Whether you have a job opening or not, you might find that you occasionally receive unsolicited resumes from applicants. For some employers, this may raise issues for record retention and unlawful discrimination, but for others, having a supply of resumes on hand can be a lifesaver.
Many industries benefit from having an open-ended supply of resumes on file. This is particularly true for industries that have entry-level jobs and higher turnover rates, such as restaurants and fast-food chains. This allows them to quickly fill open positions while avoiding the hassle and expense of advertising. Even if a company has highly skilled positions, niche jobs sometimes require keeping possible resumes on hand, as this can help eliminate months of advertising to find qualified applicants.
However, it is important to note there are some legal issues with accepting unsolicited applications and resumes.
- Record Retention – State and federal employment laws require employers to retain all resumes or applications for a minimum of one year, sometimes longer. If an employer reviews unsolicited resumes and applications, regulations define that as being considered for employment, which means they must be retained according to employment laws.
- Unlawful Discrimination – Accepting and reviewing unsolicited resumes and applications could potentially expose the employer to unlawful discrimination claims. Government regulations require that employers conduct any recruitment and hiring in nondiscriminatory ways when it comes to protected classes, such as gender, age and disability. Having an inconsistent company policy of not accepting or accepting unsolicited resumes may make the employer liable for discriminating against protected classes.
- Affirmative Action – Federal contractors that are subject to affirmative action obligations are required to capture all applicant demographic data. If there is no clear policy in place, this data may be overlooked, subjecting employers to violations.
The bottom line is that unsolicited resumes benefit many companies, while they may be a liability to others. Consult with your legal department or review state and federal guidelines to help make an educated and informed decision about this practice.
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