Below is the document, currently under review, for the establishment of a BSI Code of practice for Online Recruitment – BS 8877. The original, and user comments, can be viewed by registering at http://drafts.bsigroup.com/Home/Details/695

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BSI DRAFT REVIEW

Draft title:                           Online recruitment – Code of practice

Number:                              BS 8877

Sector:                                  Manufacturing & Services

Type:                                     DPC

Committee:                        SVS/9

Review end date:            31 May 2011

This British Standard gives recommendations for online recruitment and is applicable to all methods of candidate attraction, screening, storage and selection using internet-based technology up to the point of acceptance of offer. The standard codifies good practice for delivery of online recruitment (direct or outsourced) and identifies the roles and responsibilities of those involved. The standard seeks to encourage increased transparency and improvement of the candidate experience.

Social media is increasingly being used by organizations to build communities with forums, groups and networking opportunities. Whilst one aim of these communities might be communicating with potential employees, by also offering information for jobseekers, it is networking rather than online recruitment and as such social media is not covered in this code of practice.

Introduction

Online recruitment, also known as e-recruitment, is the integration of online and offline technologies to support elements of the entire recruitment cycle – attraction, selection, pre-employment checking and onboarding. There are many vendors of software solutions (e.g. Applicant Tracking Systems [ATS], Recruitment Management Systems [RMS]) available to help businesses run their end-to-end recruitment processes almost exclusively online.

The internet has created new channels for employers to exploit in order to find applicants – with technology available to easily post vacancies on their own websites and 3rd party job boards, and for applicants to search for vacancies, be notified about roles by email, and to apply online. Candidates are able to upload their CV onto searchable databases for potential employers to search. A vast array of online products and services are available to help employers and candidates.

Recruitment agencies themselves were early adopters of web based technologies, finding them extremely cost effective and efficient in their search for candidates.

Online recruitment has grown and continues to do so as employers’ awareness of the benefits increase. Advertising and recruitment costs, administration and time to hire can all be reduced as businesses learn to streamline and automate relevant processes. Effective use of the internet can also widen the populations that an employer can select from, improving diversity.

Additionally, employers are increasingly aware that poor performance in recruitment markets can affect the company brand, and companies are more alert to the need for aligning their employer brand with their overall branding strategy. Companies are investing in technology and processes to increasingly treat their applicants like consumers.

This British Standard is not intended to detail any of the legal obligations relevant to recruiters and service providers in the recruitment arena. It is assumed that processes and procedures are followed that comply with current legislation including:

•       Data Protection legislation;

•       Discrimination legislation, including Accessibility;

•       Legislation relating to eligibility of employment in the UK;

•       Employment Agencies Act 1973;

•       The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.

1 Scope

This British Standard gives recommendations for online recruitment and is applicable to all methods of candidate attraction, screening, storage and selection using internet-based technology up to the point of acceptance of offer. The standard codifies good practice for delivery of online recruitment (direct or outsourced) and identifies the roles and responsibilities of those involved. The standard seeks to encourage increased transparency and improvement of the candidate experience.

Social media is increasingly being used by organizations to build communities with forums, groups and networking opportunities. Whilst one aim of these communities might be communicating with potential employees, by also offering information for jobseekers, it is networking rather than online recruitment and as such social media is not covered in this code of practice.

2 Normative references

The following referenced documents are indispensable for the application of this document. For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For undated references, the latest edition of the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.

BS 8878, Web accessibility – Code of practice

3 Terms and definitions

For the purposes of this British Standard, the following terms and definitions apply.

3.1 aggregators

website or software that collates vacancies advertised on the internet from multiple online sources

3.2 applicant tracking system (ATS)

software application that enables the electronic handling of candidates’ CVs, profiles, data and communications via email or SMS, and the tracking of candidates through the recruitment process

3.3 candidate

individual seeking employment

3.4 candidate database

storing of candidates’ CVs and other personal data

3.5 client

employer private or public sector

3.6 CV

candidate employment history and/or any candidate information

3.7 job board

website that facilitates vacancies to be searched and advertised and can also offer searchable CV databases

3.8 online recruitment

processes of advertising vacancies, attracting candidates (filling a vacancy either proactively or reactively) and, where appropriate, screening applicants and progressing applications using online technologies

NOTE Also known as “e-recruitment”

3.9 parsing software

interrogates data to provide CV matches

3.10 psychometric testing

provides psychological assessment of an individual and their applicability for a role based on answers to questions to a series of questions prepared by psychologists

3.11 recruiter

employer, employment agency or employment business using online recruitment services to find candidates

3.12 recruitment agency

recruitment business supplying permanent or temporary staff acting on behalf of a recruiting organization and/or candidate

NOTE 1 Also known as “employment business” when supplying temporary staff.

NOTE 2 An employment agency introduces candidates or jobseekers to a client who will then employ them directly (often referred to as “permanent recruitment”) while an employment business engages workers directly and supplies their services to a client who will direct or control them in the course of their work (often referred to as “temporary recruitment”).

3.13 skills testing

online testing used in the recruitment process tests a persons ability to use, for example, word processing software and provides information based on what a candidate knows and dexterity

4 Recommendations­ for online recruitment practice and process

4.1 Website owner

The website owner should have a process in place and delegate responsibility within the organization to ensure:

a)    that all vacancies advertised are live and accurate;

b)    that contact information is easily available, relevant, up-to-date and details how the enquiry will be responded to;

c)    that either the employer or the website owner acknowledges receipt of a candidate’s CV when applying for a role;

d)    that candidate is informed of how the data provided will be used;

e)    candidates are informed of the full process for storing their CV online and, where practicable, notified if their CV or personal details have been viewed or downloaded from or by a third party;

f)     their websites have been developed in accordance with BS 8878;

g)    candidates are informed of their application status at each relevant stage of the process;

h)    candidates are informed of any details regarding the storage of their CV, in the event of a unsuccessful application;

i)     common industry jargon and acronyms are avoided in advertisements unless this is absolutely necessary for the role;

j)     where possible, appropriate information is provided in each vacancy posting e.g. corporate recruitment guidelines, application process, application close dates, etc.;

NOTE See also Regulation 27 under the Conduct Regulations.

k)    when designing online recruitment strategy, consideration is given to the proper integration with other recruitment methods where appropriate, such as ATS or bespoke/internal recruitment systems so that end to end process works in harmony;

l)     all personal data and CVs are stored in an appropriate manner and there is the ability to remove out-of-date information; and

m)  they establish a complaints policy which is communicated to and accessible by candidates.

NOTE See BS ISO/IEC 27001 and BS 10012 for further information on security management systems.

4.2 Candidate database

The candidate should be asked to read and accept the CV database owners’ terms and conditions of use before being permitted to upload their personal information.

Candidate database owners should have in place a procedure to obtain the candidate’s agreement to continue holding or automatically delete the candidate’s details.

NOTE Attention is drawn to the Data Protection Act, 1998 [1] and The Freedom of Information Act [2] and [3].

A process should be in place to ensure that the express permission of the CV owner is obtained before their CV is made available for access, downloaded or exported to another country.

If a candidate’s data is to be processed or accessible outside of the EU it should be explicitly stated within the terms and conditions that the candidate accepts.

Organizations should have a data security policy which includes virus protection.

NOTE See BS ISO/IEC 27001 and BS 10012 for further information on security management systems.

4.3 Recruitment advertisements placed by third parties

Recruitment adverts should accurately reflect the information provided by the client and align with confirmed instructions from a client.

At the time at which an advert is placed, the vacancy should be live.

Procedures should be in place for the systematic removal of adverts once filled or no longer available.

Clients’ instructions should be recorded so, if necessary, it can be demonstrated that an advert is accurate and that authority has been given by the client to advertise the position.

4.4 Selection and screening and other online recruitment services

A recruiter using ATSs or other candidate management systems and other recruitment services should:

a)    communicate the application process and data storage information clearly to the candidate whose CV and personal details have been stored in an ATS;

b)    execute its responsibilities in a manner that is consistent with best practice and relevant professional guidelines e.g. BIS’s e-recruitment projects in the public sector [3]; and

c)    ensure that assessment participants have given appropriate informed consent based on a clear understanding of what is expected of them and what will happen.

4.5 Monitoring usage and evaluation of service

COMMENTARY ON 4.5

Monitoring and evaluation of services allows providers to assess the effectiveness of those services as well as ensuring compliance with the standard.

Service providers should have a mechanism for collecting feedback from users of the service. Feedback should be used to improve service provision and communication with users.

Where feedback relates to an element of the service that is under the control of a third party, it should be sent to them for action where appropriate. Users should be informed when this is the case.

A formal complaints procedure should be provided which is clearly explained and easily accessible to users.

The complaints procedure should include:

a)    a description of its purpose and scope;

b)    details of the methodology for making the complaint;

c)    information about how the complaint will be dealt with;

d)    a process for keeping the complainant informed of the status of the complaint;

e)    details of who is responsible for handling the complaint;

f)     details of the actions to be taken to resolve the complaint; and

g)    details of any corrective action to be taken.

4.6 Contact

In order to maintain momentum in the recruitment process and to try to ensure that candidates receive timely responses and feedback, there should be triggers built into any recruitment management system (RMS or ATS). These should flag to users of the system, typically recruiters or hiring managers, when candidates have remained at a particular stage for a pre-determined length of time so that action can be taken to reduce the likelihood of bottlenecks occurring.

The recruiter should inform the candidate of their success and the timings of potential next steps, or be declined, within a reasonable time.

A process should be in place to ensure that the candidates’ consent has been obtained to send their CV onto either specific or generic 3rd parties.

Organizations responsible for processing candidate information should ensure that all stages of the online recruitment process are tracked documented, for example:

a)    the date the CV was received;

b)    details of the companies the candidates’ data was sent to;

c)    dates and time of communications;

d)    outcome of application;

e)    acknowledgement of right to hold their personal data; and

f)     details of any data retention.

4.7 Selection process

COMMENTARY ON 4.7

Using online recruitment systems, certain elements of the selection process may be presented to job seekers using technology, for example:

•       Candidates might be invited to select and book slots for interviews or assessment events.

•       Candidates could be asked to complete online questionnaires, such as Situational Judgement Questionnaires.

•       Online psychometric, or ability tests might be presented for candidates to complete.

•       Credit checking and reference checking might be automated or conducted online.

•       Job offer information might be presented in an online, downloadable format.

It is important throughout the whole recruitment process and certainly within the selection process, that candidates are made aware of the likely elements that make up the end-to-end process. They should be made aware at each stage of the likely timescales in which they can expect be informed of the outcome. There should also be a mechanism in place for candidates to be able to request feedback.

4.8 Selection tools

When using technology to enhance and assist in the online recruitment process, systems should be in place to ensure they are used correctly for example:

a)    Parsing software: whether parsing software is used in-house or externally, those interpreting the results should be able to demonstrate they have been trained in the use of the software and the interpretation of the results.

b)    Skills testing software: those setting and analysing of results should be able to demonstrate they have been trained in the use of the software and interpretation of the results.

c)    Psychometric testing: those setting and analysing the results should be able to demonstrate they have been trained in the use of the software and the interpretation of the results.

Bibliography

Standards publications

For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For undated references, the latest edition of the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.

BS ISO/IEC 27001, Information technology – Security techniques – Information security management systems – Requirements

BS 10012, Data protection – Specification for a personal information management system

Other publications

[1] GREAT BRITAIN. Data Protection Act, 1998. London: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/

[2]        GREAT BRITAIN. Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. London: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/

[3]        GREAT BRITAIN. Freedom of Information Act 2000. London: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/

[4]        BIS. E-recruitment projects in the public sector.  London: BIS