Defining Who Is An 'Applicant'

I'm interested in hearing how other employers are defining the term "applicant" in terms of collecting race and gender information from applicants for affirmative action purposes. Under the new OFCCP regulations that became legally effective at the start of this year, we are required to collect race and gender information on applicants. With so many unsolicited applications coming in over the internet, mail, walk-ins etc., we find we need to more narrowly define this term. The OFCCP's definition is very broad. What are other's using out there for this purpose?


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  • This is an old, old, old, old, problem. The previous reg's to the ones just taking effect also required collection of gender, race and ethnicity data for applicants, but OFCCP and EEOC purposely chose not to provide any official guidance on who was an applicant.

    The standard in the law says and applicant is "any one who expresses interest in employement". This is so vague that someone who bumps into you at church, synagogue or mosque services and asks if you are hiring could be an "applicant."

    In our local (OK) juridisdiction OFCCP has traditionally allowed employers to track the data just on "qualified applicants". These are those individuals who express interest in a position for which you are currently accepting applications and who meet the minimum selection criteria for the position. This is not an official OFCCP position, and they do not even enforce it consistently between all employers in the area, I think.

    What I have tended to do is track each individual position I fill with a Job or Requisition Number. I create a "Job File" tied to that number, and then file all applications, resumes, and other selection related materials for that decision in the Job File. I only consider those individuals whose paperwork is in the job file. I also use this file for capturing internal job posting responses. This allows me upon being audited to pull the entire decision making documentation in one file to review with an EOS.

    Oh, be sure you keep a photo copy of the successful candidate's paperwork in the Job File. Otherwise, you open yourself to claims that you considered a candidate who was not a part of the Job File. (Silly, but I have be confronted with this in an audit.)
  • I have gone thru a few OFCCP audits - the last one in 2000. Our definition of an applicant is anyone who applys for a current opening. It is our policy not to accept resume/application for a position that we do not currently have an opening and we only keep applications "active" for 30 days. As far as collecting race/gender data we have a tear off sheet as part of the application that asks for this information. On resumes we do accept we have developed a card with a tear off with our return address/postage that is mailed out to the applicant asking them for this information. We cannot make them return the card but we can show that we have made the attempt to collect the information OFCCP wants us to track. We also have another card that we mail to unsolicited applicants thanking them for their interest but that we do not have a current opening that fits their qualification and to call our toll free job line for future openings.
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