May 1, 2004   view past issues

Our newsletter is
brought to you by

Feature: What is an Internet Job Applicant?

As you may have heard by now, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has, at long last, published its draft guidelines for what constitutes a job applicant on the Internet. This definition is important, of course, because it determines on whom companies must keep records in order to prove their compliance with Federal anti-discrimination laws.

In essence, the guidelines state that a person must be considered an applicant if all of three conditions are met:

  • The employer has taken steps to fill a particular position; in other words, it has posted the job online or otherwise announced the opening on its own corporate career site or on a job board.
  • The individual has expressed an interest in that particular position; that interest may be signaled by submitting a resume or otherwise communicating their desire to be considered for the job.
  • And, the individual has followed the employer’s standard application procedure.
  • Given the tsunami of resumes that cascade into recruiter e-mailboxes these days, this definition would seem to establish a bookkeeping requirement of monumental proportions. There is potential relief, however, if you take full advantage of the last provision of the guidelines. That stipulation-requiring the individual to follow the employer’s standard application procedures-enables an employer to meet both the letter and the spirit of the new regulation and simultaneously avoid an onerously large reporting requirement.

    The key is in the phrase “standard application procedure.” To be standard, it must not only be applied to all applicants, but it must be known to them, as well. Most employers assume that job seekers know the steps in their process or, at least, can figure them out by following the directions they are given on a site. That passive approach to communicating “the standard,” however, is subject to individual interpretation. In reality, this approach means that, as far as the Federal Government is concerned, you are accepting as your standard whatever a job seeker believes it to be. And, if that’s the standard, you have to keep track of and report on every single person who thinks they have applied.

    What’s the alternative? Explicitly state your application procedure. Post it in a prominent position in the Career area on your corporate site and summarize it in every single job posting. Equally as important, tell candidates why you are using the procedure; for example, you might introduce it with a statement that reads: The XYZ Company is committed to focusing on the best qualified applicants for our openings. To ensure that they receive the attention and consideration they deserve, we require that all persons interested in a position with the XYZ Company complete all of the following steps in our standard application procedure. Please note that you will not be considered an applicant unless you comply with each and every step. Then, of course, list the steps.

    Why do all of that? How can such a statement help you comply with the EEOC guidelines without having to hire a fulltime staff accountant? Well, in the first place, this statement is likely to decrease the size of your applicant pool and increase its quality. It will almost certainly scare off at least some of the unqualified applicants-because it’s very clear that you intend to consider only those who meet your specific requirements-and attract the application of those who are qualified-because it’s also clear that you intend to give them the attention they deserve.

    But, that’s not the only potential benefit to this approach. You can use the steps of your stated procedure to change the paradigm of job application altogether. Right now, most companies accept anyone who applies as an applicant, and then, they screen that entire population to find those who are qualified and should be evaluated in-depth. That approach can be reversed, however, simply by requiring that anyone who wants to be considered an applicant must first pass through a job-related screen … so long as that step appears in your stated procedure. The screen can be implemented as part of an auto-responder to someone’s expression of interest in a position or it can even be embedded in the job posting, itself. However, it’s done, the key is that the screen must be related to effective job performance and applied to everyone.

    There are several advantages to moving from a traditional application-then-screen approach to this screen-then-apply strategy:

  • Once, again, it will likely decrease the number of applicants you have to track and keep records on-as non-qualified persons self-select out-and increase the quality of your applicant pool-as the best and brightest realize they have a better shot at rising to the top.
  • Your recruiters get to stop acting as screens-eliminating the unqualified-and instead, spend more of their time helping to make fine-grained distinctions among qualified applicants-thereby cutting your time to fill and improving your quality of hire.
  • The return on asset that you capture from your corporate career site and/or the return on investment you earn from job postings on commercial recruitment sites, as measured by hiring manager satisfaction scores, will undoubtedly go up, probably even way up.

  • And, you will be able to comply fully with EEOC reporting requirements and not have to capture data on the half of the North American population who will click on the Submit button and apply for any job they think sounds cool, regardless of their credentials for the position.
  • In essence, I’m proposing that we view the EEOC definition not as a new regulatory requirement, but as an opportunity to improve our recruiting performance, and that we act on that vision.

    Thanks for reading,


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Dice

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Dice.

    Give Dice a try with our FREE job posting offer!

    Dice is where you will find the best tech candidates available.

    But don’t just take our word for it …. Try Dice for yourself – at no risk. Click here today!

    The Free Job Posting offer is available to first time customers only, posting jobs by May 31, 2004.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Association of Corporate Counsel announced the launch of a re-designed job board for experienced in-house counselors with a broad range of legal experience. Called the Inhouse Jobline, the service enables recruiters to reach the 15,000 members of the association (and other attorneys) via both job postings and a resume database.

    CareerMetaSearch announced its launch as a recruitment portal for “employers only.” Employers can post openings directly on the site or have them scraped from their own site. Future plans call for a database of candidate profiles that will include background and reference checks.

    The U.S. Census reported that Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. and now represent the largest minority in the country. How can you get a head start on recruiting among this segment of the workforce population? Here are some ideas for you to consider: first, of course, make sure that your corporate culture is open and accepting of all ethnic groups. Then, set up a special channel or portal for Hispanic candidates on your corporate career site and provide worker testimonials on the site, including one or more from Hispanic members of your workforce. In addition, promote your organization and its employment brand on sites that cater to Hispanic visitors and post your openings on niche recruitment sites that specialize in Hispanic workers. Finally, tailor your on-boarding process; for example, you might offer free Spanish lessons to current employees or to a group of workers selected to act as “ambassadors” for new hires.

    RHR International released a survey in which only 39% of respondents were satisfied with their employers efforts to help get them up to speed when they were a new employee. While this survey focused on the integration of senior executives, the problem is probably just as acute across all segments of the workforce. There is a potential solution, however, and it’s just as universal. Here’s how it works: The minute a person accepts a new position in your organization, regardless of its seniority, give them a password and ID for their own, private Home Page on your corporate career site. When they open that page, they should find a personalized Welcome message from the President of the company. Then, they should receive a constant stream of e-mail from their new boss and colleagues congratulating them on their decision and talking about “the ropes.” The goal is not to in-process them before they arrive, but instead, to make them feel a part of the workforce community from the first moment they say yes. Why? Because it will both speed their rise to full productivity and help fend off poaching by other recruiters during that vulnerable period before their first day of work.

    What Brand Are You? is a new site that will translate your name and personal values into a brand for You, Inc. Developed by The Design Conspiracy, it is a tongue-in-cheek play on the “silly, irrelevant and often unpronounceable” names now being assumed by companies seeking to distinguish (or camouflage) their products and/or reputation. If you’d like to see what your brand might be, visit the site. I entered my name and values and got back cultura ….. hmmmm, now if I could just figure out what that means.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. Your company has just had its new drug approved by the FDA, and now you need experienced sales reps to launch the drug in the U.S. market. Which of the following sites would be more headache than help?

  • National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives (
  • 2. Google has just announced its initial public offering, and your company is thinking about doing the same. To get ready, you need to recruit an audit professional with Federal regulatory and reporting experience. Which of the following sites would likely help you comply with the requirement?

  • The Institute of Internal Auditors (
  • 3. If you need a new blackjack dealer for your casino in New Orleans, which of the follow sites would likely help you hit the jackpot?

  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories


    A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All

    Distribution of jobs: National: USA

    Fee to post a job: $101-200/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 800,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among resumes: Communications, Finance & Accounting, Information Technology, Management, Sales & Marketing

    Other services for employers: Auto notification of resume-job match, Banner advertising, Special area for HR professionals, Status reports: banners, postings

    Answers to Site Insite

    1., a site for sales reps in the United Kingdom.

    2. All of them would likely be helpful.

    3.; the other sites do not focus on casino recruiting or on jobs in New Orleans.

    This Issue’s Sponsor: Dice

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Dice.

    Give Dice a try with our FREE job posting offer!

    Dice is where you will find the best tech candidates available.

    But don’t just take our word for it …. Try Dice for yourself – at no risk. Click here today!

    The Free Job Posting offer is available to first time customers only, posting jobs by May 31, 2004.