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GDPR and the UK Recruitment Industry

September 6, 2017

I’ve had a lot of conversations this year with recruiters in relation to data protection in general, and the way the industry handles candidate information in particular.

 

As a former recruiter myself and a long-time advocate for data and information privacy, I feel quite strongly about this, so felt moved to write a blog post on the subject.

 

There is plenty to the ‘carrot vs stick’ issue relating to the GDPR; the media loves a juicy story with which to beat industries and companies about the head, so we have seen headlines about the fines that the new legislation will bring, and how this could spell financial disaster for small businesses.

 

Non-Compliance Is Not an Option

I consult to micro businesses and SMEs, and I have to agree that non-compliance is definitely not an option.

 

The REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) have recognised that the GDPR will affect all recruitment businesses, and have even gone so far as to issue guidance on their website, albeit this is a bit thin.

 

They seem to have missed the point about excessive processing. I would say this is an essential criticism most candidates have of the recruitment industry today.

 

APSCo (the Association of Professional Staffing Companies) offer some slightly more in-depth advice, including the need for transparency, and Recruiter Cover (an industry insurance broker) have also homed in on the changes.

 

Consent & Data Breaches

These articles, and many other posts and discussions that I have read on the topic, still seem to be focusing on consent and data breaches, and are missing some key points on how the recruitment industry fundamentally operates that will come under scrutiny with GDPR - I’d like to refer to the actual wording of the legislation at this point.

 

From my perspective, and for this post, the following are glaring errors which has yet to be acknowledged and addressed in relation to the impact GDPR will have on the recruitment industry.

 

I’ll start with the content of Article 5 and Article 6; Article 5 contains the core principles of the GDPR, and Article 6 is concerned with lawfulness of processing.

 

What’s That Saying About Assumption?

Setting aside the online job applicants who swiftly become candidates and proceed through a job selection process for a second, let’s think about the unsucce