July 24, 2012
Recordkeeping violations—No excuses

by Kurt Ronn, president and founder, HRworks
Proper recordkeeping of the applicant pool has always been required by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). So why do recordkeeping violations continue to be the top violation? No excuses. The requirements for tracking applicants have been in place for a half-dozen years.

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The new definition of “internet applicant” is no longer new. As of February 6, 2006, federal contractors were required to solicit race, ethnicity, and gender data from any individual meeting the definition of internet applicant.’ An individual is deemed to be an Internet Applicant under the rule if they meet the following four criteria outlined in the (OFCCP) final ruling.

  1. The individual submits an expression of interest in employment through the Internet or related electronic data technologies;
  2. The contractor considers the individual for employment in a particular position;
  3. The individual’s expression of interest indicates the individual possesses the basic qualifications for the position; and,
  4. The individual at no point in the contractor’s selection process prior to receiving an offer of employment from the contractor, removes himself or herself from further consideration or otherwise indicates that he or she is no longer interested in the position.

“Electronic data technologies” is broadly defined as any electronic method of communication, such as faxes, emails/internet response, résumé database searches, etc. Therefore, almost all federal contractor hiring activity falls within the final ruling’s electronic data technologies. As a result, all federal contractors must comply with the final ruling.

A recent audit of a federal contractor’s recruitment compliance practice showed many candidates hired that were not in the applicant tracking system. I’m not saying that the audit showed that candidates were in the wrong folder, in the wrong hiring stage, not dispositioned properly, or the recruitment team was unable to produce database search logs, interview notes or some other common compliance concern. No, the candidates were not in the applicant tracking system. No record, just hired.

Six years later and a federal contractor is still not executing a primary recruitment process step of ensuring all candidates apply properly before they are considered.

As a recruiting professional, I recognize that compliance can be cumbersome and getting hiring mangers and recruiters to comply with complex processes can be difficult, but it is hard to make a case to OFCCP in an audit that the company has a good and fair recruitment process when multiple individual candidates are hired outside of the applicant tracking system. No data is worse that bad data. No data is worse than bad process as it invalidates the entire process and results in a cumbersome conciliation agreement.

A conciliation agreement may have immediate financial impact, but at a minimum it puts a large bull’s-eye on the company for future audits. So, considering that compliance teams are under extreme pressure to understand the continuing changes from the U.S. Department of Labor, OFCCP, and EEOC, it is time for hiring mangers and talent acquisition professionals to follow the rules. No excuses. Six years later and candidates are still being hired outside of the system should be punished internally and proactively corrected before OFCCP arrives.

All employers should be auditing their internal process and looking for ways to improve. My recommendation is that before you hire an outside firm to do a deep dive or create another complex process or committee, review the last 25 hires. Were they in the applicant tracking system? Were they moved through the hiring stages appropriately? If so, find the hiring manager and recruiter and thank them for doing a great job and for making the compliance job easier. If the hires were not handled properly, take action. No excuses!

Kurt Ronn is the president and founder of HRworks, an award-winning national recruitment firm that helps companies acquire talent with an expertise in federally compliant, executive, large-scale project and military recruitment. For more information, visit HRworks.com.

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