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Q&A with a Privacy Recruiter: Part 2

TRU Staffing Partners June 7, 2022 at 7:00 AM

The advocacy group Women in Security and Privacy (WISP) recently held an industry webinar as part of their educational series on advancing and equalizing roles for women in the security and privacy industries. Moderated by Irene Mo, a privacy and data security associate at Hintze Law PLLC and community lead for WISP, the session featured a Q&A with Jess Barre, JD, TRU's VP of Recruitment & Account Management and centered on the data privacy job market.

Missed Part 1 of this essential recap of everything you ever wanted to know about breaking into and moving up in the data privacy field? Read Part 1 here. 

How to Attract & Retain the Best Privacy Talent

Irene Mo: How do you attract the best privacy talent? There are so many privacy roles available.

Jess Barre: On the employer side, to attract talent to your team, there are some definite ways to do that. See TRU’s Data Privacy Jobs Market report. It is a wealth of knowledge on data points about the job market and how to attract the best talent. There are some articles in there that go in-depth, and are valuable for both job seekers and hiring managers. I encourage everyone to review it.

In addition, there are some other priorities that are data-driven to impact where people are moving to and indicate how to attract the best talent.

  1. Candidates want remote work. It’s huge now. Back in 2019, pre-pandemic, the number one motivator for people to make a move from their current role was quality of life, better lifestyle. Remote and hybrid work. Now, remote work is just the top motivator by far, and people continue to demand it. Over the past two years, our relationship with work has changed in a fundamental and permanent way.

77% of new hires that TRU places are fully remote. The other 23% are some combination of onsite and remote hybrids. Only a handful are onsite.

  1. Candidates want better compensation. In 2021, TRU saw a 22% base compensation increase for mid-market professionals at the point of hire. In Q1 of 2022, we’ve seen a 30% increase. To attract the right talent, employers need to stay competitive with a compensation package that’s reflective of the demand of the market.

  2. Employers need to flow with the speed of hire. Prior to the pandemic, the hiring process from start to finish was three or four months. Now, it’s three to six weeks. They are pushing through because they are realizing the speed of the market and are racing to not lose out on talent. That is a great way to attract the right candidates. It signals the right tone for candidates who want to be taken seriously, it shows that privacy is a priority, and the candidates can make a strong impact in their role. In addition to the above points, there are more open roles than available candidates right now, so candidates are entertaining an average of three offers at the point of accepting a new position. Employers should open with their best offer and be prepared to negotiate.

  3. Employing a privacy champion model within the organization is also very attractive to candidates. Having resources embedded in the business as advocates for privacy helps perpetuate success of the team.

Recruiting for Diversity in Privacy

Mo: When you mentioned companies investing in privacy now, another area of investment that has popped up recently is diversity and inclusion. Recruiting candidates from diverse backgrounds has been a goal for a long time. But how do you retain inclusive talent?

Barre: This is a topic that is a huge priority for the TRU team. At TRU, our executive team is 71% female. Our executive-level privacy placements are 50% female. We’re really proud of those stats. We continue to work toward chipping away at the gender pay gap. As privacy recruiting professionals, we must do our best. Recent IAPP polls show men are paid 9% more than women in the privacy sector. We’re still not equal yet but it’s a lot closer than other industries. I’m optimistic at the strides we’re making. We advocate on your behalf and take it seriously.

Mo: That’s really important for newer job seekers who may not understand the marketplace or understand how or when it is appropriate to negotiate. It’s so important to have someone like TRU in your corner who knows the internal politics. One thing I always hear from my peers is that during an interview, you’ll hear about the role the hiring manager is describing and it’s really a role for more than one person. And the title might be wrong. How do you make sure that you’re being compensated fairly and that your role is properly structured?

Interviewing for Success in Privacy Roles

Barre: The bait and switch is a really common complaint I hear from candidates. There are general ways to avoid that – it’s important both for the candidate and the hiring manager because turnover costs money and dents reputations. I always say, address this on the front end. Be a savvy interviewer. Teach yourself skills. It’s important to have representation. I do a prep call with every candidate before an interview. I tell them all about the role, the interviewer, and we run through the topics that cause people to be frustrated. Many of the things are common-sense issues that don’t get addressed. Firm recruiters aren’t privacy professionals – ask the key questions directly of the stakeholders. Recruiters aren’t fluent in the nuances of the privacy program. I always recommend this being an open dialogue with the hiring manager or stakeholders. For example:


  1. Make sure you are clear about who the role reports to – are they a privacy pro? They may just be facilitators. It’s important to know where you fall, who you are reporting to, and understanding where privacy fits into the firm.
  2. Find out the buy-in at the top of the org. Is there an audit committee who understands the value of the privacy initiatives? And determine what kind of exposure that role will have to that to committee.
  3. Is the C-Suite sold on privacy? There may be a lack of education. But there may be buy-in – most orgs need cross-functional training.
  4. Ask about where the privacy ecosystem is currently. Where does it sit in the organization? Legal? Compliance? How does operational privacy get accomplished? Privacy and legal?
  5. Determine when/where the first privacy hire was made. Are you the first one? What are some of the privacy resources baked into the company?
  6. Can they show how they have grown privacy? Most orgs will be honest if they are just starting out building a team. But at least you know where you stand, and if you accept a job with an organization not yet fully invested, you’ll know you’ll have to spend more time building. Privacy teams can be slotted into one of three categories: builder, grower or maintainer. Knowing what your strengths are, where your skills lie, and understanding where you’d fit in an organization saves a lot of heartache.
  7. Ask about future plans and resources. Real or pipe dreams? Will they be adding full-time employees? Or will they add contract help on an as-needed basis? TRU is seeing a huge uptick in contract resources, especially with public companies. They may have budget but not headcount. That budget can be spent on human capital without creating headcount. Then there is a contract to full-time option where a company can feel out a candidate before committing to full time. Or will they leverage outside counsel to get their extra work done?
  8. How much of this role is going to spent on the “hearts and minds” tour? If privacy is not a known entity in the org, which groups will I have to win over to get it going? Asking these things helps avoid a bait and switch.

Mo: Once you’re in, it’s important to set those expectations. If you are constantly putting out privacy fires, it’s really hard to do the program building. Making sure you are setting metrics to gauge your success, you will manage your role more effectively.

Barre: Going in with an understanding of how quickly things can progress is one of the best recipes for success. So many of the people you will be working with don’t really understand what you’ll be doing. Making everything clear avoids those pitfalls.

What is it Like to Work with a Privacy Recruiter?

Mo: That’s a perfect segue way to a higher-level question we had: Can you explain what working with a recruiter looks like from the beginning to the end? How does a candidate look for a recruiter?

Barre: Working with a recruiter should be a positive experience. It should take stress out of your job search. At TRU, we have a dedicated team of privacy recruiters who are seeking out privacy talent. Here’s the process:

  1. Most of the time, they are looking to fill a specific role. Sometimes they just land on a really spectacular candidate and work to place that person.
  2. They will set up a time to chat – during that call, be really candid about your motivations and needs. Share your resume with them – good recruiters will not distribute it without your consent.
  3. Strategize with your recruiter about how to get to your ultimate career goals. What steps will you need to take to get there?
  4. If we have a position appropriate for you, or a client who would appreciate your skillsets, we ask your permission to send materials to them. At TRU, we give you the job description, tell you everything about the role, the compensation range, etc.
  5. If a prospective employer wants to talk to a candidate, we make the introductions, we schedule meetings and interviews, and then we do a prep call with every candidate to ensure their ease and comfort. It makes a significant difference in the process to know what to expect ahead of time. Interviewing takes practice. Running through questions helps organize thoughts and ideas properly.
  6. If that position is the right fit, we’ve made a love connection, it may lead to an offer and we walk you through the balance of that process. If that role doesn’t work out, we keep you in mind for other roles where you might fit.

Mo: Are there best practices for the candidates? What do you expect as a recruiter? Are there certain candidates you are more willing to work with than others? As a candidate, are there costs to me if I were to use a recruiter to find a new role?

Barre: First, there are no costs to the candidates ever. Our clients retain us as a valuable partner to their business. As far as what I would expect from a candidate, and what a candidate should expect from a recruiter, I expect proactive communication. If you see an exciting opportunity that TRU has posted or you heard about, reach out and ask! We work at the level of your urgency. I expect candidates to be honest and transparent about their needs and priorities. We work with you to find the right fit. Then, be sure to communicate with us on what you have cooking in your personal job search, especially if you are in an active interview process. We need to know. The worst way to lose a job or candidate is to timing. Keep your recruiter looped in.

Conversely, what can a candidate expect from a recruiter? Communication, honesty and market insight. You should expect to know how a client is perceiving your resume and other types of feedback. You should get the real scoop from your recruiter and then readjust your expectations if necessary. In terms of market insight, our entire team of privacy recruiters is fluent in the privacy market. They will tell you where they are seeing the shifts to empower you to be a more sophisticated consumer of the market.

Mo: A lot of privacy roles require three or more years of experience plus knowledge of privacy management software. How do you get around this? Also, if you are applying to a job from a different sector, are there any tips to know?

Barre: When it comes to recruiters screening for experience, TRU does that a whole lot less than a direct employer does. Because we are trained in privacy and we’re not generalists, we cull the skills instead. Another way to overcome the need for hands-on experience is getting certified or volunteering from other sectors to join the privacy team. Lead with the privacy work on your resume. When talking to a recruiter, be sure to tell your whole story so that you get the points across. If I have a candidate that is checking most of the boxes, but HR is asking for more experience, I am going to advocate for that person if I know they are strong.


TRU Knows the Privacy Market

If you are looking for the right role in privacy, be sure to reach out to Jess Barre or others on our recruiting team. And if you're looking for our 2022 Data Privacy Jobs Report click here to download it now!

Browse our open privacy jobs today or submit an application.


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