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Personal Data Legislation – The Executive Search Game Changer

24/05/17 Greg McHugh Partner

Europe’s new law to protect personal privacy is only one year away, however for Executive Search firms the pressure to reach compliance will be elevated. Greg McHugh, Redline Executive Search Partner, looks at the coming risks and potential opportunities which will affect the Executive Search industry.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect in May 2018. The law will have a tremendous impact on how companies, government agencies and Executive Search firms across the EU, including the UK, handle personal data.

For all the benefits the digital age has bestowed, it has brought a degree of risk to individuals, particularly when it comes to privacy. The new law will clamp down on such intrusions, mandating stricter protections of personal data. Among the requirements: individuals must consent before organisations can maintain or make use of an individual’s personal information; cyber breaches must be reported within 72 hours; and individuals have the right to have their information deleted and the ability to prevent the data from being made available to others.

Greg McHugh, Redline Executive Search Partner, discusses the implications:

“The forthcoming changes to data protection legislation are complex and must be given appropriate consideration. However, when thinking about the personal data held within your executive search organisation, we believe that consideration of the compliance, consent, and communication obligations of the GDPR is a good place to start. Under the GDPR, executive search firms are accountable for complying with the principles that personal data is:

Secure 
Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
Accurate and up to date
Collected for a specified explicit and legitimate purpose

For executive search companies like Redline Executive, we will be obliged to contact individuals concerned and make them aware of our data storage activities. If consent has not been received for previous candidates, consent will need to be refreshed. The process involved is going to be significant, however it cannot be ignored. For all executive records in the database, whether general contacts or relationship contacts, organisations will need to make a decision and act accordingly. However, Executive Search firms can use this to their advantage as a way of reconnecting with executive and senior level contacts on their existing database.”

Greg continues: “Executive Search firms will have to make tough decisions about databases, which historically have been considered as their most valuable asset. Executive search recruiters should determine who individuals are in their database and the purpose of those records. As a professional executive search firm working with global corporate technology giants, being compliant with the GDPR will foster a culture of data confidence among Redline Executive’s existing clients and candidates, and will also protect our existing reputation within the industry. Moreover, a greater level of transparency and accountability for information held and transferred will enhance Redline’s working practices as well as protect our longstanding executive brand as a well-established specialist technology executive search firm. The GDPR is an opportunity to enhance the quality of data held as the changes will ensure we invest more time in thinking about the data we capture, its future use and how it is stored and transferred. With an unparalleled network of executive and senior contacts, adhering to the GDPR is a further demonstration of the quality of our operations. This will strengthen relationships amongst our clients and candidates through a greater level of transparency and increased confidence which reflects our 150 man years’ of the highest standards in executive search.” 

For more information regarding Redline Executive’s services and processes please contact Greg McHugh on 01582 878853 or email GMcHugh@RedlineExecutive.com