GDPR and automatic social media profile retrieval


When a candidate is added to your account (either through applying or being sourced), Workable's People Search technology will automatically enrich their profile with links to their social media accounts.

As a ‘data processor’ Workable searches publicly available profiles and opt-in databases for information about candidates and prospects. By clicking the links provided, Workable users (‘data controllers’) can view only the information that candidates and prospects have chosen to make available.


On June 29 2017, the EU's Article 29 Working Party (the collection of data protection authorities) released guidance on the privacy of employees and candidates. This specifies that employers may process social media profile information if there is legitimate interest.

Quoting from Section 5.1:

"In this context the employer should—prior to the inspection of a social media profile—take into account whether the social media profile of the applicant is related to business or private purposes, as this can be an important indication for the legal admissibility of the data inspection. In addition, employers are only allowed to collect and process personal data relating to job applicants to the extent that the collection of those data is necessary and relevant to the performance of the job which is being applied for."

Therefore, any potential employer using People Search whether directly or via the automatic social media profile retrieval must be able to justify its use on the basis that this is ‘necessary and relevant’ for the job for which the candidate is being evaluated.

For example, an employer might want to review an applicant’s LinkedIn profile since employment history and skillsets are integral information to the hiring process.

The employer might not need to inspect an applicant’s Twitter feed, which is likely to contain extraneous information that is not relevant to hiring them.

Note that the option to turn off automatic social media retrieval on the candidate profile is available via the account settings.