From restaurant industries to biopharmaceuticals, employers from all types of industries have implemented applicant tracking systems (ATS) for screening and hiring candidates. Some of the advantages of an ATS include central storage, application throttle, and screening capabilities. These benefits don’t come without potential complications, however. An ATS may lead to a number of costly errors relating to equal employment opportunity laws if the process reviewing data quality and entering the data into an ATS is not air-tight.
HR staff and recruiters need to be diligent about the information they are entering into the ATS. It’s about the process for making sure your data is accurate and how that accurate data is entered information into the platform, not necessarily the level of sophistication the platform exhibits. No matter how advanced an employer’s ATS may be, nothing can make up for bad data. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.
It’s important that you manage use of your ATS to achieve both business goals and compliance with application state federal regulations that apply to your business situation. As new EEO laws continue to surface across different states and cities in the U.S., employers should take extra precaution when relying on their ATS process.
For instance, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) sets additional standards and criteria for employers that have federal contracts or subcontracts. The OFCCP’s Internet applicant record keeping rule, which “addresses record keeping by Federal contractors and subcontractors about the Internet hiring process and the solicitation of race, gender, and ethnicity of ‘Internet Applicants.’” The internet applicant record keeping rule also has specific information on data management. Below are some of the highlights:
- Contractors must retain records they create memorializing or implementing data management techniques under OFCCP’s general record retention requirement to retain any employment or personnel record made by the contractor, including records pertaining to hiring.
- OFCCP will allow the contractor to determine the number of expressions of interest that are considered for each specific position as long as the pool is appropriate in terms of those submitting expressions of interest for that position, that is, the data management techniques are facially neutral and do not produce disparate impact based on race, gender, or ethnicity in the expressions of interest considered.
- Data management techniques can be applied to limit the number of people being considered for a position. However, the techniques must be applied before giving individuals consideration, must not depend on assessment of qualifications, must be representative of the total pool, and must not have an adverse impact.
Employers with federally contracted employees should be mindful of these OFCCP data management details when using their ATS. Employers also need to become familiar with the requirements of the states in which they operate to be sure they meet the data management requirements for similar state regulations.
No matter what your particular situation, these tips can help ensure that your ATS accounts for accurate and reliable data that meets regulatory requirements:
- Stay up to date on nondiscrimination laws and changes in legislation.
- Make sure your ATS has the most up-to-date software patches. This will make sure the platform is running as smoothly as possible.
- Train HR supervisors, HR staff, and Recruiters on the federal EEO laws and on specific state laws that apply to the locations in which you operate.
- Conduct data quality audits to ensure there are no holes in your data. Sometimes information is not entered for employees and performing an audit will uncover historical mistakes.
- Likewise, be sure that you have reconciled data from disjointed data bases, such as benefits administration and payroll, as another way to ensure that employee data is accurate before submitting it for regulatory compliance purposes.
If you are unsure of your data quality, consider working with third-parties who understand your regulatory issues and understand how to gather, consolidate and validate data from separate data bases to create a Single Source of Truth to use for regulatory compliance.
The takeaway for employers is to be aware of the limitations of your ATS. While it has the ability to consolidate, store, and organize information in an effective way, it’s reliability comes down to the quality of the information that is being entered into it.