The “unknown problem” is actually very familiar to anyone who analyzes applicant data. So, it’s not really “unknown” at all. But the problem is much broader than one might imagine, and has implications that ripple through several analyses in your Affirmative Action Plan.

Unknown Race and/or Gender Status in Applicant Data

I have never seen an applicant data set that didn’t have several fields left blank or marked as “unknown” for race and/or gender. The question is – how do they enter into the analysis, if at all? It might seem obvious to exclude all applicants for whom both the race and gender are unknown. But what about candidates who self-ID for one, but not the other?

And just in case you missed my last article, “Getting it Right the First Time,” I’ll mention here that you must ensure that candidates who are hired have their race and gender updated in the applicant listing if they self-ID at the time of hire. Most federal contractors have a database for applicant information that is separate from the HRIS system. This means that a hire in the HRIS system (with a known race and gender) may be listed in the applicant log as an unknown race and/or gender. Suffice it to say, these data anomalie