Doing business with the Feds just got harder. The Labor Department has issued strict guidelines concerning the online recruiting policies of federal contractors and subcontractors. Companies must keep detailed records of each job search they perform online, and the criteria used, and for every qualified candidate they must request race and gender data--and be able to explain why a person with protected status was not hired.

The policy affects firms with 50 or more employees that recruit over the Internet, either through their own website or through a recruiting website. Job site Monster.com has already set up a service that allows customers to automatically record the necessary data for free.

So how much of an impact will the rules have? Linda Grossman of the Silicon Valley Industry Liaison Group, which fosters communication between the government and contractors, says that one of her clients, a 500-person biotech company that does federal work, expects to spend five additional hours per hire on record keeping.