Hiring the right people has always been crucial to business success. So, as marketers spend more and more time grappling with issues around privacy, it’s increasingly important to understand how your candidates are thinking about data ethics and security.
Of course, the key to finding the right people is to ask the right questions. Think with Google spoke to a range of industry experts to find out what interview questions they ask — and why. Here are their go-to recruitment questions, designed to build a privacy-first culture:
Katie Eyton’s go-to interview question:
“What does privacy mean to you?”
“This is a very open-ended question — and you get an immediate reaction. Some people’s faces will just drop. You can tell right away that they think of privacy as a chore. But others may tell you about a thought-provoking personal experience with a data breach. The response to this question will help you assess the candidate’s mindset.”
“You won’t ever get all the skills you ideally want in one person. But the most important indicator of success is attitude. Anyone can learn new skills. But you can’t really teach someone to care. You need individuals who show concern and consideration for people and their data in order to build a privacy-first culture.”
David Campos’ go-to interview question:
“Tell me about a time you’ve had a difficult conversation with colleagues about privacy. What was the result?”
“Once you know that your candidate understands all the basics around privacy, this is a great question to ask. This question will show whether a candidate has the ability to persuade their colleagues and guide them through uncertain territory.”
“At Nestlé, we don’t want to bring in candidates that will dictate how their colleagues should do things. We don’t want them to say: ‘You cannot do this because it’s not compliant.’ That’s a very black-and-white approach. We need people who can successfully navigate ambiguous grey areas. Soft skills — such as the ability to influence people and put yourself in their position — are absolutely critical.”
Alex Davies’ go-to interview question:
“What strategies, tactics, or technologies would you employ to protect user privacy, whilst preserving data integrity?”
“From a measurement perspective, this open question helps you to gauge a candidate’s understanding of user privacy and see where they sit on the ethical spectrum. You’re also assessing their competency and knowledge of various technologies that will come into play. If they give you ideas for ‘hacks’ to get around user privacy, that’s a big red flag, as respecting user privacy should be at the heart of measurement.”
“I’m looking for candidates who come up with plans to future-proof data integrity. I’d expect them to cover three key areas. First, data modelling to offset the lack of data from non-consented users. Second, technology enhancements, such as server-side tagging, to provide incremental data. Finally, first-party data matching to increase match rates and remove the reliance on third-party cookies.”
Zoran Arsovski’s go-to interview question:
“Tell me about a time when you led change within your organisation.”
“A company that puts privacy first is going to need to be ready for big organisational changes. The landscape is always shifting. I want to know that any new hire will be comfortable driving that change. I want them to tell me when they’ve led change within their organisation, with the use of technology. They need to prove they can balance a complex set of needs while edging towards a lofty goal.”
Ivana Bartoletti’s go-to interview question:
“How and why did you get into the field of privacy?”
“I always ask candidates how they became interested in privacy. I’m consistently fascinated by the answers. When people respond, you can sense their drive, maturity, and curiosity in the subject. It also indicates their willingness to reskill.”
“I don’t really care which specific background someone comes from. I will happily hire people from all different backgrounds: legal, security, data management, etc. What I’m really interested in is a candidate’s personal journey that led them to be interested in privacy. To an extent, skills can be learned. What cannot be learned is passion. Privacy is a subject matter that requires a lot of attention, because it changes every day. You need people who are dedicated to constantly stay updated.”
These recruitment questions demonstrate that a candidate’s technical competencies are important, but attitude, passion, and the ability to navigate change are also crucial capabilities to consider in the hiring process.
Adopting some of these interview questions should help you build a privacy-centric culture. They will allow you to identify individuals who find ethical solutions to problems, adapt to constantly shifting legislation, and bring colleagues along with them on the ever-evolving privacy journey.
Looking for more expert insights into building a privacy-centric organisation? The next article is just a click away.