The Right to Be Forgotten: Will it be Good or Bad for Recruitment?

8th December 2014
Law_Hammer

An EU ruling has been put into place allowing people to request search engines to remove links containing any information they may deem inaccurate, inadequate or irrelevant. This may have a knock-on effect for HR and recruitment, 77% of which use search engines to glean information about candidates before hiring, we take a closer look.

The EU Ruling

The new EU law, which is now known as the ‘right to be forgotten’, involves the adherence of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to requests from people who wish to have content about them removed and invisible to the majority of those on the web. Any information the applicant feels to be inaccurate or irrelevant can be taken down and made unavailable to be searched for. Within the first three months of the ruling being in place, Google received a total of 70,000 requests for information to be taken town, 53% of which were actioned on the first attempt.

Changes to Recruitment
The implications of the ruling could echo into the HR and recruitment industries, mainly due to the efficacy of searching for information through social media channels. 77% of those in the HR profession conduct online searches regarding candidates and the information found can directly influence the decision of whether or not to hire. Over a third of employers have discovered something they say negatively impacted their decisions, making it beneficial for candidates to remove undesirable information.

Having said that, it also works the other way too. Candidates who assume that certain information may make it harder to get hired must also be mindful of the fact that some recruiters are positively influenced by a candidate’s online presence – 20% say they witnessed aspects from an online profile that sold them on a candidate’s capabilities, such as strong communication skills.

Candidate Screening
Screening potential candidates is important for a company, and the ruling may make the task a great deal harder. However, many businesses already take large steps towards understanding candidate’s pre-interview, and this often requires a look at criminal convictions, previous employment history and credit checks. Also, there is no way to delete the content from the Internet as a whole, but simply to request that the information does not become available via search engines.

For recruiters, the ruling may not have as much of an effect as one might initially assume, however smaller companies who recruit in-house may only have the capabilities to do small range searches using Google. If the ruling does anything to recruitment, it will perhaps influence employers to treat candidates based on their CV, employment history and interview skills, rather than information gleaned through Google.

"Over a third of employers have discovered something they say negatively impacted their decisions, making it beneficial for candidates to remove undesirable information."