Without an applicant tracking system (ATS) to handle your OFCCP/Affirmative Action reporting, you could find yourself swimming in a sea of spreadsheets. Not only that, but you may unknowingly be inviting unwanted trouble.
There are many benefits to producing OFCCP reports through the right ATS, not the least of which is mitigating risk by making sure that recruiters are being compliant. Companies are able to monitor recruiting operations and identify any issues or problems before they become an issue, allowing themselves time to take corrective action prior to any potential OFCCP reviews or audits. Additionally, with the right applicant management system, OFCCP/Affirmative Action reports can be produced easily and quickly. Having those reports available on-demand ensures timeliness, accuracy, and consistency.
What You Should Expect Your ATS to Provide
If you find yourself in the position of having to collect data for Affirmative Action reporting, doing it manually won't get you the results that you need. In addition, if you are faced with an OFCCP review or OFCCP audit, it's best to prepare in advance. There is functionality within competitive applicant tracking systems which allows you to collect data effortlessly so that your reporting is easy and your audit can run smoothly. When considering this feature of your ATS, these are some elements you should expect:
- The capability of producing well-written job postings, including clear, specific qualifications. Rewriting a job posting or description from scratch each time you post that same role, opens up too much margin for error, and potential inconsistencies. Having standardized templates for each position enables you to prove your selections are based only on qualifications, without the opportunity to be discriminatory or non-compliant.
- The ability to electronically accept all information. This includes cover letters, resumes, certifications, licensing, etc., making sure that you are in adherence with the Internet Applicant Ruling.
- The provision of proper forms. Many applicant tracking systems do not provide the correct forms to ensure compliance. For example, the Individual with Disability Disclosure form. As of March 24, 2014, all government contractors are required to supply each applicant with this disclosure form. There are employers not yet in compliance with this ruling, amended to protect individuals with disabilities, as well as veteran status.
- The ability to track referral sources. Because of the OFCCP’s commitment to compliance assistance , your ATS should provide a list of referral sources for candidates to easily identify where they saw your job listing.
- The capability of tracking the progress of each candidate, per requisition. There are systems that can capture the profile of a candidate, and subsequently utilize that profile as an over-arching application for any and all positions the candidate applies to. However, the OFCCP requires that the progress of a candidate be tracked per position, based on applying for each individual opening they express interest in. You want to be sure to show the OFCCP that you are looking at key qualifications against your standards, and that you are considering every candidate.
- The ability to screen applicants via minimum qualifications. Your ATS should allow you to screen applicants based upon minimum qualifications such as meeting age requirements, educational background, years of experience, failed drug or background checks, and minimum years of experience, and to compare applicants against that data.
- The ability to provide standard, OFCCP compliant questions. When dealing with the recruiting and application process, it’s important to maintain standard, consistent lines of questioning. Be sure that your ATS includes a line of questioning that stays in compliance with regard to race/ethnicity, gender, (and as of March 24, 2014), disability and veteran status. This information should be accessible to Human Resources for reporting, however, absolutely not be accessible to hiring managers. Your ATS demographic survey should also be customizable so you are able to make changes as new regulations are passed. You may be surprised to find that some Applicant Tracking Systems are asking the wrong questions!
- The provision of standardized, clear and easily customizable disposition codes, which adhere to the Internet Applicant Ruling. Should the OFCCP find significant selection disparities during an audit (or if they’ve received a complaint), they will need to pursue more information and data by asking for original documentation. An inability to produce this information could cause them to assume the worst.
- The capability of providing email correspondence directly from the ATS. This way, all communication to applicants is captured and easily retrievable. Additionally, not only is this efficient, but it’s also consistent. It’s important that each candidate be communicated to in a timely manner and with consistent verbiage.
- The ability to supply reports showing that no one outside of Human Resources had access to the disclosed ethnicity of any candidate before hiring decisions were made, nor were any reports run.
- The capability of easily running an EEO report when asked. Additionally, your ATS should be able to export data into a spreadsheet program. At times, the OFCCP will require further analysis of reports that an ATS is not able to provide. At these times, the ability to manipulate data within another format is imperative.
- The capacity to store and easily retrieve applicant information for the required time period based upon the size of your company and the value of your government contract. There are applicant tracking systems that will sometimes purge data before the required time limit. Be sure to verify with your ATS vendor that the necessary data will be retained for the required period of time.
It’s essential to point out that it is ultimately up to you as an employer to remain OFCCP/Affirmative Action compliant. An applicant tracking system, when utilized properly, can make a potential OFCCP review or audit a simpler process. Your ATS should assist you in recognizing any potential inconsistencies before they arrive, giving you adequate time to take corrective action. When selecting an ATS, be sure that you are choosing one that when utilized properly can record and retain the proper data ensuring your compliance with the OFCCP.