2003 Job Search Privacy Study: Introduction

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This research was conducted with several purposes in mind. First, it set out to document and benchmark the privacy practices at the leading job search sites and list those practices openly so consumers could make informed decisions about each site based on fact.

The second goal of the study was to take a snapshot of the overall privacy practices of the job search industry, and using the core principles of Fair Information Practices as a guide, document those practices.

A third goal of the study was to assess what kinds of personal information job search sites were generally collecting from consumers, and how the sites were using that information.

And finally, the fourth goal of the study was to assess the question: is job applicant privacy enhanced or diminished in the online environment?

The report has set out a consumer listing of 53 job search sites that were tested extensively in order to meet the first goal of the study. The consumer listing gives detailed factual information about how each job site is operating relevant to privacy concerns. Listing of a privacy policy, registration requirements, and presence of persistent third party cookies are examples of the items detailed. A detailed set of consumer tips for online job searching is included in the study to help consumers make informed choices as they look for work online.

With the core Fair Information Practices in mind, the study conducted wide-ranging research on the job sites to acquire information about their practices and privacy statements. To assess the kinds of information the sites were collecting, researchers posted test resumes at each site and applied for jobs online. The results were collected and analyzed to get an applicant’s viewpoint of the way the resume information was handled . Other areas of the applicant process were also reviewed, assessed, and analyzed.

After the research results were finalized and analyzed, core privacy issues were observed and documented from the results. The study sets forth this core discussion of job applicant issues, best practices, and areas of concern that address the second and third study goals.

And finally, the study makes recommendations to industry groups, Congress, the EEOC and the FTC based on the researchers’ assessment of the answer to the fourth goal of the study.

Is job seeker privacy enhanced or diminished in the online environment? This report finds that it is substantially diminished. However, some bright spots exist. This report strives to fairly document as full of a spectrum of these issues as possible.



Roadmap: 2003 Job Search Privacy Study – Job Searching in the Networked Environment: Consumer Privacy Benchmarks: II. Introduction


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