step in the right direction. Read more about the GDPR and its impact on the data protection in the blog post of Philipp.

The web has a center

The web as we know it today has a center. Think about the most dominant search engine which also accomplished to be already a verb (to google = to search something in the internet), or the most prominent social network Facebook which takes over similar businesses when they get to popular. Big companies have the power to centralize which leads to a few points of control and makes it more difficult to follow your data. In HR, such a giant would be SAP. With SAP companies can work on recruiting, administration, pay roll, talent and organization management, just to name a view modules.

Everyone is spying

Imagine looking for a new job opportunity. You might look on an established career platform, inform yourself about the working environment on evaluation websites or on company’s social media presences and read in forums. You might leave one or two comment somewhere, or probably forgot to restrict your privacy settings. When you apply for a position, you send you application with your personal data to a recruiter. The recruiter, now knowing who you are and what you are going to plan in the future, can check the web for further information which might make you more transparent than you offered him already.

In Facebook, HR might see if you have liked the last postings of the company, or which other groups and pages you follow. XING and LinkedIn offer a good possibility to check which connections the applicant have and again, which groups he or she follows. Special HR software allows head hunter to screen a user’s way to communicate in social media platforms, so he can use their tone of voice to interact with them in the most comfortable way. Everyone is spying and there could be found data everywhere in the web.

The web remembers a lot

Maciej Ceglowski talked about his childhood memories and how adults threatened kids that everything bad they were doing is going on their permanent records. Not that wrong if you compare it to the storage capacity of nowadays computers anymore. Programmers are toughed to work on good storage techniques and make data available whenever and wherever you want.

In HR a recruiter could profit from this long-term storage of data. Let’s take the example of a person who applied for the position as accountant in 2013. This person was invited for a personal interview, answered many questions and finally was rejected due to some circumstances which the applicant mostly not get to know. But the recruiter took his notes and saved them in the applicants file which nowadays is anyways online in an HR software. In 2018, the same person applies again, but now for the position as sales manager. The recruiter immediately can check the details from the previous application and can compare the notes without talking to the person five years after the rejection. Why is someone applying at first as an accountant and five years later as a sales manager? Is he still so exaggerating and exhausting while talking? Does he still have this weird manner to chuckle after every sentence?

Since GDPR all this is past. For the recruiters it is a pity since he has to train his ability to remember the applicants in detail over years now 😉 For applicants it is a new possibility to get a second first impression and to eradicate his previous behavior.

New ways to attract job seekers

Big data allows new ways of advertising. Not just for new parfums or cars, even job platforms jump on creative ideas to gain more qualified applications. A big job platform in Austria is currently working on the idea to place a job ad in online flea markets, between used car ads and new properties, or could it be while finding an used lawnmower? The company analyzes the profiles of potential new employees and figure out what they are doing in their free time, what they are looking for when they are at home. Like a software developer, who has a passion for Italian motorcycles. Whilst looking for an used Vespa, he gets a job ad for a position as developer displayed. The goal is to catch the user and make him considering changing the job as well … not just the means of transportation.

Be aware of your data

What Maciej Ceglowski demanded in 2014 is implemented partly in 2018 via GDPR. The European Union did a first step. The other nations still need to follow to make it easier and more transparent for users to know what happen with their data. HR deals with personal data the whole day and should be aware of handling this data carefully. Because even guys in HR are users in the world wide web and leave marks.


Pictures from @pexels



Silvia Sprügl

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