Friday, March 6, 2015

Social Recruiting & Recordkeeping

Way back when applicants first started applying for jobs over the internet, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) created what’s known as the Internet Applicant Recordkeeping Rule for federal contractors.  While most recruiters and HR professionals have complied with the rule for decades now, the advent of social recruiting puts a new twist on it.

The OFCCP has traditionally required that federal contractors maintain certain records of applications and job announcements.  When the internet revolutionized how employers reach applicants and how applicants apply for jobs, the OFCCP responded by creating the Internet Applicant Recordkeeping Rule to specify the records that a contractor must keep related to each individual who applies over the internet. Contractors must keep all records related to an individual if: 
  • The individual expressed interest through the internet or “related electronic data technologies” such as social media;
  • The employer considered the individual for a particular position; and
  • The individual’s expression of interest indicated that the individual possessed the basic qualifications for the job.

Individuals who apply over the internet through career pages and upload resumes into applicant systems clearly meet the rule’s criteria. But what’s the impact of social media?  Here’s a possible scenario:  A company posts a position and advertises the position on its Facebook career page.  A potential candidate sees the post and comments that she is interested in the position. She includes a hyperlink to her LinkedIn profile.  The company’s recruiter sees the comment, opens the link, reviews the profile, and decides she could be a good candidate.  The recruiter then calls the individual to set up an interview, but even after several phone calls and emails, the recruiter does not reach her and assumes she is no longer interested in the position.

In this scenario, the criteria of the Internet Applicant Rule are easily met.  Even though the individual did not formally apply for the job or go through XYZ’s applicant tracking system, she probably became a candidate for the position when the recruiter evaluated her LinkedIn profile. The company should keep records related to this individual to be sure of compliance with the OFCCP’s rule.  The company would likely also have to keep records if she had tweeted her LinkedIn profile in response to the post on the company’s Facebook career page.

It’s easy for employers to rely upon applicant tracking systems (ATS) to maintain all of their applicant data, and some ATS do a great job.  That said, social media has opened many more lines of communication for applicants and employers. With more communication, there are more interactions and more records to be kept. The applicant data may be located in more than just an ATS. Employers need to be mindful of this when using social recruiting.

Although the Internet Applicant Recordkeeping Rule applies only to federal contractors, it raises issues for consideration by all employers who use social recruiting. OFCCP standards often serve as a model for other government agencies empowered to require recordkeeping.  Although no current law requires that all employers maintain records of their social media contacts with potential recruits, it may be a best practice for employers to do so. Beyond the possibility that such recordkeeping will be required for all employers in the future, access to the information may be helpful to the employer as it reviews and assesses the effectiveness of its recruiting.

Posted by: Kate Bischoff 
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