Not just for jobs: Using an ATS to streamline Program Applications, Scholarships, Grant Applications, etc

While working with several of our customers this past week, it occurred to me how many things people apply for other than jobs! Things like school admissions, societies and organizations, loans and grants, military branches, awards, scholarships, photo contests, and other applications. We have several customers–well respected

We have converted their long and detailed admissions forms into online versions that collect data like undergraduate GPA and test scores and detailed essays explaining why they are a suitable candidate for the program. All the questions can be scored which helps the Admissions Department focus on the strongest applicants. This is especially helpful when they receive over 1,000 applicants for only 25 available course seats!

We’re also working with another major university who is about to accept applications from companies applying for a special annual monetary award based on their contributions to global social challenges—Wow, how special is it to be part of that?

The unique ways our applicant tracking system is being utilized made me realize how valuable a web-based, affordable , and customizable system really is! Even more exciting for me is how much we can learn from our customers, if we take the time to listen and make their ideas a reality! Please comment if you’ve been looking for an effective way to collect data on line and have never thought about configuring a “job” applicant tracking system to fit your needs.

Recruiting Software for EEO and OFCCP Compliance

Choosing the Right Recruiting Software can Help with EEO and OFCCP Compliance

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is responsible for ensuring that companies follow the proper policies and procedures regarding Equal Opportunity Employment (EEO).

An important part of these requirements is that companies follow guidelines for collecting, storing and reporting information that is gathered for Internet job applicants.  There are specific data collection methods, record keeping and reporting requirements that companies must be aware of and follow in order to be in full compliance.

The good news is that an emerging set of software applications called Applicant Tracking Systems can help companies comply with these regulations by automating the capture, collection, storage and reporting of these data.

To help ensure EEO and OFCCP compliance make sure your Applicant Tracking System can:

  • Capture voluntary EEO information from each applicant.
  • Automatically record the reason for “non-selection” for every applicant.
  • Record the minimum qualifications for each job position.
  • Track the workflow associated with each applicant in case of an audit
  • Provide reporting that can show the company captured the key information for each candidate and for each hired candidate

For more information visit the United States Department of Labor website here.

Effective Communications During the Recruiting Process

Imagine receiving 50 or more applicants for every open position and the necessity to communicate with each and every applicant from the time their information is received through the many stages of your recruiting process? If you review the list below of just some of the reasons to contact applicants and hiring managers, you will soon realize that communications alone can consume a good part of your business day! Electronic or phone communications may include:

  • Acknowledgement of receipt of Resume or Application
  • Requests to the Applicant for additional information
  • Responding to requests from the applicant for additional company information, benefits information, etc.
  • Responding to applicant requests of their current status
  • Requesting available dates and times from managers to schedule phone screens or face to face interviews
  • Requesting available dates and times from applicants to schedule phone screens or face to face interviews
  • Forwarding resumes to staff for review
  • Requesting/recording the Hiring Manager’s Review and Feedback of an applicant
  • Collecting feedback/evaluations from staff after interviews
  • Confirming interview schedules or changes to interview schedules
  • Letter of no interest to the unqualified applicants
  • Permission to conduct a background check
  • Informing an applicant that a position has been filled, cancelled or put on hold
  • Responding to status reports or updates to managers

Respecting candidates includes acknowledging receipt of their applications, giving them some sense of what’s coming next and eventually letting them know the outcome. Most companies want to be timely and professional toward applicants and managers, but with limited resources and time, do not communicate effectively or at all.

4 Steps to improve Communications during the Recruiting Process

  1. Establish a clear, consistent, courteous and timely process for communicating with applicants and hiring managers during your recruiting process. Document the process and decide which stages in your recruiting process require written or verbal communication. Applicants who have been selected for further consideration in your selection process should continue to receive consistent, timely and accurate messaging. While applicants who did not meet your minimum qualifications, should be communicated with almost immediately.
  2. Communicate the established process to everyone involved in the recruiting process including hiring managers, recruiters and support staff. Make it clear who is responsible for which communications to avoid confusion and possible duplicate or conflicting communications to the same applicant. This is especially important when there are multiple recruiters working with your applicant database. Nothing could be more embarrassing than one recruiter sending a “we’re not interested” email and another recruiter trying to schedule an interview with the same applicant—it happens more than you think.
  3. Automate communications when possible: Implementing an applicant tracking system enables you to automate emails as your applicants are moved through different stages in the recruiting process. Many systems have “triggered” email capabilities which save time, eliminate errors and help your company to maintain a more professional image and reputation.
  4. Track all Communications: Once again, an applicant tracking system is of great value here. Communications are automatically recorded—even date and time stamped, so staff involved in the recruiting process can view the most recent or pending communication or activity related to an applicant. If automation is not an option, using your calendar or an excel spreadsheet that can be shared by everyone is recommended.

Benefits of Effective Communications during the Recruiting Process

  • Shows respect and appreciation to applicants regardless of their qualifications
  • Keeps hiring managers and other staff informed about the status of open positions
  • Protects companies against false accusations and legal repercussions if candidates misinterpret your communication
  • Eliminates excessive phone calls, leaving messages and telephone tag
  • Tracks all activity related to an applicant for future use
  • Most importantly, confirms your company operates with integrity and transparency

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    Surviving an OFCCP Compliance Audit

    Who is the OFCCP?

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is a Federal agency within the Department of Labor. The Agency ensures that employers with 50 or more employees with Federal contracts (including prime and subcontracts) exceeding $50,000 per year, comply with Equal Employment Opportunity laws and affirmative action.

    What are the OFCCP requirements?

    • The OFCCP requires employers to track and retain records and annual reporting requirements including EEO-1 and VETS-100 on applicants, hiring and employment practices. Compliance is required for all domestic and international recruiting activity for positions filled by US Nationals. Employers are required to obtain, when possible, gender, race and ethnicity (EEO) data on both applicants and hires.
    • Applicant logs covering both job seekers and applicants should include, candidate name, date of application, job applied for, location applied for, race, sex and disposition
    • Records must be kept for two years and need to include:
      1. Basic job descriptions and qualifications for all open positions
      2. All applicants that were “considered” including those found on internet searches
      3. Data Management techniques to reduce the # of applicants considered
      4. Candidates contacted about interest in a position-semi-passive and passive candidates, “cold calling”
      5. Applicant flow data
      6. Data for adverse impact analysis

    Who does the OFCCP consider to be an “Applicant”?

    “Applicants” are those individuals who meet the criteria below and are actually considered for a particular open position. An open position is officially posted or advertised. Being considered means that the employer reviewed and evaluated the individual’s qualifications—the individual does not have to be among the group of finalists considered for the job to be counted in this group.

    • The applicant must express interest in an open position
    • The applicant must complete your application process
    • The applicant must meet your minimum qualifications
    • The applicant does not withdraw from the process*

    *If an applicant drops out at any point in the recruiting process, note the date, reason and how you learned they were no long interested.

    What are acceptable reasons not to consider an individual for employment?

    1. Not minimally qualified: did not meet age, education, or experience requirements. Incomplete application, failed drug and/or background check.
    2. Candidate Withdrew: could not reach individual to follow up, candidate no longer interested, cannot work the required hours or didn’t like the work environment. Accepted another position during the recruiting process.
    3. Not the best qualified: met minimum requirements but had poor interview, other candidates had stronger work history, references were not favorable

    Why should I be concerned?

    The OFCCP conducts approximately 10,000 audits annually. The audit includes a comprehensive analysis and review of hiring practices and policies to determine if the employer maintains non-discriminatory hiring and employment practices. According to the International HR Conference last year, an OFCCP specialist noted that if your organization has not been audited, they might be in the near future. It was further noted that the OFCCP was using statistical analysis techniques to predict systematic discrimination in order to target compliance audits. The risks for non-compliance can be high. Fines and penalties in the tens of thousands of dollars can be imposed and the ultimate risk of debarment from working with the Federal Government.

    What is the best way to ensure our organization is in compliance?

    Implementing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is the most efficient way to collect, track and maintain the OFCCP’s required information. Manual processes are inefficient, outdated, very time consuming, and often leave your organization vulnerable to a desk or on-site audit. The ability to supply the necessary information required for a desk or on-site audit, when tracked manually, can take an enormous amount of time and effort and can cripple your recruiting efforts. Applicant Tracking Systems should include the following:

    1. Maintenance of well written job descriptions
    2. Tracking where the open positions were posted
    3. Sufficient applicant data as previously mentioned above
    4. The number of applicants who applied and met the minimum qualifications
    5. Specific reason applicants were not considered (disposition)
    6. Customized reports on EEO data

    Additional tips for surviving an OFCCP audit

    1. Develop an effective affirmative action plan and update annually
    2. List every job opening with the applicable state unemployment office
    3. Give the invitation to Self Identify from your Veterans/Disabled Plan to all individuals to whom an offer is made
    4. Keep detailed records of job postings, including an ID number, location and date posted
    5. Keep copies of all resumes and applications received, whether they met your minimum requirements or not