Hiring managers who process employment applications come across a significant amount of confidential information about job candidates. This information is essential to conducting pre-employment background screenings and evaluating whether a candidate is right for a job.

However, all of this information needs to be properly secured in order to prevent identity theft and maintain compliance with government regulations. Here are some tips for keeping confidential information about job candidates secure.

How to Keep Confidential Information About Employment Applicants Secure

Keep confidential records in one place.

Candidate information may be stored in various files across a company. For example, the human resources department may keep personnel files while individual supervisors store interview documentation or performance reviews. The risk for confidential information breach increases with decentralization of company documents.

One solution is to store all documents with confidential job candidate information in a secure area with controlled access. Many HR departments keep completed job applications and related information in locked file cabinets housed in a central location that is easy to find, but not easy to access.

Use an electronic applicant tracking system.

The traditional hiring process typically involves physical documents and forms that are routed among human resources staff and company administration. The chance for confidential information to be compromised increases each time a document or file changes hands. Information can also be compromised during manual data entry, or be lost or misfiled.

Electronic applicant tracking systems and human resource information systems are becoming the norm. One advantage is that they eliminate the need for multiple staff members to handle physical documents and paper files. These systems also offer 24-hour access and reduce the time it takes to process applications.

An electronic applicant tracking system or candidate-facing online application submission system provides a higher level of security than paper files. An effective online system will be adequately protected with 128-bit encryption, solid firewalls, and router technologies that prevent unauthorized intrusions.

Control access to information.

Candidate information should be handled by company staff on a “need to know” basis. HR professionals and other administrative staff should only have access to the candidate information that is necessary for them to perform their jobs.

If you are using an electronic system, make the most out of its security settings. The settings on online systems can be adjusted so that only the appropriate staff members have access to sensitive candidate information.

Why is it Important to Secure Confidential Information About Job Candidates?

There are several consequences for not keeping confidential information about job candidates secure. Candidate information that is compromised can be used for identity theft. Companies face lawsuits when confidential data is breached. Government regulators can impose hefty fines for violations of HIPAA and other federal privacy laws.

Hiring managers can strengthen the security of their pre-employment processes by partnering with a reputable background screening services provider. A qualified background screening provider can help hiring managers use technology to centralize records, secure data electronically, and control access to candidate information.

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