How long to retain applications and résumés?

Q. How long do we have to keep applications and résumés? — L.P., Kansas

A. Federal age-discrimination law says employers must retain employment applications for at least two years. We recommend that as a minimum for applicants who are not hired. That doesn’t mean, however, that those applications must be considered “active” for the entire two-year retention period.

Set different retention periods for applicants who become employees. Although you’re not required by law to do so, we suggest that you hold on to employees’ applications and résumés for the term of that person’s employment, plus at least an additional three years.