2003 Job Search Privacy Study: Suggestions for Employers and Career Counselors

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Employers are an important part of the data privacy solution. As the controller of job ads, employers have a great deal of say in how those ads are managed and displayed to applicants. For their part, college career counselors, as a critical part of the interface in a student’s first professional job search, have a key educational role in the process.

Here are some recommendations.

Employers, when you post a job ad, place detailed contact information in the job ad. This is how job seekers will be able to come to you directly. This contact information also allows job seekers to effectively use anonymizing services at job sites. If a site won’t allow you to show detailed contact information, ask why, and push for allowing a direct application to you as the employer.

Always ask if there are Web bugs, banner ads, third party cookies or other consumer tracking mechanisms on the pages where you post your job ads. Request that these mechanisms be removed so that you are the only one besides the job site that knows if a job seeker has looked at your ad. Checking pages for the presence of third parties is very simple; look in the HTML code of a page, and search for any servers other than yours or the company you are posting the ad on. A third party server will look like this in HTML code:

HREF=”http://ads.jobclicks.net/ads/banman.asp?ZoneID=33&Task=Cli ck&Mode=HTML&SiteID=2&PageID=15689&RandomNumber=’ +

In this string above, jobclicks.net is the third party code. To see this, look at the “view source” option in your Web browser.

College career counselors, there is an excellent educational tool available to you right now. Carabella is a clever online game designed to appeal to and teach college age students about privacy choices. It was designed by a privacy expert and attorney, and it is an extremely useful (and fun) tool.

Familiarize yourself with the OECD principles. These form the baseline of Fair Information Practices.

Also, the OECD has an excellent privacy policy generator. If this is something you need, by all means access it and try it out. It is free, and is an excellent way of seeing where the bar is in terms of a full-bodied, robust privacy policy. It will help you see how consumer profiling technologies intersect with privacy concerns in a balanced way.

The FTC has a series of key documents on consumer profiling. They will explain how ad networks work, how cookies and Web bugs work, and more. Xxx

As you list your jobs at online sites, don’t neglect your corporate home page. Make it simple for a job seeker to verify that a job is open, and who to contact to apply for that job. Be sure to disclose your practices, such as a corporate ASP that might be handling your jobs or any other outsourcing.



Roadmap: 2003 Job Search Privacy Study – Job Searching in the Networked Environment: Consumer Privacy Benchmarks: XII. Suggestions for Employers and Career Counselors


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