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I'm interested in a very specific type of work so I need to reapply at the same (huge) companies a lot. However, I try not to apply more than once, twice a year at one company.

When reapplying I discovered the HR normally knows that I e.g. applied for a position with them a year or 2 years ago. If I was interviewed, they sometimes even know who interviewed me and one company now even told me that they keep their notes from the interviews to decide whether to invite candidates again if they re-apply a year or two later.

I'm curious how this can happen. As far as I know, companies are allowed to store candidates' data just for 6 months after their applications in Germany.

This practice seems to me quite unsettling too. If you happened to be sick or tired during your interview, the information that you aren't good enough can be kept in your files forever.

Is it normal in Germany to store candidates' data for years? And is there a way to avoid this from happening/ affecting your chances?

  • change your name? – Kilisi Aug 11 '18 at 22:00
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    If you've been interviewed at a particular company for a position and rejected, it's unlikely that re-applying every 6 months will lead to better results. If your work is quite specific, it would probably still be the same set of people within that large company evaluating you and, while the company may not be permitted to retain information, nothing would prevent those people from remembering you. – Eric Aug 12 '18 at 1:07
  • @Eric, I mean applying for a different position at the same company. I mean big companies with many open positions here. – BigMadAndy Aug 12 '18 at 6:10
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In the company where I work (in Germany) AFAIK the standard procedure is to ask the candidate if he likes to remain in the database after the application process. If he says no, that should be enough (and I had already the case that I personally remembered an applicant from an interview one year before and this interview was not in the database/the candidate was considered to be new).

So no, you cant stop people from remembering, and I would not swear that the deletion of notes works perfectly, but the standard procedure is deletion from the HR database unless explicitly agreed to by the candidate.

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    This is how it should work. However, many companies have some fine print somewhere on their careers website that says you'll be added to the talent database automatically if you apply. I'm not sure if this is legal anymore with the new EU data protection law but it was super common until recently. – Sumyrda Aug 12 '18 at 21:16
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is there a way to avoid this from happening

No, not without creating trouble that would prevent you ever getting a job there anyway.

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