6 Areas of Focus For Hiring Compliance In 2021

GILES HECKSTALL-SMITH • 16 Feb 2021

Compliance is a cornerstone in delivering a fair, inclusive, transparent, and successful hiring process, which also delivers on an employer's legal responsibilities.

1. Offering an Inclusive Candidate Experience

There is often discussion about the importance of making the candidate experience accessible, but inclusion takes this much further. It all boils down to carefully considering the needs of your audience and then responding to them with options.

Compliance in recruitingHere are some stats that might surprise you*…

  • 1 in 5 people are disabled
  • 15% have some form of dyslexia
  • 10% have learning disabilities
  • 4.2m people speak English as a second language

* Source: Recite Me

Accessible websites help those with disabilities to navigate and read web pages more easily. However, integrating inclusive online tools such as Recite Me offers so much more. There are tools for adjusting the font to help those with Dyslexia or translate and read web pages (like job adverts) for those who speak English as a second language. Images can be removed and colours changed, all to make the experience easier for potential hires. Going the extra mile in this way, also sends a clear message to candidates that you place a high degree of importance on inclusivity.

It doesn’t stop there. According to research from This Way Global:

  • 45% of job seekers search for jobs daily on their mobile device
  • 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job-hunting process

You may be familiar with having a website that adapts to different screen sizes and devices but is it made for mobile first? Have you considered the length of your application form for those applying via a mobile? A good applicant tracking system will support a 2-stage application process and your candidates will really thank you for it.

Finally, review your job adverts and application forms. Are they written in plain English? Can you use videos in your job adverts from your ATS to better showcase your culture and the diversity within your teams? These changes and enhancements should be very quick wins and easy to make.

2. Fair and Bias Free Candidate Assessment

There are many factors to consider when it comes to removing unconscious bias from our selection and hiring decisions. Some form of bias exists within us all but there are some tools within an applicant tracking system that can help remove this.

Anonymised blind shortlisting - a good ATS will support removing sensitive information from the application form and anonymise applications to enable reviewers to focus on candidates’ answers, skills and experience as opposed to any other factors. You can then reveal the candidate identities at the appropriate time, such as at interview stage.

Shortlisting using a diverse panel of reviewers is also a very good way of arriving at a balanced assessment of candidates. Each shortlister can login to the ATS separately and add their scores for these to be collated and a mean average calculated.

3. Contract and Offer/Onboarding Process

When thinking about compliance in the hiring process, we naturally place a significant focus on the pre and onboarding steps.

There are a number of elements here including pre-employment checks, referencing, DBS checks, ID verification and sending an offer letter and contract and checking it is returned.

In today’s virtual (COVID-19) world, all of the above elements have to now be managed in a very different way. It’s vital to have the tools in place to onboard new hires online.

Online Onboarding is a key component of Jobtrain that allows candidates to view, complete and accept documents online, alongside Online Referencing and digital signatures. All checks are captured and tracked centrally, even DBS checks can be requested and tracked within the applicant tracking system. Bringing these steps online ensures a fast-paced transparent process is maintained even when we’re all working remotely.

4. Background and Reference Checking

This is often about verifying identity, ensuring people are who they say they are and looking at their background history etc. Pre COVID-19, this would have been completed when you were bringing someone physically into your organisation, but there is now a lot more reliance on doing these checks remotely and earlier in the process by using technology.

In light of the Global Pandemic, the UK Government has issued new guidance for Right to Work Checks as follows:

  • Checks can now be carried out over video calls
  • Job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • DBS checks (where required) can be very simply managed online and even integrated into your ATS to speed up the process, deliver greater visibility and log all the stages in one place

5. Data Processing, Retention and GDPR

Whilst most focus will be on ensuring business continuity and safeguarding employees and customers against the ongoing COVID-19 health threat, there is also serious operational risk to consider. This will come in the form of additional risk of financial penalties associated with the 2018 GDPR regulations. Reviewing GDPR compliance in this new world needs to be carefully considered to avoid recruiters and hiring managers storing data (CVs) on laptops and home PC's personal drives and sending information via email. Or furthermore, using inadequately secured mobile devices, or using an unsecured home Wi-Fi network to send and share data.

Centralising all recruitment activity within an Applicant Tracking system reinforces an organisation’s GDPR compliance. Ultimately, the ATS holds all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) candidate data in one system of record and employs automated archiving tools to ensure candidate data is removed according to appropriate data retention policies. These capabilities provide organisations with the confidence and protocols to ensure they meet their obligations as the data controller.

6. Using Data and Reporting to Deliver Insight

Whether it’s understanding if you’re attracting a diverse range of applicants, uncovering unconscious bias or tracking SLA compliance in terms of time to approve, hire or highlighting bottlenecks in the hiring process, using data to deliver actionable insights is critical.

Robust, flexible and accurate reporting capability in your ATS is essential to reveal the underlying stories that data can surface. Then, using this data to create actionable insights, should be a primary focus for any leading-edge recruitment function. There’s a rising movement around Data and ‘Talent Intelligence’ to provide a holistic view of hiring activity to help organisations make better strategic decisions around talent.

Data analysis is not a skillset that comes naturally to many recruiters. The best Applicant Tracking Systems’ reporting capability will deliver actionable insights in intelligent yet simple to interpret ways to understand hiring activity and what steps need to be taken to refine and improve performance and share strategic insights with organisational leadership.

Your ATS provider should work hand in glove with you to get to grips with reporting. At Jobtrain, we established a dedicated Talent Intelligence Team to support clients with this critical aspect of compliance and hiring performance.

Final Thoughts…

Recruitment compliance is crucial to the successful screening, interviewing, and onboarding of new employees. It's an area of HR that has come into sharp focus in recent times. By incorporating the above tips into your hiring, underpinned with a modern applicant tracking system, you can be confident of delivering a consistent, considered, and effective recruitment process. 

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