Best Practices for Storing Applicant Data

Guidelines for Storing Applicant Data

During the recruiting process, certain information is obtained from applicants. With the Internet, organizations can now simultaneously receive a large number of applications for multiple job openings and store it all in an applicant system. This often leads to questions about information security and which procedures to follow for storing applicant data.

For all job postings, be sure to follow Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) guidelines, only asking for information that relates to employment with your company. Do not ask for Social Security numbers, birth dates, or other information that could pose a security risk for the applicant. Do not require applicants to self-identify race and gender, although you can ask these items as voluntary questions. Use a password-protected applicant tracking software, where job postings and applicants are stored on your secure server.

What is the standard retention time for storing applicant data?

Note that certain employment laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) require that applications be retained for a certain period of time following receipt, employment, and termination. The length of time depends on what type of applicant is involved. For applications received as a result of a job advertisement, maintain applicant information for a period of no less than one year after receipt. For those who send in unsolicited applications, the requirement is reduced. Using an applicant system, such as online ATS software, can help you meet these different requirements and keep applicant data secure.

The ADA, Title VII, and the ADEA require the retention of applications for one year. Keep a signed application on file or in your applicant system. Include other employment forms of all applicants who are hired and maintain these records securely for at least five years after termination.

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