*Obviously, that’s not legal advice. I’m certainly not telling you to actually ignore the rules. However, I’ve been speaking to a lot of our clients recently about GDPR and I’ve noticed that everyone is very focused on the minutiae. The process and procedures and the perception of pain that is associated with it.

I’m asking that you – briefly - step back. Look at GDPR from another perspective.  Look beyond the rules.

GDPR is not executive search regulation. It is not recruitment regulation. It is actually considered to be Human Rights regulation. What it’s trying to achieve is laudable – It’s aim is to ensure that people – executives or anyone else – are able to control the personal information that relates to them and are able to ensure that it is used appropriately.

How is that a bad thing? Look at it from the perspective of the “natural person”. Most people will have at least a degree of concern about the information that is circulating about them – recent stories such as Equifax will ensure that – and most people will be happy to have the ability to control who sees any personal information and what they do with it.

And…. At the most basic level…. Why would an executive not want to be in the database of a quality executive search firm? Very few will have any objection at all. If anything, GDPR will allow the executive to ensure that it is just the “good firms” who have access to them. And – if your firm is one of the good ones – that’s a good thing.

So, really, GDPR is unlikely to see search firm databases being decimated. What it will do, however, is cause a degree of administrative work between now and May, and then on an ongoing basis. Search firms will need to contact the executives; they may need to request consent under certain circumstances; they will need to ensure information is accurate and secure on an ongoing basis.

If the end result of this is that your search firm has reconnected with the talent in its sector, if it has taken the opportunity to refresh the data it stores, positioned itself as a firm that does things properly, then – actually – the process of achieving GDPR compliancy may put your firm in a better place than it is today.

I’d like to think that we can help our clients achieve this in a couple of ways. Our new GatedTalent product will help manage the compliancy process and will also allow executives to refresh your existing data.  We have a series of webinars (beginning tomorrow) on this product – do join us. In addition, our World Executive Search Congress – taking place in London next week – is an excellent opportunity to listen to and learn from experts in the field – and people in your shoes, running other search firms and trying to find a way to manage the GDPR process.

Achieving full compliance is going to be a lot of work. It’s going to involve a degree of change. However, if handled correctly it has the potential to be a good thing for your firm.