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I’m applying for a position at a large corporation that has customer data on an incredibly large user base, including myself. Let’s just say it’s Google (it’s not) for example.

Is it standard practice for large companies like Google to take a look at the data that they have on me (in this case, browsing history, interests, etc.) and review that as a part of the hiring process? Is this dependent on the terms of service for my interactions with them?

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  • Google in particular will not care about any of those things you listed. I don't work there but I can tell you this with great certainty.
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 21:27

2 Answers 2

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It depends on the country and the company. The safest approach is to assume that if somebody has your data, they will use it against you. But in reality things are usually a bit different.

In most companies, especially big ones, employees' access to data is restricted, and they are allowed to see only the data that is relevant to their job. This is done partially because of data privacy laws and partially for security reasons, since it's easier to have the data leaked when everyone has access to everything.

Because of that, HRs often don't have access to customer data, e.g. your search history. Data analysts can have access to your search history, but not to the CV you sent to the HRs.

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    To add: companies (like Amazon for example) will have you create a separate account for their job portal. This is to "assure" applicants that they don't use the info from the Amazon account. If you use the same email address for both accounts, they could theoretically link the two if they so choose.
    – zmike
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 21:39
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There are privacy rules. Google for example will be allowed to do certain things with your account data and not others. Let's say Walmart hires you and checks what Google knows about you, as far as it is legal. And then you get a job at Google. Google can legally do the same things as Walmart. Google might be technically able to do things that Walmart can't do, but that would be in violation of your privacy rights.

Google's HR would have the exact same access to your private data as Walmart's HR, no less and no more. They would obviously have access to your data in your role as an employee, but that's separate.

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