GDPR: Is it a huge headache for recruitment firms?

Recruitment companies struggling to get around restrictions on computer profiling of candidates.

New GDPR rules means that recruitment firms could face huge issues with the way they screen candidates.

Currently, over half of recruitment companies use automated resume screening, according to careers site Workopolis.

GDPR rules, which come into effect on 25 May, will give people the right to not be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

What is automated profiling?

According to the ICO, automated decision-making is a decision made by automated means with no human involvement. This could be a recruitment aptitude test which uses pre-programmed algorithms and criteria. Automated individual decision-making doesn’t have to involve profiling, although it often will do.

What can companies do?

Many recruitment firms successfully use automated profiling to increase the speed and efficiency of their business. So what can recruitment firms do to ensure they do not pay a huge fine when the new rules come into effect?

Graham Hansen, an associate at HRC Law, told GrowthBusiness that the new rules would pose a problem. He said, ‘There will have to be additional safeguards and more human interaction between recruitment companies and candidates to deal with the new rules.’

The nature of recruitment means that speed and number of candidates is all important as firms compete to be the first to place candidates.

Hansen says there are ways around the new rules.

‘The recruitment company could ask a candidate for consent to be profiled via automation… this could take the form of a tick box or email,’ he said. ‘Or somebody at the recruitment company could provide human support as candidates will have a right to have a human discussion if they are rejected for a job.’

One senior recruiter said the new rules were a ‘real pain’. He added, ‘Some firms will fall foul of the law this year and next.’

Valuable data could be lost

Robert Dagge, MD at Dynistics said the greatest challenge for recruiters would be the large amount of data they hold on candidates. ‘Consultancies’ Bring your own device policies will have to be addressed, as employees accessing emails containing client/candidate personal data could pose issues. There is no denying that that GDPR will diminish the stacks of candidate data that recruiters have a tendency to hoard.’

He added, The GDPR is something that should be taken seriously but will not be a death sentence for the recruitment industry.’

One recruitment platform Volcanic, said GDPR would likely have ‘a huge impact on firm’s marketing strategy’ if they used automated workflows.

As the legislation comes into force recruitment firms will need to handle data in the right way and keep operations running quickly and smoothly. Whether this is possible for all firms remains to be seen.

Michael Somerville

Michael Somerville

Michael was senior reporter for from 2018 to 2019.

Related Topics