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Operational Excellence

Taking cue from Google’s new privacy policy in candidate database sharing

Google has recently changed its privacy policy. Instead of different policies for different products and in different countries, it has created a single policy. For a recruitment company that maintains a candidate database, privacy policy is also a key consideration.

Typically, a recruitment company has to have approval of a candidate before they can use their information and retain their information in the system. Every country has different privacy policy. In Europe, the policies are typically tighter especially in southern europe. In Asia, the policies are more relaxed or the laws are less evolved to protect rights. For recruitment companies that have offices internationally, this meant managing as many privacy policies.

There are limitations to maintaining local privacy policies. Most importantly, this meant that candidate information cannot be shared easily even if candidates want to be considered for positions abroad. Taking the lead from google, having a single privacy policy can be achieved. It will not only simplify the process but also allows for sharing of data. Potentially, the database can also be turned into an asset that provides valuable information on trends, candidate behavior etc.

How is creating a single privacy policy useful? As the main use of candidate database is in looking for suitable candidates for open jobs, the most important consideration is if it facilitates this. For a recruitment company that targets blue collar workers or administrative skills, this can be less useful since candidates are usually not mobile. It is more important for a recruitment company that targets middle to senior management level candidates or young graduates. Theses job applicants are usually mobile and willing to consider overseas position when the occasion arises. In some cases, the skills are concentrated in some countries. Allowing candidate sharing will help local offices tap into talents elsewhere.

There are some companies that already uses single privacy policy such as Even though it is an online job positing and application system and not a recruitment company, the same principles apply. Some potential considerations to creating a single privacy policy.

– Consider if a single privacy policy is possible. From the examples of some companies, I would say this is entirely possible. Look at google.
– Are there privacy considerations that are unique in some countries that cannot be excluded? If so, add them as part of the single privacy as a note for “x” country only.
– Using the change in policy as as a marketing initiative to invite candidates to update their records.

All things considered, the politics of the company and inter-country database sharing cannot be ignored. But once this is enabled, the rest is management.

About Jas Chong

Organisation change and transformation.


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