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The Sourcing Function

What’s A Sourcer’s Take On Privacy?


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I was reading about an interesting survey that examined people’s views of online privacy. It claimed that nearly everyone is concerned about privacy, that almost 4 in 5 people delete cookies and that 85% wouldn’t download a mobile app if they had privacy concerns about it.

Gregory Ferenstein joyfully skewers the statistics on Techcrunch. He has a point. Many people I know don’t even know about browser cookies much less some of the nuanced privacy settings of ad networks, search engines and social networks. The unusually high statistics don’t necessarily pass the sniff test.

It made me think about the privacy issue in the context of sourcing though. What do sourcers really think of online privacy issues?

Creepy apps and social media openness

Sourcers are the beneficiaries of a lot of open information. Whether it is a resume posted on a personal site, LinkedIn profile that is left open to the public, a phone number that gets posted to an online directory or even creepy social apps, sourcers use this information to find the people they need.

I think most would think sourcers do it for a good cause. Presenting a new opportunity to a person is generally well accepted (even if they aren’t necessarily interested). In most cases, even in rejection of the opportunity, the person’s whose information was found isn’t terribly worried about the privacy issues involved in getting their information in the first place.

The bigger issue is two-fold: if sourcers can find information, so can all kinds of people that might not have good intentions. Also, if the tide does eventually turn to more awareness and privacy (or, maybe worse: laws), this could impact how well sourcers can do their job.

The $64,000 question(s)

So, what’s your view when it comes to online privacy? How do you balance your personal need of getting information from relatively open sources versus the risk of having the information you can find publicly available? Would you be willing to sacrifice some of your availability of getting information about candidates for possibly more security for those who don’t know better? Do you take better care of privacy because you know more about how much can be found out or are you generally an open book?

Definitely interested in your comments about this. I think sourcers are one group of people that have a truly unique take on privacy.

Lance Haun is an editor at The Starr Conspiracy, a marketing agency focused on the enterprise HCM market. He spent three years as an editor at ERE Media and seven years in the recruiting and HR trenches before joining the agency. You can follow him on Twitter, circle him on Google+, check out his blog or contact him directly at lance@coug.rs.
  • Joshua Jones

    We’re masters of our own destiny. Even if you are unaware of
    the consequences of your actions, your actions can still creep up and burn you.
    In the U.S., laws change from state to state. If you break a law in a state
    you’re not from, you can still be held responsible for it. As a sourcer, I have
    definitely brought it to the attention of people who are leaving themselves
    vulnerable online. Just last week someone in my network publically posted her
    home address on Google+. She was lovingly making a statement about hanging out
    with her kids. I immediately contacted her and asked if she was aware the post
    was public. I also told her that, in my personal opinion, that it could
    endanger the children she holds so dear. That being said, I don’t support any
    government interference in regard to the internet. There are actions outside the
    internet that can leave private information out in the open as well. It’s a
    person’s own responsibility to protect themselves from the consequences of
    that. Use a shredder on your mail. Be selective on who you give your social
    security number to when you’re filling out forms. If someone is standing near
    you, don’t use your PIN number at a store or an ATM. So much of this is common
    sense.