The Importance of Cybersecurity During Recruitment

Unprotected and unprepared devices are obvious targets for cybercriminals and make businesses vulnerable to security breaches and hacks. The risk of a security breach could be detrimental to the prosperity of a business and the digital health of its employees. One of the most important departments, when considering cybersecurity, is recruitment and human resources. This comes naturally, due to their constant involvement with classified personal information. Recruiters directly interact with a number of third-party groups and individuals, gathering and storing information that’s meant to be kept private and secure. Human resources professionals often have access to job boards and extremely sensitive employee information, which could pose great threats if placed in the wrong hands. Ultimately, cybersecurity can help create business opportunities when implemented, and here are a few ways to get started.


Set Security Policies in Place

One of the first security measures you’ll want to take is to develop comprehensive security policies and procedures to ensure all current and prospective employees are protected. As a physical precaution, utilize fingerprint authentication at the entrances of all company facilities to ensure only approved individuals are granted access to the premises. In terms of digital precautions, utilize encrypted connections to client servers.

Utilize Email Encryption

Because most of the correspondence between your recruitment staff and candidates happens via email, you’ll want to protect personal information and data by implementing email encryption. Email encryption often uses an authentication mechanism to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing and reading email messages. Most large email platforms come with built-in encryption, but that often isn’t enough for recruitment professionals. Consider using a second form of encryption, and require all individuals involved in recruitment discussions to do the same.

Set Security Measures for Online Applications

All information about job candidates shall be securely processed and made available only to those individuals directly involved in the hiring process. Set restrictions on all company devices to restrict others from viewing personal information. Any leak of classified information could leave your company vulnerable to questions of ethics and credibility. Once a job has been filled, ensure that all applications and personal information of candidates are securely stored or erased.

Use Secure External Device Tools

From making phone calls and sending emails to interacting via virtual meetings, multiple devices are often utilized throughout the recruitment process. You probably know someone right now who carries two smartphones: one issued by the company, the other personal.  In a recent interview on my podcast Geeks Geezers and Googlization, Sense and Respond author Jeff Gothelf called this phenomena “shadow IT”:

Most employees come to work to do good work. To get around these obstacles [bureaucracy and outdated, inefficient equipment,] they sometimes work around the system ,,, [they] use unapproved technology to do company work.

When using multiple devices, you’ll want to ensure they all have the same security measures in place. One way to ensure your company equipment is in sync is by implementing secure unified communication tools that make switching from device to device seamless. These tools ensure your communication efforts stay in sync in a locked-down server no matter where you are or what device you are using.

Avoid Asking for Irrelevant Sensitive Information

Comprise the job application process in a purely relevant way that requires candidates to provide only crucial and relevant information. In a recent candidate experience audit for several clients, I discovered they were still requesting Social Security numbers! While not illegal – yet, it’s unnecessary for screening and poses a huge privacy risk, especially without security and encryption. All position listings should be created with key job criteria in mind and the details should be stored in secure folders. Once interviewing candidates, avoid asking about any information that isn’t directly related to the job, such as political leanings, religious and cultural beliefs, and other sensitive information. Notes from interviews and completed background checks should be stored in secure folders as well, with restricted access.

Enlist the Help of an IT Professional

Consult an information technology professional to help with information protection matters when necessary, as they can assist in checking through all data systems within the company and detect illegal activity. All employee systems should be inspected regularly to identify activity that could harm the recruitment process, and IT professionals can set up automatic programs to make that process simpler.

Data protection isn’t something you should take lightly in this day and age, and should definitely be prioritized. Your money, employee data, and customer information are directly at risk of being compromised in a cyber attack, unless you actively take precautions to combat that. Updating cybersecurity measures is undoubtedly a big responsibility that recruiters have to own up to when dealing with private information. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to strategize protection of classified information.