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Applicant disposition codes are one factor that can potentially “make or break” Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) data. As a best practice, we recommend having detailed disposition codes that include two pieces of information for each candidate – the step and status.

The “step” is the “stage” in which an applicant fell out of during your hiring process, such as:

  • “Phone Screen”
  • “First Interview”
  • “Passed to Hiring Manager for Review”

The “status” is the reason each candidate was not selected, for example:

  • “Poor Interview Skills”
  • “Lacks Basic Qualifications”
  • “Lacks Favorable References”

Having detailed disposition codes will allow for a more accurate count of applicant pools and will give more precise statistics when it comes to analyzing your selection decisions in an AAP.One of the most common, and overused, disposition codes we see is “Better applicant selected.” Although recruiters often select the code, this disposition code is not particularly helpful for AAP compliance purposes. First, it’s not clear whether the candidate in question was screened. Second, this code does not give a clear reason as to why the candidate was disqualified – instead, it focuses on the fact that someone else was chosen. The following alternative disposition codes focus on the reasons why the candidate was not selected, and also tells you when in the process the decision was made:

Disposition Code Alternatives for Candidates Not Selected

  • “Interviewed – Less Industry Experience”
  • “Résumé Reviewed – Candidate Lacks Basic Qualifications”
  • “Not Considered”

Having vague disposition codes can increase an employer’s risk during audit situations and may result in a lot of backtracking through hundreds of applications to justify selection decisions. Vague codes can also inflate the number of candidates who were screened versus candidates that were not reviewed at all. Overall, it is a best practice to provide detailed applicant disposition codes for easier and more accurate AAP results.


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