Data privacy – you’re not just hiring for the sake of the GDPR

7 November 2017 by Adrian Clarke

Data privacy – you’re not just hiring for the sake of the GDPR


Adrian Clarke Leadership, News & Views, Data...

At the Cyber Threat Summit held in Dublin in October, US intelligence whistle-blower Edward Snowden presented his concerns about Irish data retention laws, commenting that bulk surveillance need not be a reality in any part of the world. However, is profiling based on our consumer behaviours not a form of surveillance? Isn’t the trend analysis of our Netflix consumption not, at its core, a form of monitoring?

Fundamentally, the circumstances surrounding the granting of permission to allow such surveillance is where many consumers begin to raise an eyebrow. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Data protection is nothing new, however the implications for non-compliance of GDPR (due to come into effect on May 25th 2018) are game-changing (up to 4% of turnover), and will act as a wake-up call for many organisations to upgrade their audit and compliance processes. For consumers too, GDPR is a reminder that our click happy habits have repercussions beyond better customer experience.

Data privacy is a big business. Advisory firms and specialist consultancies continue to add headcount, as do players in the legal profession. However, the hire of internal data protection officers, data privacy officers or data compliance professionals is not specific to GDPR. For the vast majority of organisations, the realignment of processes and changing mechanisms to store customer data is a short term fix. Organisations should see this as an opportunity to differentiate and show how seriously they are taking their data privacy obligations. A strong data privacy hire will be able to hold a bird-eye view of all departments, and offer advice to both senior stakeholders and all data beacons i.e. every person in the organisation.

When hiring for a great data privacy hire, Alternatives offers the following advice:

  1. Consider the candidate’s emotional intelligence and ability to handle sensitive matters with ease
  2. Fundamentally assess their ability to plan on a compliance level for new product or propositions roll out
  3. Do not assume that legal candidates are the only options. Internal audit professionals are a strong alternative that are used to handling governance issues
  4. Programme & project management skills are not just a nice-to-have. Privacy initiative include many layers of consideration, review and consultation with the business. It is therefore critical that the hire can balance short, medium & long term objectives
  5. Training and coaching skills are vital. From workshop facilitation to delivering department (and audience) specific content, look for storytellers with the ability to play the role of communications chameleon
  6. Finally, remember to consult with your talent partner for market sentiment and the engagement levels of candidates.

You’re not hiring for the sake of the GDPR, you’re hiring for the integrity of your commitment to your customer. 

For more information please contact  +353 (1) 661 8889 or email