Should interview reference information be kept confidential?
February 4, 2013 6:52 PM   Subscribe

I found replies from my references on an intranet site (posted over a year ago), which is available to more than just the group who interviewed me. I'm pretty upset about this since some of the information given was very personal. I'm going to find out about getting it removed, but this is a site that is backed up nightly, so it has also been archived. I'm not sure whether I should go to HR also to ask about the policy.
posted by jenh526 to Work & Money (5 answers total)
I wouldn't worry so much about the archiving, as that information surely exists in your company's record-keeping system somewhere already. However, I would definitely go to HR and ask about the policy -- it's entirely possible they don't even know the information is available like that. People make a lot of wrong assumptions about what's secret or hidden on a corporate network.

If I were you, I'd bring it up with HR that you're concerned about your fellow employee's privacy, since you were able to find this assumed-private information about yourself so easily. Don't get upset unless you learn it's intentionally available.
posted by erst at 7:28 PM on February 4, 2013

I'm 99% sure HR doesn't know it's there, because it was my manager who posted it - outside of the HR area. I don't believe it was done maliciously, but it was done carelessly (my manager is an expert on the system), and that upsets me nearly as much. There is info about other people in this area also.
posted by jenh526 at 7:49 PM on February 4, 2013

Caveat: I've mostly worked at small (< 100 people) tech companies. They are somewhat unique culturally. YMMV.

I've been part of an interview team several times. I've never actually collected references, but I would certainly freely share any information gleaned in an interview with coworkers. I might question it if someone from an unrelated department asked for the information. I might put the information somewhere that was technically available to other people (company DropBox, source control, etc.) but wouldn't advertise the availability of the information. For instance, I wouldn't link the information from someone's intranet bio page.

I think it makes some difference whether the information was linked from your name in some way, or whether it was unlinked but available. I would find it unacceptable to link the information, but acceptable to have the information exist on the company network. Intranet-accessible file stores are common.

I think it's definitely reasonable to go to HR and ask about this. If I were asked by a company to make sure interview information stayed private, I would think that was totally reasonable. I might even post it to an intranet page I assumed was private, but that wasn't actually. It may just be something that nobody's thought to make a policy about.

I would agree that you should approach it as "did you know this was available" rather than "why did you make this available". I used to run a company intranet. Security policy on that stuff is hard and it's really easy for exceptions to slip through.
posted by duien at 7:54 PM on February 4, 2013

If you go to HR about this, you may be stabbing your manager in the back. Take that into consideration.
posted by Goofyy at 5:19 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I would talk to your manager first, using "did you know that this was available still?"

To be honest, he probably just forgot about it.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:52 AM on February 5, 2013

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