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Right to privacy on Google may impact recruitment

June 2014 | By Colin Cottell


The implications of the recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the so-called ‘right to be forgotten case’ could be many and varied, recruiters have told Recruiter.

The ruling gives individuals in the EU the right to ask Google to remove links to web pages about themselves by completing an online form (see below for more details). 

Martin Lee, director of sourcing and recruitment for Social Media Research, a Norman Broadbent company, told Recruiter the ruling “will make it slightly harder to find people, but not impossible … We all use Google but there are other search engines”. 

Lee predicted that it would be the most passive candidates that would take advantage of the ruling. He suggested that this might lead to “a reverse effect”, the irony being that “anybody who does that might be more interesting to sourcers”. 

Jonathan Coxon, managing director of social care recruiter Liquid Personnel, told Recruiter that he saw the ruling “as a real positive in our market”. 

He added: “People want a certain amount of anonymity: you don’t want your clients to be able to find you online.” 

Coxon said that he didn’t expect unsuitable candidates to be employed in the sector as a result of removing themselves from Google. “Social work is a market where it is incredibly important to vet people, and Google would never be used on its own when assessing the suitability of a candidates,” he said. 

David Lawrence, MD of specialist telecoms recruiter Vine Resources, told Recruiter that the ruling reinforced the need for recruiters to do “proper due diligence” on candidates, including cross-referencing CVs against other sources of information.

The right to be forgotten ruling

Spanish citizen Mario Costeja González claimed that Google had violated his privacy rights under the European Commission’s Directive on Data Protection, which guarantees a “right to be forgotten” in cases where information is incomplete or inaccurate.

Anyone wishing to have a Google link removed is asked to explain why the link is “irrelevant, outdated or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed”.

Colin Cottell

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