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Terms and Definitions

What is an applicant flow log (AFL)?

Updated: May 22, 2024

Applicant flow log definition and purpose

An applicant flow log (AFL) records information about job applicants, and documents their progress throughout the acquisition, interview, and hiring process. AFLs are an effective way to ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity (EEO) regulations, as well as to inform data-driven decisions that refine recruiting strategies and improve talent acquisition.


More about applicant flow logs and why employers use them

Employers benefit from using applicant flow logs in a number of ways. Because it records information such as the number of applicants who applied for each job, as well as each applicant’s gender, race, ethnicity, and veteran status, it helps employers avoid violating discrimination laws when considering or interviewing applicants. In addition to recording their demographics, an applicant flow log chronicles each job applicant’s progression through the hiring process. This typically includes:

  • The initial job application a candidate fills out
  • A record of all interviews conducted
  • Returns from background checks and references
  • Extended offers
  • Accepted or declined offers


This means applicant flow logs can help human resources departments save time while keeping applicant records organized and up-to-date. Additionally, an applicant flow log helps human resources departments collect analytic data that can be used to assess the effectiveness of recruitment strategies. Trends in data from applicant flow logs can be used to identify opportunities such as where applicants are most commonly stalling or dropping out of the hiring process, or to evaluate the effectiveness of applicant sources (such as job boards or internal referrals from current employees).

How do I create an applicant flow log?

There’s no formal, one-size-fits-all approach when setting up an applicant flow log. In fact, many companies either track this data in a spreadsheet, or rely on an outside software vendor — the choice is yours. At a minimum, an applicant flow log should include details such as jobs available, each job’s applicants, and each applicant’s gender, race, ethnicity, and veteran status.


Once you find a process that works for you and your team, it’s a good idea to regularly review the data to identify any potential areas of bias or discrimination, and make changes to your recruitment process as needed. Overall, the applicant flow log is an important tool for human resources departments to ensure compliance with EEO regulations, boost diversity and inclusion, and continuously improve hiring practices.

Using applicant flow log in a sentence

“The data we’re collecting in our applicant flow log has made a huge difference when it comes to identifying gaps in our interview process, as well as tracking which job sites send the most qualified candidates our way.”

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