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Applicant Flow Data

Definition: Applicant flow data is statistical information about job applicants for each open position within a company, tracking them from the start of their application until the end of the hiring process.

This data provides insights into the demographics and progression of candidates who apply to a company’s open positions.

The data often includes information such as:

  • The total number of applicants for a position
  • Demographic information about the applicants (such as age, gender, ethnicity, disability status, and veteran status, where legal and appropriate to collect)
  • The stages of the hiring process that each applicant reached (application, interview, job offer, hire)

Importance of applicant flow data

1. Compliance with Legal Requirements: In many countries, including the U.S., employers must collect and retain applicant flow data to demonstrate compliance with laws prohibiting employment discrimination, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.

2. Analysis of Hiring Practices: The data can help organizations assess the fairness and effectiveness of their recruitment and selection processes. For example, if a particular demographic group is underrepresented in job offers or hires, this might indicate a potential bias or barrier in the hiring process.

3. Strategic Decision Making: By tracking applicant flow data, companies can make more informed decisions about their recruitment strategies. For instance, if the data reveals that the company is not attracting diverse candidates, they might decide to broaden their sourcing strategies or enhance their employer branding efforts.

Factors to consider when it comes to Applicant Flow Data:

1. Tracking Methods and Systems: To accurately collect and analyze Applicant Flow Data, it’s crucial to have an effective tracking method in place. Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to streamline this process. These systems can automatically collect data from applicants and track their progress through the hiring process. This saves time and helps ensure accuracy and consistency in data collection.

2. Data Privacy: It’s important to note that all data should be collected and processed in compliance with local and international data privacy regulations, such as GDPR in Europe or CCPA in California, USA. Companies must obtain candidates’ consent to collect and use their data and should only request information that is directly relevant to job requirements or compliance needs.

3. Training and Awareness: HR professionals, hiring managers, and anyone else involved in the recruitment process should be trained to understand the importance of Applicant Flow Data. This includes awareness of compliance requirements, the relevance of the data to strategic decision making, and the potential implications of bias or discrimination in the hiring process.

4. Addressing Disparities: If Applicant Flow Data reveals disparities in the recruitment or hiring process (for example, underrepresentation of certain demographic groups), it’s important for companies to take proactive steps to address these issues. This might involve reviewing job descriptions, requirements, and advertising strategies to ensure they are inclusive and do not unintentionally deter certain groups from applying.

5. External Reporting: In certain cases, companies may be required to report their Applicant Flow Data to external entities. For example, in the United States, companies with federal contracts or a certain number of employees must annually file an EEO-1 Report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), summarizing their workforce’s demographic composition.


Why is Applicant Flow Data important?

Applicant Flow Data is crucial for several reasons: it helps companies analyze the effectiveness of their recruitment practices, assists in making informed strategic decisions, and is often required for demonstrating compliance with equal employment opportunity laws.

How is Applicant Flow Data collected?

Most companies collect Applicant Flow Data through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These systems automate the data collection process, ensuring accuracy and consistency. It’s important to note that data should only be collected with the candidate’s consent and in compliance with data privacy regulations.

What should be done if Applicant Flow Data reveals disparities in the hiring process?

If Applicant Flow Data shows disparities, such as underrepresentation of certain demographic groups, companies should take proactive steps to address this. Actions may include reviewing job descriptions, requirements, and advertising strategies, and providing diversity and inclusion training to hiring teams.

What are the legal requirements related to Applicant Flow Data?

Legal requirements vary by country. For example, in the U.S., companies of a certain size or with federal contracts must collect Applicant Flow Data and file an annual EEO-1 Report summarizing their workforce’s demographic composition. Always consult local legislation to ensure compliance.

How long should Applicant Flow Data be retained?

The retention period for Applicant Flow Data varies depending on local legislation. In the U.S., for instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires that this data be retained for one year from the date of making the record or a personnel action, whichever is later. In case of lawsuits, this period may extend further.

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software that streamlines the recruiting and hiring process by collecting, sorting, scanning, and ranking job applications for open positions. An ATS is often used to post job openings, collect resumes, and generate interview requests to potential candidates by email.

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