Recruitment is an industry which is massively driven by data. In order to go about their business and ultimately be successful, an agency, and its individual agents must build up a network or database of candidates. Ideally, they can call on their existing contacts to fill a vacancy or opportunity, and if they can’t find someone in their existing network – quickly reach out and build connections with new candidates who they can tee up for the role.

That got us – and we’re sure many others thinking – how does this, in practice, square with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? How can a recruitment agency, which by its very nature deals with masses of personal data, ensure that their practices and processing remain compliant with the impending regulations?

After all, the individual agents are too busy trying to place candidates and smash targets to dedicate any real time, effort or thought to proper, stringent data processing and admin. In this sense, GDPR compliance is something that could very easily slip under the radar of the wider business. But non-compliance is a serious risk – a data breach could cost you up to 20 million Euros or 4% of annual turnover, whichever is larger, or as is more likely with a smaller agency, a complaint by an individual (or individuals) to the ICO could result in a time-consuming and disruptive investigation and a smaller, but still significant, financial penalty.


Enter chatbots

Chatbot technology is a cost-effective and efficient way to manage and automate both customer-facing and internal data processing in any business, but it’s particularly useful in the fast-paced, data-heavy world of recruitment.

Integrating a front-end chatbot with your back-end database can help you ensure that communication with contacts and potential candidates is compliant, auditable and consensual within the context of GDPR. Whether an individual is already on your agency’s database or is a new sign up, they can interact with a familiar interface in the same way in order to manage their preferences. For example, if they would like to sign up and consent to receive job listings, specific opportunities and are happy for you to share their details and CV with third parties, they can manage this within the chatbot interface, and a preprogrammed, automated bot will deal with their request. This activity is then recorded and stored in the back-end, ready and available for you to demonstrate compliance should you need to. If a contact has already been placed in a role or is no longer looking for one and would like to be removed from your database and mailing list, they can manage and request that via the chatbot too.


The right to be forgotten

Considering how far an individual’s data could go – i.e. through you to your client, or a job site, you need to make sure your processes are airtight. That individual has a right to know if, how and why a third-party is processing their data, and they have the right to be forgotten. This means that if they want you to remove them from your database, you should ensure that third-parties are informed of this too. Using a chatbot, if an individual communicates with your business to let you know they would like to be removed, you can automate this entire end-to-end process to ensure you and your partners and clients are protected.


Look to the future

Getting compliant with your data processing isn’t just about signing up as many subscribers to your email newsletter by the 25th May as possible. It’s about creating a sustainable and continuous process that will help you remain compliant way beyond that date. In recruitment, as a network of people, contacts and their details is so vital to your business, it’s imperative that you nail the processing of personal data and remain compliant in a changing legislative landscape. Deploying chatbot technology can help you put the right framework in place without having to hire additional admin staff for processing or implement time-consuming and costly paper-based processes.

How can Avenir help?

Watch our video to see our non-executive director Mondweep Chakravorty demonstrate a more specific example of how our chatbot technology could help recruiters remain compliant with GDPR.

If you’d like any more advice about how chatbots could help your organisation be compliant, efficient and cost-effective, get in touch.