Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions
The abbreviation GDPR stands for “General Data Protection Regulation” and refers to an EU-wide law on the collection, processing, and storage of personal data for specific purposes.
Since the law came into force, companies have been faced with changed requirements regarding the systems and processes used for recruiting and applicant management, as well as data protection and data security.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018 and has since regulated the treatment of personal data in accordance with EU law.
No. The GDPR does not cover all relevant topics related to data protection and should therefore be applied alongside national laws and regulations.
Which specific laws apply depends on the country in question. For example, a separate law exists in Germany, called the Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (or BDSG, meaning Federal Data Protection Act). This act has existed since 1977 but was updated in May 2018 to supplement the GDPR.
On the European Commission’s information portal, personal data is defined as follows:
“Personal data is any information that relates to an identified or identifiable living individual.” The GDPR further stipulates that “different pieces of information, which collected together can lead to the identification of a particular person, also constitute personal data.”
As stated in Article 4 of the EU GDPR, identification in this context refers to “factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of a natural person”.
The GDPR law only deals with data in relation to natural persons. Based on this definition, the following data are considered personal by the GDPR:
Data relating to legal persons, i.e., companies, societies or associations, are not considered personal and are therefore not covered by this law.
Examples of non-personal data:
First and foremost, data protection in line with the GDPR is so important because if personal data falls into the wrong hands it can cause serious damage. Think of misuse of candidate data, fines for companies in the event of violations, financial damage, and so on).
Furthermore, awareness of the value and need for protection of personal data is steadily growing in society. A company that demonstrates awareness, expertise, and professional handling of data can score points as a considerate employer. This can help boost the employer image and ensure trustful interaction with employees and potential team members alike.
The General Data Protection Regulation consists of a total of 11 chapters with 99 articles covering the collection, storage, and processing of personal data. Recruiters should be particularly familiar with the following articles.
Even without in-depth knowledge of the GDPR, the following measures can be taken to ensure a compliant application process.
Applicants must be informed about how their personal data will be handled and what their rights are in this respect. For example, for applications via the company’s own career site or through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) a clearly visible reference to the data protection policy can be placed on the page. In case of unsolicited applications or applications via job boards, the relevant documents could be attached to the confirmation of receipt.
If active sourcing is needed, only data that potential candidates have published themselves and thus made available publicly and voluntarily may be collected. Candidate research should therefore only take place via professional networks, like LinkedIn, and never via personal social media.
Personal data may only be collected and processed for a specific purpose. The purpose is to determine the candidate’s qualifications and cultural suitability for employment within a company. Consequently, the questions asked during the interview process should only relate to this and not ask for any unnecessary details and data.
As explained, according to Article 30 of the GDPR you should ensure that all data processing activities are recorded in the directory.
Background checks may be tempting and sometimes very meaningful, but they are extremely questionable from a legal point of view. After all, they constitute data collection beyond the original purpose and therefore violate the principle of necessity. There are some exceptions in this area, but these are rare.
While consent is not required for self-initiated participation in the selection process under the GDPR, explicit consent must be given for inclusion in the talent pool. However, recruiters should only propose inclusion in the talent pool after a rejection.
The principle of free choice applies here. With the application, the candidate has already decided to become part of a company and would therefore no longer have any alternative choices. The situation is different after a rejection.
The storage of personal data according to the GDPR can also be a problematic matter, as there is no official time limit for this. Therefore, it is advisable to check the desired data storage in the talent pool at regular intervals (approximately one year). Alternatively, the data can be automatically deleted after one year but giving the candidate the option to renew or delete it.
The GDPR requires a lot of attention and in-depth knowledge of data protection and the law. So how can companies ensure compliance without this knowledge?
By choosing one of the following options:
According to Article 37 of the GDPR, every organisation must appoint (and publicly announce) a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to ensure legally compliant data processing. With the help of our free GDPR Data Protection Officer job description template, you can make your search easier and find competent and talented professionals faster.
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Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
An Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, is digital software that assists in the recruiting and hiring process.
Employer branding is the practice of managing and influencing your employer brand to attract, recruit and retain employees.
Shortlisting is the process of identifying candidates from the applicant pool that best meet the requirements and criteria of a job posting and who will be moved forward in the recruiting process.
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