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Privacy Hiring Managers: 6 Things to Avoid Doing in Interviews

TRU Staffing Partners September 6, 2022 at 7:30 AM

A recent podcast hosted by Punit Bhatia, CEO of Fit4Privacy – a firm that provides businesses and individuals with data privacy skills, featured Jared Coseglia, Founder and CEO of TRU Staffing Partners. The discussion centered around TRU’s recently published 2022 Data Privacy Jobs Report. Part three of their conversation focused on what hiring managers should not do in interviews to avoid putting off candidates.

Bhatia asked Coseglia if there is a red line that hiring managers should never cross in an interview. That sparked a wide-ranging discussion around the don’ts of hiring. Whatever you do, don’t undo the deal!

1. No data privacy program is perfect

Coseglia said that there are some things that hiring managers do that could undo deals. First, some may talk negatively about their companies. They think they are helping by placing all the potentially negative things about the role on the table from the start.

"If a candidate said those things during an interview about their current boss, the hiring manager would complain about this behavior,” Coseglia said. “The same advice applies to hiring managers: Don’t do it.”

Instead, take the stance of reminding candidates that no data privacy program is perfect. People at every level of experience in privacy know to expect all sorts of challenges in their day-to-day privacy roles. As the Data Privacy Jobs Report points out: “every organization is in a unique state of data privacy program maturity — from needing ground-zero executive leadership to building robust privacy engineering teams. Each company has different regulatory requirements.” Go with the flow.

Past that, be a good salesperson. “All candidates want to be sold on the opportunity a hiring manager is presenting and want to hear more about the good than they do the bad,” said Coseglia. “It’s like being on a first, second, or third date. You don’t want to see the all the ugly all at once. Wait until you get married.”

2. You need thoughtfully crafted data privacy job descriptions 

Many hiring managers have the instinct to try to tell a candidate everything about the role and what the person’s responsibilities will be.

“It's interesting because people feel that transparency means complete exposure, but there is a fine line between complete exposure and enough transparency to have a real expectation of what the new role will entail,” he said.

To solve this, do all the detail work before starting the interviews. Coseglia encourages TRU clients to break down the role in percentages, sometimes visually, so job seekers see where the impact on the enterprise or on products will be made on day one, and what a future state looks like in terms of adjusted priorities over time. And according to the 2022 Data Privacy Jobs Report, a thoughtfully crafted data privacy job description that takes the mystery out of the most common questions job seekers look to have answered before expressing interest in employment can be the key to capturing the right candidate’s attention.

3. Don’t lie about the state of your data privacy program

Some hiring managers who are trying to recruit top-tier, experienced data privacy talent might be tempted to inflate the state of their privacy programs. However, that tactic usually backfires. Coseglia noted that TRU uses three easy ways to categorize and express maturity states of privacy programs on interviews: Builder, Grower, Maintainer, and Disrupter. (see the 2022 Data Privacy Jobs Report for a detailed look at each of these categories.)

Data privacy pros at every level will respect the detail as long as they can see the impact they might have on a particular program.

4. Don’t shut the door on remote or hybrid work options

Do your best not to lose great talent to competing offers. Remote working flexibility has become a bargaining chip. In high-demand spaces like data privacy, allowing employees to work remotely can turn unfilled roles into a thriving privacy program.

“Let’s be blunt,” Coseglia told Bhatia. “If employers start to insist people spend five days a week in an office, they are either going to go months before they can fill open positions, or they are going to wind up hiring well below the caliber of person they expect to hire. The savviest candidates will find other jobs that will allow them to be completely virtual or hybrid.”

Bhatia noted that not only are “people saying no to working in offices, but they will also go elsewhere if they don’t get that type of flexibility.” Coseglia agreed: “Absolutely. It’s the No. 1 motivator for changing jobs. It’s the No. 1 reason people come to us looking for a new role. They do not want to go back to an office.”

5. Speed of hire matters

In 2021, the timetable for hiring a program manager, analyst, specialist, or engineer truncated to a mere eight business days. For executives, the timetables shrank to a rapid three to six weeks. Those metrics have only extended slightly in Q1 2022 (12 days), and TRU sees no sign of the market slowing down this speed of hire.

Moral of the story is: Prepare good job descriptions, set up the virtual interviews, and make sure to know that speed matters.

6. Don’t forget the personal touch

Candidates come to TRU to make sure that their entire job-seeking process is about being seen and evaluated for roles as human beings instead of as resume clips from an AI bot. Remember to look at people’s skillsets, soft skills (like communicative abilities and personality traits.) And if you need help finding those data privacy pros that round out your team, reach out to the expert recruiters at TRU. As Coseglia said, “TRU has deep meaningful relationships on both sides of the fence and teams of people that are out constantly developing relationships. So when the time comes, in the very old sense of the word, we are great matchmakers. Matchmaking does more than evaluate skillsets, we look for style, personality, judgement, temperament. We pride ourselves on being data privacy experts.”


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