Given the continuing advances in technology, it is not surprising that companies are using new ways to target potential employees.
One that is catching our eye these days is “geofencing.” Recruiters are now borrowing this technique, which has been honed by digital marketers and social media platforms to get advertising, marketing and brand messages to hyper-focused audiences.
The idea behind geofencing is simple, even if the technology that powers it is complex. You set up a virtual perimeter around a particular geographic “zone,” whether a specific zip code, neighbor-hood or business area. Once individuals enter the zone, they receive specific messages or advertisements on their cellphones or tablets.
Increasingly, companies are using geofencing to locate and attract specialized talent. A company might buy a database of potential recruits, culled from online profiles or educational records, and then set up geographic zones where the coveted recruits work or live. When someone with relevant credentials enters a geofenced zone, an ad inviting the person to apply will appear on his or her mobile phone. Recruiters say this approach provides a more cost-effective and targeted method of recruiting than traditional methods.
But it also raises questions about protecting the privacy of the individuals you are targeting. If your organization collects personally identifiable data in connection with a geofencing campaign, then you should also put mechanisms in place to protect the data from the malicious activities of hackers and from improper use or disclosure by authorized users. As with any individually identifiable data that you collect, you should consider the following questions:
Again, it costs money to protect information. You will reduce risk and expense if you set time limits on your retention of personally identifiable information.
In the event of a security breach, your company could find itself subject to investigation, meaning these questions could become front and center. If you have not adequately addressed these issues, you could face a public backlash.
In a world that is increasingly interconnected, geofencing provides great opportunities—yet comes with potential risks that good companies should think through.