The recruiting industry has changed drastically over the past several decades. Organizations are hiring remote workers from all over the world, and recruiters are relying on digital networking platforms to find and interview candidates.

The internet has made recruiting a faster, more efficient process, but it also poses unique cybersecurity risks that just weren’t present in the past. Here are some of the biggest security challenges that recruiters face, as well as best practices to help you connect with job candidates safely.

Common Cybersecurity Risks for Recruiters

Hackers often target recruiting agencies because of the large volume of secure data they collect from their clients. There are a variety of ways that data breaches and cyber attacks can happen.

Malware is a form of software that is designed to infiltrate or damage your computer, and it poses a serious threat to recruiting agencies. There are many different types of malware, but one of the most destructive types is ransomware. Ransomware collects your secure data and holds it for ‘ransom’, charging exorbitant amounts of money to safely return your data.

Recruiters are also vulnerable to social engineering tactics like phishing and spoofing scams. These happen when a hacker pretends to be a trusted contact in order to gain access to information. Some hackers will use brute force attacks to crack passwords as well.

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Recruiters

Although these cybersecurity risks can be daunting, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your business as a recruiter. Here are some best practices to implement into your operations.

Secure Candidate Data Management

Since recruiters collect a large volume of secure data from job candidates, having a data management policy in place is essential. Make sure you’re only collecting data that’s absolutely necessary for the recruitment process and properly disposing of it when it is no longer necessary.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure you’re getting consent from each candidate before collecting data. Depending on what type of data you’re collecting, you may even be legally required to make a disclosure to your candidates and put certain security measures in place.

Strong Password Practices

The last thing you want as a recruiter is for any of your online accounts to be hacked. If your login information falls into the wrong hands, cybercriminals could access any sensitive information your job candidates have shared or even misrepresent your company online.

To keep both your applicants and your company safe from hackers, it’s important for recruiters to use strong password practices. This should apply to every digital platform you use, whether it’s your email, project management platform, a job board, or something else.

Your passwords should be complex and use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. They should also be changed periodically, so if you realize you’ve had the same password for years or find out that it’s been compromised, make sure to change it.

Employee Training and Awareness

Cybersecurity is complex, and best practices change frequently as new threats emerge. Because of this, it is recommended that organizations offer training on cybersecurity trends and physical security measures every six-months for their entire team.

Include basic cybersecurity training as part of your onboarding process, and make sure to provide periodic updates if new cybersecurity threats emerge. If you don’t have in-house security experts who can provide training, work with your IT provider to bring in a third-party expert instead.

Two-Factor Authentication

One of the best ways to protect your data is to use two-factor authentication wherever you can. Two-factor authentication requires you to enter two pieces of information to access an account – a password and a code sent to your phone or email. This means that even if your password is compromised, cybercriminals still won’t have access to your accounts.

Regular Software Updates and Patching

Recruiting agencies use a variety of different software programs in the course of their operations. To keep your systems safe, it’s important to update all of the software you use in a timely manner.

Developers release software updates and patches to address vulnerabilities in their programs. If you fail to install updates and patches in a timely manner, your system will be an easier target for cybercriminals.

Secure Communication Channels

A big part of the recruiting process is sharing information with job candidates. Some of this information can be sensitive, especially as the candidate moves further into the hiring process. Additionally, recruiters need to communicate closely with the organizations they’re hiring for.

This communication is necessary for recruiters to do their jobs, but it’s important to use secure channels to do so. The easiest way to do this is to use platforms that have built-in encryption for messages and calls. You can also manually encrypt emails that contain secure data.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery

There are a variety of ways that your data could be lost or compromised, whether it’s through ransomware or just as the result of an equipment failure. This is why it’s so important to back up your data on a regular basis.

There are many ways to do this. For example, if you’re using cloud storage for your data, you could periodically back up your data to an on-premise server or hard drive, or vice versa. For protecting on-premise servers and other key data that is held at a physical location, an access control system is a vital investment for any company. If you’re unsure of how to back up your data, consider working with a third-party IT firm to do so.

However, data loss can happen to any organization, even if you’re extremely prepared. This is why it’s so important to have a disaster recovery plan, just in case. When putting together a disaster recovery plan, think about how you’ll get your operations back up and running, as well as how you’ll communicate with your clients.

In order for your recruiting business to succeed, you’ll need to have a cybersecurity policy in place. If you neglect to implement a cybersecurity strategy, your valuable data could potentially be compromised, hurting your business financially and damaging your reputation. If you’re struggling to implement these cybersecurity strategies, consider working with a third-party IT or security firm.

Eden Mondanaro

Eden Mondanaro is the Digital Marketing Manager at Parachute. He has over 20 years of advertising and marketing experience, with over 10 years of proven digital marketing success exclusively in the B2B technology space. His background in digital strategic management ranges from channel and direct marketing to digital marketing for Service Providers, SMBs, and Fortune 100 enterprises in North America, South America, EMEA (Europe/Middle East), Africa and APAC (Asia/Pacific). He attended California State University, Sacramento and currently resides with his wife and family in Northern California.