A properly configured ATS can be your most valuable asset when faced with an OFCCP audit, but only if you make sure it’s following the right protocols and collecting the right information. Make sure your applicant tracking system has been given the right instructions so it can help keep you onside with OFCCP instead of leading you astray.

What is OFCCP?

If you do business with the US Federal Government, then you likely already know your obligations with respect to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

To refresh your memory, OFCCP includes a collection of programs designed to ensure that the government’s commitment to affirmative action and equal employment opportunity for job seekers and wage earners is enforced; and that anyone who does business with the federal government abides by the requirements set out in the various programs that come under OFCCP.1

Of course, like most government regulatory programs, navigating these descriptions and understanding the requirements can be a lot like trying to interpret a foreign language. One useful resource for tackling the translation is the DirectEmployers Association2, an employer- driven organization that focuses on talent acquisition and inclusion and provides a wealth of tools and resources to help you navigate the complexities of OFCCP.

As a federal contractor or subcontractor, you understand that falling afoul of OFCCP and other federal requirements can be very costly. You’re likely accustomed to wading through reams of compliance information and incorporating any requirements associated with labor practices, from hiring to firing, into your HR processes—but what about your HR technology?

The technology you use to collect and track hiring data is only a tool—the responsibility for compliance rests with you, the federal contractor or subcontractor.

Is Your Talent Acquisition Platform OFCCP Compliant?

Applicant tracking systems are the norm in most large companies and many ATS vendors suggest their systems are “OFCCP compliant.” In spite of these claims, many federal contractors and subcontractors who rely on these systems continue to be cited for non-compliant record-keeping when it comes to the handling of applicant data.

It is important to know that no ATS by itself can be OFCCP compliant. The technology you use to collect and track hiring data is only a tool—the responsibility for compliance rests with you, the federal contractor or subcontractor. When used to capture the type of information that OFCCP wants you to track, however, your ATS will prove invaluable in the event of an OFCCP audit.

Making Your Applicant Tracking System OFCCP Friendly

Steve Lowisz, CEO of Qualigence International, suggests that the objective to aim for is to be “viewed as an organization that gives every candidate a fair chance at the role…” and offers the following steps to make sure your applicant tracking system supports your efforts to be OFCCP compliant.3

  1. Start with clear job descriptions and qualifications.
  2. Understand what it means to be an applicant.
  3. Understand what it means to "consider" an applicant.
  4. Know the acceptable disposition codes.
  5. Create a template of disposition reasons
  6. Ensure the ATS "tells a story."
  7. Do your homework/self-assess.
  8. Keep next steps standardized.
  9. Find professionals who can help.

Let Your ATS Keep You Onside

It’s also important to consider how your ATS “thinks.” Take the time to mentally walk through the steps your ATS takes when sorting through applications. Are there any points in the process where an application might be inappropriately rejected as a result of a too-literal interpretation of qualifications? If so, re-work the configuration until it follows an OFCCP compliant process.

Finally, at some point in your applicant review process, OFCCP requires that you collect specific demographic information. If that process is part of your ATS, you need to ensure the required data is collected once an individual is considered an applicant (i.e. has expressed interest in an open role; meets the minimum qualifications; completes the application process; and does not withdraw from the process). You will also want to make sure that your ATS can easily produce a report containing this data and any other OFCCP required information on all applicants.

Building OFCCP compliance measures into ATS portals can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be difficult - all you need is the right information and the right partner. 

Karl Wiezbicki of InFlight Corporation is an insights leader with 14 years experience driving exceptional ROI through innovative solutions and user-centric technologies like InFlight Aura, to achieve impact and drive business results. 

  1. You will find details of the various programs and related legislation on the U.S Department of Labor website http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/
  2. A member-owned and managed consortium of talent acquisition and OFCCP compliance professionals http://www.directemployers.org/
  3. Is Your Applicant Screening Process Legal? By Steve Lowisz, published in March 2015, Human Resource Executive Online http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/view/story.jhtml?id=534358359

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