Job Applications

During a job application process, employers collect a large amount of personal data about applicants, first of all from their application letters and resumes. During a job interview, people that are present may take notes of the answers given by an applicant, the way the interview develops, and the impression they get of the applicant. Finally, the application process may include a screening, assessment, psychological test, or physical (hiring examination).

Retention Period for Application Data
If an applicant did not get the job, the organization will typically remove his or her data within 4 weeks after the end of the application process.
Applicants may give consent to keep their data longer, e.g. because a suitable position may open up at a later time. A period of up to 1 year after the end of the application process is reasonable.

Do I have to say anything about my health during a job interview?

Yes, if this is directly relevant to the job you are applying for, e.g. if you are unable to perform key elements of this job due to an illness or disability. You do not have to reveal any other information about your health.

In the event you become unfit for work due to an illness or disability you did not reveal during your job interview, this may have consequences for the continued payment of your wages during your illness. In addition, your employer may dismiss you with immediate effect.

Do I have to say during a job interview that I am pregnant or want to get pregnant?

No, you have no obligation to do so. If you are asked whether you are or want to get pregnant, you have no obligation to tell the truth.

You can, however, say that you are or want to get pregnant if you want to say so yourself. An employer is not allowed to turn you down because you are or want to get pregnant.

Is an employer allowed to look me up on the internet if I am applying for a jobr?

In principle, this is not forbidden. You should keep in mind that any online information about you is public. An employer should realize, however, that not all online information is necessarily true. If an employer uses online information during an application process, he or she should allow you to explain any information found.

Blocking Profiles
If you do not want your future employer to check out your social media profile(s), you should block access to your profiles for unknown persons, using your privacy settings.

Is an employer allowed to screen me when I apply for a job?

This is only allowed if the employer meets certain (statutory) conditions. Those conditions are meant to protect your privacy. For some jobs, e.g. in childcare, screening is required by law.

Screening during an Application Process
It is important for employers to hire reliable workers. This is why an employer you are applying for a job with may decide to screen you. This means that the employer will collect more detailed information about you.

A typical screening involves checking the information in your resume. This can be done by calling the references you provided, or by googling you, for examplen.

Conditions for Screening
The main conditions for being allowed to conduct a screening are:

  • An employer may only retrieve data about you that are relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a position as administrative assistant, extensive screening will not be necessary. If, by contrast, you are applying for a job that involves frequent handling of large sums of money or confidential information, the employer is allowed to retrieve more information about yo.
  • Your health should never be the object of screening, unless a medical examination is required by law for the job you are applying for. The employer should inform you of the screening. He or she should previously tell you that a screening is taking place, and afterwards what the results are.

Legally Required Screening
If a screening is required by law, the employer may ask for a so-called Certificate Regarding Conduct (Certificate of Good Conduct).

In addition, special statutory provisions apply to screening for positions of trust, such as for police officers and some government jobs.

More Information about Screening

See Screening for more information about the requirements employers must meet when screening applicants or employees.

Can I inspect my application data or have them corrected or remove?

Yes, you have the right to inspect your application data. You can also ask to correct or remove them.

Where can I go if I have a complaint about my job application?

If you have a complaint about the use of your personal data during your job application, you should first go to the employer you applied with. If you cannot sort things out with the employer, there are follow-up steps you can take.