The day your organization receives a scheduling letter from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), you’ll know. Ditto for notice of an EEOC investigation.
You’ll know just how important recruiting compliance is. And, as we discussed last week, how important (if unglamorous) documentation and recordkeeping can be.
As they do each year, OFCCP will soon start scrutinizing federal contractors’ Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs), including their recruiting compliance. Among the many possible violations, hiring practices that are found to result in adverse impact on protected groups can incur the most costly consequences.
Ensuring recruiters comply with OFCCP and EEOC measures and guidelines isn’t just about avoiding risks or checking boxes.
Following legal requirements can be a boon to your talent procurement and hiring processes—helping recruiters meet specific targets, providing ways to engage with inbound applicants, and enabling recruiters to efficiently filter applicants.
Here are five ways to reap the benefits of proactive recruiting compliance.
1. Make Sure Diverse Applicants See Your Job Openings
OFCCP and EEOC require federal contractors and subcontractors to engage proactively in outreach and recruitment strategies that aim to attract qualified women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
To guarantee that job openings are visible to targeted demographics, organizations should conduct outreach efforts through specialized recruiting sites such as
- Networks and groups for individuals with disabilities like Getting Hired and abilityJOBS
- Military sources and publications like Helmets to Hardhats and VetJobs
- Targeted recruiting sources like Hard Hatted Women or Diversity Working
- Professional organizations like the National Association of Women MBAs.
2. Avoid Prohibited Interview Questions and Take Good Notes
During candidate interviews, recruiters need to understand and exercise legal interview practices and avoid questions that EEOC prohibits, including
- Disability status
- Sexual orientation
- Arrest history
- Previous salary (illegal in some states and municipalities).
Recruiters and hiring managers should only ask questions that assess an individual’s interest in performing the position’s tasks and ones that determine a candidate’s basic qualifications, such as past work experiences, degree(s) attained, job credentials, or certifications.
And throughout the interview and hiring process, recruiters must be well versed in the types of notes required to back up selection decisions, which the agency handling the review will likely dissect.
3. Retain All Key Workforce Records
Affirmative Action compliance requires companies to maintain specific records about their workforce—such as records of hires, promotions, transfers, and terminations, as well as compensation information.
Other information and documents companies should retain include
- Job descriptions
- Job postings and advertisements
- Applications and resumes
- Interview notes
- Tests and test results
- Records of job offers.
A detailed record trail is immensely helpful during an audit or when preparing to defend against an agency claim or action.
One way to ensure records are retained is to use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to manage the hiring process. By automating the processes of tracking and securing recruitment data, an ATS enables the organization not just to prepare for audit and legal defense, but to proactively evaluate the effectiveness of recruiting efforts to support workforce diversity goals and to measure return on investment.
4. Ensure Recruiters Understand AAP Placement Goals
Obviously, recruiters play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with regulations governing federal job group and organizational placement. This is not only a best practice for federal contractors and subcontractors—it’s a federal requirement to engage recruiters in this process.
Attainable placement goals are not merely quotas. They’re also used to measure progress toward achieving equal employment opportunities.
Agencies analyze organizations by comparing incumbency versus availability, and arrive at attainable placements goals by using a combination of occupational categories, labor area demographics, and relevant weighting of internal and external factors.
Make sure your recruiters understand and embrace their responsibility for remaining abreast of annual Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) placement goals, and for making progress to reach those objectives.
5. Train Recruiters Early and Train Them Often
With ever-changing policies, legislation, and regulations, recruiters must understand and be fully versed in interviewing dos and don’ts. And they must know the importance of their role in Affirmative Action compliance and recordkeeping.
In fact, federal regulations require all personnel—not just recruiters—who are involved in recruitment, screening, selection, promotion, disciplinary, and related processes to be trained.
Reaping the Benefits of Proactive Recruiting Compliance
By educating recruiters on the OFCCP and EEOC regulations that impact the way they seek and engage candidates and track information throughout the hiring process, your organization can demonstrate its full commitment to Affirmative Action, mitigate potential risks, and reap the benefits of a diverse workforce.