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How to Choose Applicant Tracking Software to Ensure OFCCP Compliance

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Since May 2006, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has been enforcing a landmark ruling that sets explicit regulations on the collection, storage and reporting of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data for internet applicants. It also defines internet applicants, identifies electronic data collection methods, creates basic qualification standards and establishes recordkeeping requirements for compliance.

While OFCCP regulations are specifically for companies with federal contracts, it is the responsibility of every employer to eliminate discrimination in their hiring process.  It is not enough to just consult an attorney (which clearly should be step 1).  In today’s world, where applicants can easily apply to hundreds of openings with a few mouse clicks and each job attracts hundreds of candidates, using a spreadsheet to track all of this information is possible (maybe) but ensuring its accuracy or drawing any insight out of this information is impossible. Regardless, manually tracking this information has gotten increasingly more cumbersome and maintaining the integrity of this data has been riddled with human error (transcribing information from one form to another) as the volume of recruiting data continues to increase.

To help ensure that your company remains compliant with these types of government regulations, your organization should be storing, tracking, and analyzing hiring information with a solution that can handle large amounts of data while minimizing the need to copy information from one form to another. As such, this solution must have these 4 critical capabilities: ask every potential employee to identify their EEO info, capture the reasons why your employees have chosen NOT to hire someone (every time), continuously analyze this information in real-time and be able to create reports that you can use for compliance reporting.

But there is good news. Tracking the information that can help your company stay in compliance, perhaps even reduce hiring discrimination, has really never been easier….as long as you choose the right recruiting software vendor.  Be careful, shop around and ask the right questions because not every vendor understands these regulations (and most have incomplete applications that will cause you to have gaps in your program).

What questions do you ask of your ATS vendor?

So, what should you be looking for? Here is a list of things that you need to consider. My first piece of advice is when choosing applicant tracking software make sure you not only ask the right questions; also take the time to see the feature in action, live, so you really know how everything works. This is important stuff; don’t just take the salesperson’s word for it.

Request EEO information for every job from your careers page. Just about any applicant tracking system will include a feature that requests voluntary EEO information from applicants during the online application process. If it doesn’t, don’t buy it. A good looking, fully-branded careers site, that displays your EEO disclaimer and asks for voluntary EEO/AA information should be easy to set up and simple to manage without support from IT.

Automatically capture “reasons for non-selection” for every applicant. Here’s where the rubber really meets the road. OFCCP regulations require employers to capture a reason for non-selection for every candidate they receive. When evaluating recruiting software, you MUST determine how it will capture reasons for non-selection. This information is critical and most legacy applicant tracking systems have no way of capturing this data. Those that do, often require you and your team to take time consuming extra steps and force you to enter loads of data manually. Choose a system that enables everyone in your company to easily, accurately and automatically capture pre-selected reasons for non-selection without creating extra steps in your recruiting process.

Ask minimum qualification question for every job. Asking minimum qualifications is best accomplished during the online application process. When applicants do not meet a job’s minimum qualifications the government does not require you to track them as an applicant. Choose recruiting software that allows you to automate this process, and you’ll save time by ensuring that you are processing only the applicants that are qualified for your jobs. A smart recruiting system will store each applicant’s minimum qualification answers with their record and will allow you to remove candidates of this type from your applicant flow logs automatically.

Create applicant flow logs automatically for any job. Every federal contractor must generate applicant flow logs that record all the information required by the OFCCP regulations for conducting an adverse impact analysis. If an applicant tracking system is already tracking all the relevant information that comprises a flow log (data received, name, position, job group, race and sex, veterans status, reason for non-selection, date of hire), generating a report should be simple. Ideally choose recruiting technology that’ll allow you to export applicant flow logs into the same form that you’ll send to the OFCCP.

Create Hire/Offer Logs instantly. The purpose of this report is to record each hire or job offer made by your company during the reporting period being analyzed as part of your affirmative action plan.  Again, you’ll want to select software that automatically tracks all the required information to fulfill the OFCCP’s requirements (date of hire, date of offer, job title, job group, gender, ethnicity, race, veterans’ status). Creating a report should take one or two clicks, and should allow you to export the report to Excel.

Audit your EEO statistics anytime from an online dashboard. Now, it’s up to you to monitor and regularly audit your EEO/AA data. Proactive assessment and management can prevent costly litigation. Purchasing software that allows to view EEO data online and to generate custom reports is essential and is a good way to take preventative steps against risks. Make sure that you have access to all of your EEO/AA data, so you can ensure that your company is indeed an equal opportunity employer.

Finally, you’d probably expect that recruiting software that will capture, track and report EEO/OFCCP data automatically would be expensive and difficult to implement. But, thanks to new delivery methods and even newer business models, there’s technology available that you can set up in a matter of days and will only cost a few hundred dollars per month. Compared to the cost of a discrimination lawsuit, this is a no-brainer. So, get educated, know what you need to track, kick some tires, do the demos and choose modern recruiting software that can turn your OFCCP headache into nothing more than just another thing you’ve got under control.

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