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What is the Best Way to Define an Applicant to Comply with the OFCCP?

Posted on July 5, 2014
Helios HRWritten by Helios HR | Email author

If you are a recruiter or HR professional working for a federal contractor, the recent changes to OFCCP recordkeeping rules have been challenging to keep up with.  If you are unsure about the details of these rules, please see our recent blog posts on the subject.

The new rules require contractors to invite all applicants to self-identify as protected veterans and whether they have a disability at both the pre-offer and post-offer stages of the application process (in addition to collecting race/ethnicity and gender information).  The definition of “applicant” depends upon your firm’s application process.  Do you have a web-based career portal where applicants submit their resumes and other information by either an email or by applying through an on-line application?  If so, it is important for you to understand exactly how the OFCCP defines an applicant applying via the internet.

According to the OFCCP, an “Internet Applicant” is an individual who satisfies all four of the following criteria:

  1. The individual submitted an expression of interest in employment through the Internet or related electronic data technologies;
  2. The contractor considered the individual for employment in a particular position;
  3. The individual’s expression of interest indicated that 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, removed himself or herself from further consideration or otherwise indicated that he/she was no longer interested in the position.

applicant tracking ofccp compliantThese days, nearly every applicant is an “internet applicant” whether they submit their application via email or an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  Based on the rules above, each company must decide exactly when in their process they will invite applicants to self-identify (both pre-offer and post-offer) and in what manner they will collect the data.  

The OFCCP requires that Federal contractors collect the data from all “applicants” at the pre-offer stage.  If you are manually collecting forms only from those individuals who interview for a particular role, but not from all those who meet the internet applicant definition, your applicant flow data may not be complete nor compliant.

Many applicant tracking systems (ATS) such as iCIMS and JobVite, now include an easy way to capture and track compliance-related applicant data. There is no question, using an ATS rather than a manual process to track applicants (and applicant data) makes life so much easier.  If you are managing any sort of volume in your recruiting practice, managing this in spreadsheets and paper forms is inefficient and could easily knock you out of compliance.

These new data collection rules go into effect at the beginning of your firm’s first Affirmative Action Plan year following March 24, 2014.  Those companies with plan years which begin prior to January are the “early adapters” and may be working with ATS companies which have not yet made updates to accommodate the new rules.  Or, if you are tracking manually, you may be scrambling to figure out how to continue to recruit effectively and comply with these new rules at the same time.

Concerned about your firm’s level of OFCCP compliance in recruiting? Take a look at this article on Sample Pre- and Post- Offer Self Identification Forms.

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