Recruitment in the federal contractor space is tricky. There are so many nuances and regulations that you need to abide by before you even get down to the actual recruitment. The government sees the federal contractor arrangement as a “privilege.” The privilege is that you – meaning the business – is privileged to do business with the government. In return for this great “privilege” there are expectations. The overarching expectation is that you will make every effort to hire women, minorities, veterans, and the differently-abled wherever possible. This doesn’t mean that for every position you must hire a woman, minority, veteran or differently-able person. It means you will make a good faith effort to make sure your hires are representative of the available pool. This means you need to make sure your applicant pool is diverse.
Please be clear this is not a quota system. It’s not about hiring one Asian, one African-American and one woman and patting yourself on the back. Your job isn’t done. In fact it is never done. The point of the OFCCP regulations as it pertains to federal contractors is it is a day-to-day guidance on hiring and recruitment efforts not a one-time effort. In this way, making sure your applicant pool is consistently diverse becomes a habit and not a numbers game. The guidance of the OFCCP is in place to eliminate inequity in hiring practices. While I’m no stranger to days of pulling my hair out trying to navigate this federal contractor space; I find the cause noble and quite simply the right thing to do.
Working in the federal contractor space doesn’t have to be grueling. If you look at it from an altruistic perspective, you will see benefits to the regulations. To ease the pain of your recruitment efforts, below are five tips on effective recruitment in the federal contractor space no matter what industry you are in:
1) Make sure your job description doesn’t overshoot requirements. This is important because you want to make sure that you are always hiring for the minimum knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to adequately perform the duties of the job. The duties of the position should have reasonable requirements attached to it. Asking for higher qualifications than the duties of the job requires could pose adverse impact.
2) Research and Post Job Openings Wisely. Do your due diligence by researching websites, associations, journals and other publications that cater to a diverse pool when looking for venues to post your positions (e.g. Society of Women Engineers). The more diverse the readership or subscribers are the more likely you are to attract diverse candidates. [Editor’s Note: SmartRecruiters is partnered with 100+ job boards and publications, and has aggregated data across 120,000+ jobs posted to predict the best performing job board for you.]
3) Get Up and Get Out There. Recruitment is more fun and best done out there in the world. Get out of the office and participate in diverse job fairs, university career center activities, join an association or local chapter of a national group. OFCCP is no longer interested in federal contractors posting to hundreds of diverse websites and calling this a good faith effort. They want recruiters and hiring professionals out there engaging with the industry professionals they seek. Involvement in these groups brings attention to your company and is yet another way of procuring a diverse applicant pool.
4) To the extent that it is possible – try to have a consistent hiring process. The OFCCP knows that the show must go on i.e. your business must run. Every business is not made equal and has its own policies and procedures. However, they do take exception to inconsistent processes and procedures. Try to minimize the variability in your process to prevent unnecessary questions when audited.
5) Document Your Hiring. It is imperative that you document any and all good faith efforts made. It is equally important to document any deviations from your usual process so the what, when, who and why is answered when you are audited.
Janine N. Truitt (@CzarinaofHR) is an HR Professional based in Long Island, NY. Learn more of her expertise in Recruitment, HR Technology, Talent Management, Employee Relations, and HR Policy/Compliance on her blog, The Aristocracy of HR.