Ask HR: Should We Keep a Copy of Every Resume We Receive?
Ask HR: Should We Keep a Copy of Every Resume We Receive?

Ask HR: Should We Keep a Copy of Every Resume We Receive?

Keeping up with compliance regulations throughout the recruiting process is no easy feat, especially with new regulations in place that ban recruiters from asking about an applicant’s salary history. One federal regulation that some recruiters and hiring managers overlook involves managing resumes and what’s required after a candidate applies for a position. Are you required to keep copies of every resume that comes through your door, virtual or otherwise? As well, do you need to respond to everyone who sends you a resume?

This latest question addresses these timely topics. Whether you're a job applicant or an HR manager, you'll find this advice useful. Read on...but don't get out your shredder just yet.

Question: Regarding resumes and applications, do I need to keep all resumes that are sent to me? If so, for how long? And do I need to contact each person who applies to let them know they were not hired?

Answer: When you accept resumes or applications in relation to a job, the resumes should be maintained for one year 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, I would save all of these for a year as well.

The amount of communication with applicants you do is entirely up to you and what you want. I recommend explaining in your job postings what communication or lack thereof 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 notification (email or letter) 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 helps create a positive reputation for your company, so we recommend doing so to the extent you can.

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