Skip to content
Home » HR Industry Articles » Understanding OFCCP Internet Applicant Rules and the Role of Disposition Codes in Audits

Understanding OFCCP Internet Applicant Rules and the Role of Disposition Codes in Audits

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is a federal agency responsible for ensuring that federal contractors and subcontractors do not discriminate against employees or job applicants. To achieve this goal, the OFCCP has established a set of regulations and guidelines, including the Internet Applicant Rules. In this article, we will delve into what the OFCCP Internet Applicant Rules entail and how disposition codes are used in OFCCP audits to maintain compliance.

    The Basics of OFCCP Internet Applicant Rules

    Definition of an Internet Applicant

    The OFCCP’s Internet Applicant Rules, originally issued in 2006 and revised in 2014, establish the criteria for determining whether an individual is considered an “Internet Applicant” for purposes of recordkeeping and reporting in affirmative action programs. Under these rules, an individual qualifies as an Internet Applicant when the following criteria are met:

    • The individual expresses interest in employment.
    • The employer considers the individual for a specific job.
    • The individual possesses the basic qualifications for the job.
    • The individual does not withdraw from the hiring process.

    Importance of Recordkeeping

    OFCCP regulations require covered federal contractors and subcontractors to maintain records regarding their Internet Applicants. These records are essential for demonstrating compliance with non-discrimination requirements, tracking the diversity of applicants, and facilitating OFCCP audits. Proper recordkeeping is crucial to avoid potential violations and penalties.

    Key Elements of the Internet Applicant Rules

    To better understand the Internet Applicant Rules, we will break down the key elements:

    Expressing Interest

    • Applicants express interest through various means, such as submitting an application, sending a resume, or contacting the employer directly.

    Consideration for a Specific Job

    • An employer must evaluate the applicant in the context of a specific job opening, which includes determining whether the applicant meets the basic qualifications for the position.

    Basic Qualifications

    • Basic qualifications are the objective criteria an applicant must meet to be considered for the job. Employers must specify these qualifications in their job postings or descriptions.

    Withdrawal from the Hiring Process

    • An individual can cease being an Internet Applicant if they withdraw their application or express a lack of continued interest.

    How Disposition Codes Support Compliance

    Disposition codes are a crucial component in OFCCP audits and maintaining compliance with the Internet Applicant Rules. These codes provide a structured way for employers to track and document the status of each applicant during the hiring process. Properly utilizing disposition codes ensures transparency and accountability in the recruitment and selection process.

    Definition and Purpose of Disposition Codes

    Disposition codes are specific labels or categories assigned to applicants to describe their status or outcome at various stages of the hiring process. These codes serve several essential purposes, including:

    1. Record Keeping: Disposition codes help employers maintain accurate and comprehensive records of each applicant’s progress.
    2. Transparency: They promote transparency in the hiring process by clearly indicating the reason an applicant was or was not selected for a job.
    3. Data Analysis: Employers use disposition codes to analyze their applicant data, identify potential areas of improvement, and assess compliance with OFCCP regulations.
    4. OFCCP Audits: During OFCCP audits, disposition codes play a vital role in demonstrating compliance with the Internet Applicant Rules by providing a clear audit trail of applicant interactions.

    Common Disposition Codes

    To ensure consistency and compliance with OFCCP regulations, many employers use standard sets of disposition codes. While these codes can vary between organizations, some common codes include:

    • Selected: Indicates that an applicant has been selected for the job.
    • Not Selected: Denotes that an applicant was not chosen for the position.
    • Withdrawn: Signifies that the applicant voluntarily withdrew from the hiring process.
    • Interviewed: Marks candidates who were interviewed but not ultimately hired.
    • Offered: Indicates that an offer was extended to the applicant.
    • Hired: Denotes that the applicant has accepted the job offer and is now an employee.

    OFCCP Audits and Disposition Codes

    OFCCP audits involve a thorough review of a federal contractor’s hiring practices, including the use of disposition codes. During an audit, the agency examines whether the employer has followed the Internet Applicant Rules and other regulatory requirements.

    To successfully navigate an OFCCP audit, employers should:

    1. Properly Assign Disposition Codes: Ensure that disposition codes are consistently and accurately assigned to applicants at each stage of the hiring process. This includes specifying reasons for non-selection, withdrawals, and other relevant actions.
    2. Maintain Detailed Records: Keep detailed records of all applicant interactions, including correspondence, interview notes, and any documentation supporting the application of disposition codes.
    3. Establish Clear Procedures: Create and implement clear procedures for using disposition codes in the hiring process to maintain consistency and compliance.
    4. Regularly Review and Update Codes: Periodically review and update disposition codes to align with changing job requirements and OFCCP regulations.

    Benefits of Using Disposition Codes in OFCCP Audits

    Employers who effectively use disposition codes during OFCCP audits can enjoy several benefits:

    • Demonstrate Compliance: Clear and consistent use of disposition codes demonstrates an employer’s commitment to compliance with OFCCP regulations.
    • Efficient Audits: Well-organized records and proper disposition coding can streamline the audit process, making it less time-consuming and less burdensome.
    • Data-Driven Decision-Making: The data generated through disposition codes can be used to make informed decisions on improving hiring processes and promoting diversity and inclusion.
    • Legal Protection: Accurate recordkeeping and appropriate disposition coding provide legal protection in case of OFCCP inquiries or investigations.

    Challenges in Using Disposition Codes

    While the use of disposition codes offers significant advantages, employers may encounter some challenges. These challenges include:

    • Consistency: Ensuring consistent and accurate application of disposition codes can be challenging, especially in organizations with multiple individuals involved in the hiring process.
    • Complexity: Some hiring processes are complex, involving multiple rounds of interviews and evaluations, making it more difficult to categorize applicants accurately.
    • Regulatory Changes: Keeping disposition codes up to date with evolving OFCCP regulations and requirements requires ongoing attention.


    The OFCCP Internet Applicant Rules and the use of disposition codes are integral to maintaining compliance with non-discrimination requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors. By understanding the definition of an Internet Applicant and the importance of proper recordkeeping, employers can navigate the complex regulatory landscape effectively. Disposition codes play a vital role in ensuring transparency and accountability in the hiring process, which is crucial during OFCCP audits. When utilized correctly, these codes facilitate compliance, improve data-driven decision-making, and provide legal protection for employers while fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Employers should continue to stay informed about OFCCP regulations and strive to implement best practices in using disposition codes to support their affirmative action programs and maintain compliance with federal contracting requirements.

    Note: Information found on this site is information only and is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please consult your counsel for specific legal advice.