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Are Candidates Aware They’re Being ‘Kept On File?’

“We’ll keep your details on file…” is one of the most overused terms within recruitment.

Usually, candidates who were unsuccessful within their interview are used to being told their details will be ‘kept on file’ — on the off chance, another suitable new role will arise. However is there any truth to this sentiment or is it used simply as a silver lining to help overcome a candidates disappointment?

If an employer is serious about keeping a candidate’s details on file, is it with their consent?

We explore the best practice for employers and recruiters considering holding on to these all-important details.

As an employer or recruiter, you will now need to prove you have a candidates consent to store their details. To achieve this, a simple email is sufficient to ask candidates (past and present) to ‘opt-in’ and remain on the database to ensure their CV is kept on file for any potential new job roles.

For those who choose to opt-out, it’s critical their information is removed promptly and efficiently to remain compliant with data protection guidelines. As candidate consent is only proved through opting in, presume that those who don’t reply wish for their details to be removed.

Top Tip… You can also use this email as a chance to reconnect with past candidates. Offer an option for those who gave their consent the opportunity to resubmit a new and updated CV. Their previous CV may be outdated and not a true reflection of their current capabilities.

Do they have a choice?

Yes. All candidates have the right to decide how their data is stored (or not stored) and they must be provided with the right tools to do so. This means instead of the employer or recruiter making the decision to keep someone on file — the candidate has this power. They can choose whether or not they want to be considered for future roles or receive information for appropriate new job vacancies.

As an employer, you need to take accountability for the data you store and depriving candidates of this choice can be detrimental to your business.

How long will you keep hold of the data?

Whilst there is no specific timescale for how long you should store candidate data, there is a recommendation to, ‘only keep data as long as the necessary purpose for which it is being processed.’

This means it’s up to you to determine the length of time you think is appropriate to hold on to a candidates CV. According to research, the average time frame to find a job is 23.8 days. However, this varies considerably depending on the industry, salary and experience a candidate holds. Therefore you could play it safe and consider only storing data within a 6-12 month time period because any longer than this and the likelihood the candidate is still seeking a new role is significantly reduced.

Remember it’s important to have a process in place to remove candidates from your database during and after the 12 month time period. For example, a candidate may want to withdraw their CV early and no longer wish to be considered for future roles, due to recent employment.

Offer justification & transparency

Explain WHY. Why are you collecting the data? Will it be shared with any third parties? (think Cambridge Analytica and the Facebook scandal…) How will the information be used and what data is being collected? All the answers to these questions can be included within your privacy policy. This will provide candidates with clarity and ensure they have full control over their own personal data.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @CiiVSOFT.

Read our latest blog post: Is a ‘gut feeling’ enough to make hiring decisions?

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