A week like this one…

Rejection, Data Privacy & Coaching Conversations

This week I got rejected from the process for a Head of Talent with zero feedback on International Recruiters Day! – I had to laugh, the irony was not lost on me – on the flipside, the poor and non-existent feedback from this Series A Fintech company appears to be still, all too common.

Simple message for ANY company and it’s an easy one to remember: feedback is the payment for the time an individual invests in your recruitment process

It seems to be a continual issue from a candidate experience perspective, as meaningful and structured feedback still isn’t provided to the majority of applicants and candidates.

As an example of how providing feedback creates relationships, I was contacted this week by an individual that applied for an opportunity in 2020; unfortunately, we didn’t progress to the next stage with them, however, I invested the time to provide feedback based on the interview and offered suggestions for presenting information and achievements that I knew would benefit them in future interviews.

Fast-forward to 2021 and that individual contacted me about a new opportunity with a company they had just recently joined and they cited the recruitment process they experienced as the reason for contacting me – they said that they wanted that positive and professional experience for their prospective candidates and future employees. The power of feedback folks!

Circling back to the rejection by the Series A start-up, it actually acted as a really positive catalyst for me – for that, I genuinely thank them. Through the process, I was analysing each stage and collating suggestions and recommendations for this business [which I did share with them]; and what I discovered made me really reflect on the technology choices of companies for their end-to-end recruitment process:

  • the amount of data requested from candidates (both personal and professional)
  • third-party usage of personal data taken from recruitment and talent acquisition platforms and software
  • where (geographically) your personal data is/will be stored and how will you access it

To provide some context, the Series A Fintech was using a particular assessment software that collected data for the use with their suppliers and other, unnamed, third-party suppliers with no details of how your personal data will be used.

There was a limited and vague scope for anyone that had an ‘Objection’ to the use of their personal data and, for this software, your personal data would be stored in servers/data warehouse in Germany – which made me think, as the UK has now exited the EU, what protections will candidates have to access their personal data with this hosting arrangement.

The final, quite surprising, data request when using this software was the following statement:

Please allow the use of your camera/webcam and do not leave full-screen mode. Snapshots will be taken of you periodically during the assessment. These measures are taken to ensure fairness for everyone.”

What possible fair reason would there be to want to capture images and voice recognition data from a candidate when they are taking a written test? – in reality, when you enter the assessment portal, the software asks for camera and mic access – I don’t recall that being mentioned in the privacy policy.

My thinking is that facial recognition and audio files might be quite interesting to one of those unnamed third party suppliers, especially when they have psychometric data from a test and I think this could make target a specific audience with marketing a little more efficient, wouldn’t you agree?

The wider question here is this – are companies actually reviewing the software and platforms they are using to safeguard the candidates they are assessing from a data protection perspective, or are they more enamoured with the potential of automating part of the recruitment process?

Yes, platforms and software will be GDPR compliant, however, to what degree is data compliance really data protection and safeguarding. I don’t know the answer to this question and I would welcome more informed views on the subject.

My week ending with a session with my Executive Coach and a rather challenging session for me that delivered benefits through a reality-bites conversation. And just to be clear, I respect my coach because he is prepared to challenge me and my logic, perception, thoughts and feelings about a situation.

When we opened the coaching session, I wanted to discuss my approach to a particular work-related conversation that had been on my mind – I was ruminating/festering – on this conversation and I had run scenarios about the potential outcomes, how I could/wouldn’t be able to control the messaging beyond the conversation etc etc etc. If you’re an introvert, like me, this process might be familiar to you – I’m sure you extroverts out there would have had this conversation already and already be moving on.

In short, he made me realise that I needed to stay true to my values more consistently, because through this, I would know when to have these types of conversations. The reality-check was useful and I thank him for challenging me to be myself in every situation.

To those thinking about engaging a career coach, I would certainly encourage the investment of time and money, the progression I have made professionally and personally have been measurable and impactful. Thanks to Roderick Lambert for the conversational-dancing!

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