When you have a job opening these days, you are likely to hear from a large number of job seekers, all of whom will send you documents containing a lot of sensitive information. The fact is that, if this data were to be inadvertently exposed, it could be a big problem for both you and them, so it's best to know what you're getting into and how you will handle all that data as you receive it.
With that in mind, the following suggestions may help you get a better grip on how you manage applicant data the next time you have an open position:
1) Understand what's at stake
What you may not realize when you put out the call for applicants is you're receiving a lot of sensitive data that isn't what people would normally consider a problem, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. It's not as though you're getting people's Social Security numbers or banking details during the recruiting phase, but even exposing information like name, contact details, job history and more can put candidates at risk.
2) Know your potential exposure risks
There are many ways a person's information can be exposed when you are using it to review their credentials, the SHRM advised. Your accounts could be hacked, but you might also just forward their email to the wrong person, print it out and leave it on a table for anyone to see or inadvertently expose data that can put an applicant at some risk.
3) Don't collect data you don't need
With this in mind, you should be proactive about writing into the job listing what information you actually want to collect, so applicants know what's necessary and what isn't, according to Zippia. While not totally foolproof, this means candidates are far less likely to send anything that creates needless risk for you or them, and you probably save everyone extra hassle.
4) Be careful what you talk about
Another way sensitive data can be exposed is in casual conversation, Zippia cautioned. For example, you might be discussing something with another person who's in on the hiring process and a third party (whether another coworker, someone at your favorite coffee shop, a listed reference, etc.) can overhear it. Again, it might be relatively harmless to expose certain information, but there are some details that can create risk.
5) Be proactive about keeping systems updated
You also have to be aware of technological risks such as data breaches in these cases (and many others!) so it's important to make sure all of your software platforms are fully updated on an ongoing basis, according iCIMIS. That means every piece of software from your applicant management systems, antivirus programs, device operating systems and so on should always be on the latest version.
6) Have a disaster recovery plan in place
Finally, for many businesses, being hit with a data breach is often a matter of "when" rather than "if," iCIMIS added. Consequently, you should already have a disaster recovery plan in place, and that should certainly include how you will handle past applicant data.