“Tricky” Applicant Situations: No Reason to be Scared!

This Halloween season, here are a few “scary” and “tricky” applicant data situations that are quite ...

Posted by Lauren Buerger, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant on October 27 2017
Lauren Buerger, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant
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This Halloween season, here are a few “scary” and “tricky” applicant data situations that are quite common for many companies. Let’s review some things to consider and some recommendations for how to handle them!

First, some general recommendations when reconciling applicant data:

  • Use requisition numbers. They are extremely helpful in organizing your data!Tricky applicant data situations.jpeg
  • Compare your new hires and your hired. When preparing your applicant data for your annual Affirmative Action Plan (AAP), compare your new hire list to the list of applicants marked as hired. Applicants in requisitions without external hires in your plan year can be excluded.
  • Pool your applicants. When looking at your applicant data, think of each external hire in your plan year as needing its own applicant pool. In each pool, you want to be able to identify everyone who was considered for that particular selection.

What if I have multiple hires to the same requisition?

If the individuals were hired into the same location and job, there is generally no problem, unless it is an evergreen requisition—more on that later. Things can become tricky if you made multiple hires into different jobs, or different levels of the same job, or if you made hires for jobs in multiple locations, in the same requisition. In that case, it is best to create a separate requisition for each job and/or location. If it’s too late to use separate requisitions, one solution might be to consider including those considered for each specific job or location in separate requisitions, or pools, when analyzing your applicant data in your annual affirmative action plan. This allows you to better evaluate whether each selection decision was made fairly.

What if we have parent/child requisitions?

One common practice is to use one requisition, which might be an evergreen requisition, to collect the applicants for a job. (This would be the parent requisition.) Then when a hire is made, a separate requisition is created that only includes this hire, the “child” requisition. In this case, if you use your new hire list to create your applicant flow for your annual AAP, the applicants in the parent requisition may be mistakenly excluded from your analysis since no hire was made in that requisition. In addition, the child requisition shows as a 1-1 hire. This raises a flag for Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP), so you want to be sure you’re analyzing both the hire requisition and anyone else from the parent requisition who was considered for the position as well.

You keep mentioning evergreen requisitions, so what if we use them?

An evergreen requisition is one that stays continuously open so any individual interested in applying for the job can do so, without identifying a specific opening. The best practice is to avoid using evergreen requisitions at all. However, sometimes it’s necessary when managing high-volume, high-turnover recruitment. When using evergreen requisitions, it is recommended to periodically close out the requisition and create a new one. This provides a more accurate pool of applicants considered. If it is October and you’re looking at the requisition’s applicants, you are probably not considering those who applied in January. Quarterly or monthly close-outs are a good rule of thumb.

What if a candidate was considered for one job, but hired for a different job?

Say you post a job for a Junior Accountant. Out of the pool of applicants, you make one hire at the Junior Accountant level and another at a Senior Accountant level. This creates a tricky compliance situation because its often hard to tell who else was considered for the higher-level job, and why they were not selected. For example, were all the candidates who applied for the Junior Accountant position also considered for the higher-level role? Were only some candidates qualified for the higher-level role? How will you know?

One way to handle this tricky compliance issue is to create a separate requisition for the Senior Accountant and include other applicants who were considered to the new requisition. The key is to record whom you considered for each specific accounting position, and the reasons why candidates were not selected for that particular position level.

What if we used an outside agency to find our hire?

Often, staffing and recruitment agencies are unfamiliar with OFCCP’s requirements, so be sure your contract with the agency includes specific language regarding Affirmative Action compliance. Communicate to them that as a Federal contractor you, and therefore they, are required to collect certain data with each job opening. If the agency only sends you one ‘finalist’ for the job, ask the agency for the race, gender, Individuals with Disabilities (IWD), and Protected Veteran data for anyone they considered, before you hire.

What if we hired someone who was already a temporary/contract worker for us?

It is important to still have the individual apply to the job so you can collect their race, gender, IWD, and Protected Veteran status pre-offer. Were other job seekers considered? If so, there is no problem! The problem arises if it is a 1-1 hire. One solution would be to have a separate disposition code that indicates this situation, i.e.: ‘Temp to Hire.’ However, keep in mind OFCCP might still expect you to provide data for the pool of others who were considered when the individual was brought on as a temporary or contract worker, even if this was through an agency.

What if we have multiple people dispositioning candidates?

Using your dispositions correctly helps to decide which applicants need to be included in the AAP analysis. Whether they are hiring managers, recruiters, or other HR team members, be sure everyone is trained on what the disposition codes mean and how to appropriately use them. You can read more information on disposition best practices here.

Managing applicants doesn’t have to be scary. If you apply these tricks to your process, you will likely get a treat in the form a Notice of Compliance, should the OFFCP come knocking.

To learn more about Berkshire’s BALANCEaap or BALANCEtrak, please contact us today at 800.882.8904 or email bai@berkshireassociates.com.

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Lauren Buerger, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant
Lauren Buerger, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant
Lauren Buerger is an HR Consultant with over five years of experience at Berkshire. She specializes in helping federal contractors comply with affirmative action regulations and developing AAPs and educating clients.

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