Can candidates request interview notes from potential employers?

November 8, 2023
min read

In the United States, job candidates may have certain rights to access information that employers collect about them during the hiring process. These rights can vary based on the federal, state, or local laws and regulations that apply to the employer.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers are required to retain job candidates' records, even for those who aren't hired. This includes applications, resumes, interview notes, and other related documents. Employers must keep these records for at least one year from the date the record was made under federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and others. For certain employers like state and local governments, educational institutions, and federal contractors, the retention period is two years​​.

The EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) also protect job seekers against employment discrimination. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can help companies stay legally compliant by organizing and retaining candidate files in accordance with federal employment regulations​​.

Moreover, there is legal precedent indicating that while personal data cannot be disclosed without exemption, applicants can request access to non-identifiable data about the recruitment process. Under certain conditions, this can include anonymized data about other applicants, scoring in interviews, and interview notes, which can help determine if a fair recruitment process has been undertaken. However, employers must be careful not to divulge information that would identify other applicants and must treat all candidates' data with the same level of confidentiality​.

Employers may need to inform all candidates that certain anonymized data about them may be disclosed to other candidates if requested during the recruitment process. This is to ensure transparency and fairness in how the data is handled and potentially shared​.

In summary: U.S.-based job candidates may request access to recruitment notes about them. Employers are required to keep these records and, under certain conditions, provide access to non-identifiable recruitment data. This is to ensure a transparent and non-discriminatory hiring process. However, this access must be balanced with the privacy rights of other applicants. Candidates interested in accessing such information should inquire directly with the employer or legal counsel to understand their specific rights and the process for making such a request.

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