We often hear questions from employers about what they should do with resumes and applications left over from their recruiting efforts. Should they be kept? If so, for how long? And do candidates who weren’t hired need to be contacted?
When you accept resumes or applications in relation to a job, the resumes should be maintained for one year from the time of your hiring decision for compliance with an assortment of laws. Federal contractors should maintain these records for at least two years. Resumes that you received unsolicited can be discarded, but if you have a practice of accepting any unsolicited resumes, you’ll want to save all of those for a year as well.
The amount of communication you have with applicants is entirely up to you. We generally recommend explaining in your job postings what communication applicants can expect. As a general rule, no contact is needed for unsolicited resumes, and it’s usually not expected. No contact is required in response to submitted applications, although applicants at the later stages of the process will expect some kind of notification (email or phone call) as a courtesy. Please note, however, that government contractors also have different rules regarding communication with applicants.
While responses are not required, leaving applicants who do not get the position with a positive feeling can help bolster your company’s reputation, so we recommend doing so to the extent you can.
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