By Strategic Human Resources, Inc. Question: Much of our recruiting is now done online and via email. Do I need to keep the emails generated from our last round of hiring? Does it matter if the candidate followed through with a response or not? Answer: You need to keep any records from the search for one year–those that you were considering AND those that you were not (even those that applied but may not have followed through with a response to your email). Keeping them in an electronic file is great–date it and pitch it next year. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires employers to keep employment records for one year. After that time, employers can either discard the record or archive it, provided they maintain the confidentiality of information contained in each record. Suppose you have a resume, cover letter, list of references, and brief notes from a telephone screening, yet you decided to select other candidates for in-person interviews. The records generated, including electronically, during the course of the preliminary screening are, in fact, hiring records. They must be kept for one year, pursuant to EEOC regulations. Another important reason to keep hiring records on file even if the applicant wasn't hired is so applicants don't have possible recourse if they are rejected during the hiring process. Applicants who claim they weren't hired based on factors not related to the job (i.e, race, sex, national origin, age or religion) have up to one year to file a formal discrimination charge with the EEOC. Should the EEOC decide to investigate the applicant's complaint, the agency can ask employers to produce records used during the hiring process. The company's hiring practices don't look favorable if the employer can't comply with the request because it has discarded the hiring materials. Strategic Human Resources, Inc., is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached at Robin@strategichrinc.com.